Universal partners with MedRhythms for prescription music platform for patients with neurological impairments

The healing power of music is nearly miraculous, helping evoke emotion and reaction in people struggling with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive health issues. 

Now it’s going to the next level, as Universal Music Group has announced a partnership to create a medical treatment program in which music is the therapy. 

MedRhythms Inc., a Portland, Maine-based company, is described as a “digital therapeutics company focused on walking impairments.” Universal will work with the company to create a prescription music platform to help devise personalized treatments to help address mobility and other impairments and challenges. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration declared MedRhythms a breakthrough therapy last year, but so far the company’s digital therapeutic platform is only used in clinical studies. That could change soon. 

“With MedRhythms, we’re seeing the power of music harnessed to heal,” says Michael Nash, Universal’s executive vice president of digital strategy. “We’ve played a central role in promoting music’s growing importance throughout the health and wellness industry — fitness, sleep, meditation — and in this pioneering alliance, we’re privileged to be engaged in extending music’s profound impact to medical therapy.” 

This is being billed as a first-of-its-kind partnership for both companies. Universal provides MedRhythms access to its massive music catalog; MedRhythms will provide data analytics to Universal and will use that music as a kind of prescription to patients. 

According to MusicBusinessWorldwide, MedRhythms creates “direct stimulation solutions” using “clinical-grade sensors, software and music to help restore function lost to neurologic disease or injury. The company’s platform is based on neuroscience that demonstrates how music can impact the human brain, target specific neural circuitry to enhance clinical outcomes and boost neuroplasticity.” 

Music used in MedRhythms’ treatments are individualized to each user and their needs. The company says the treatment programs have shown positive effects in patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and those who have had strokes. 

“Partnering with UMG is a milestone for MedRhythms that will unlock innumerable doors to improving the quality of care we deliver to patients,” says Brian Harris, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “We are humbled and honored to be collaborating with the world leaders in music-based entertainment and matching this with our world-class scientific team to continue to push the envelope in both music and medicine while making a significant impact in the lives of patients who desperately need this care.” 

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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