Sennheiser x Adidas = Nike+ (Not Really)

Headphone people Sennheiser are looking to own your exercise time via a musical hook-up with Adidas. As brand-e reports, a dedicated website, www.5forsports.com, hosts playlists by stars of track and field like Tyson Gay and offers tools for you to create your own sporting soundtracks. You can win a host of Adidas goodies by sending in your playlists (we got a backpack at the first attempt – yay!).

So does it work? The sports stars’ playlists are fun, though they’re only five songs long, which robs the user of the chance to explore heptathlete Jessica Ennis’s love of grime, for instance. The self-generating playlists are reliant on an eccentric recommendation engine. A search for songs for jogging to based on a preference for Rock/Pop yielded an unholy mix of Dinosaur Jr, Sade and Poison. We tossed in Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’ as a “Reference song” and it turned the list into an equally random selection of hip hop and R&B (we have nothing but love for “By The Time I Get To Arizona” by Public Enemy, but is it really a great jogging tune?). Again, the five-song limit is frustrating.

The theory behind a sport/music/headphones hook-up is perfectly solid, but the execution here is disappointing. Essentially it’s a mediocre music recommendation tool with a running theme. The comparable Nike+ initiative, for example, offers both specially composed tracks to run to, and a link, via the Nike+ chip, between the online experience and the real-world running experience. Now, not everyone is able or willing to invest Nike-sized amounts of money in such a venture, but Sennheiser and Adidas have so far failed to make a connection between music and running.

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