Universal Music Group “music intervention” tool that’s designed to help dementia patients

Universal Music Group “music intervention” tool that’s designed to help dementia patients

Dementia patients can now plug into music therapy through an innovative Australian app that’s fed by Universal Music Group’s enormous catalogue.UMG, the world’s leading music company, is the launch partner for Vera, an intuitive, A.I.-powered “music intervention” tool that’s designed to help those battling dementia.

Through it’s “strategic, industry-first agreement,” announced overnight from UMG’s international headquarters in London, the music company has licensed its entire catalogue for the app, to develop “personalised music stations” designed to “improve the lives” of folks living with dementia, a figure both companies estimate in the tens of millions.

Vera was designed by Music Health, an Australia-based music wellness technology business, and rolls out following a three-year research and development process, during which the time the company tested its product with 20,000 hours of observation and “rigorous” analysis.

According to a statement, Vera analyses the age of the dementia-affected person, where they grew up, and how they react to certain music, crunches the data and curates music for the listener.

“We’ve built Vera to know and find the music that means the most and has the biggest effect for each person living with dementia,” explains Stephen Hunt, Music Health co-founder.“It acts like a music detective, that seeks out tunes that they used to love a long time ago but may have forgotten about, which their careers may have never heard of, and their families may not even know.”

According to the federal Department of Health, dementia is now the third-leading cause of disease burden, with up to 472,000 Australians living with the illness, which affects memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities.

The app, it is hoped, would go some way towards relieving that burden.Currently, between 134,900 and 337,200 Australians are providing consistent unpaid care for a person with dementia.

“From rigorous workouts to peaceful meditation to restorative sleep cycles, music is deeply integrated into numerous innovations promoting health and wellbeing,” explains Michael Nash, UMG’s executive VP of digital strategy.

Now, “scientists are finding that music is also a powerful tool for helping those suffering from the effects of dementia and memory loss,” he continues. 

This partnership builds on UMG’s work in using music for health and wellness purposes.  

In 2020, the music company licensed specialised 90-minute mixes of songs including Post Malone’s Circles to Calm to help subscribers focus or gain better sleep, and in 2021, UMG licensed MedRhythms, a Portland, Maine-based start-up that’s working through FDA approvals on using music to help patients recovering from stroke regain motor skills.

Music Health enjoyed supported from Barossa Village, Dementia Australia, the Australian Department of Health and the Global Centre For Modern Ageing (GCMA).The platform scored a research grant in 2019, provided by the Department of Health, when it won Dementia Australia’s Decoding Dementia competition.

UMG is currently working with a range of companies to “develop therapeutical applications of music,” Nash continues, “and we’re proud to partner with Music Health on Vera to help improve the lives of so many around the world.”

Vera is now approved by Apple for download via the AppStore in Australia and New Zealand, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.It will be available at Android app stores “starting soon,” a rep tells TMN, with annual care plans priced at A$119.99 for Australian users, and NZD $119.99 in New Zealand.

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