This could be gabber fans’ worst nightmare – banning fast music as COVID prevention measure.

The Korea Herald this week reported on the change – and the backlash:

Say goodbye to Gangnam Style, treadmill running for next 2 weeks

It seems that in the hotspot area of Greater Seoul, one of the level 4 countermeasures instituted by the government will be restricting fast music:

Music played at group exercise classes at fitness clubs cannot exceed 120 beats per minute.

That means some famous pop songs like “Gangnam Style,” 132 bpm, cannot be played.

Of course, it’s not the music itself that’s cause for worry, but the effects of strenuous workouts. As NPR reports:

The concern is that intense exercising, especially in a group setting, could increase the likelihood of stray respiratory droplets and that all the sweat-and-spit slinging could lead to more COVID-19 cases.

This of course is little comfort to people who enjoy pumping up their workouts with faster music, so naturally The Korea Herald finds plenty of quotes.

That said, if this catches on, maybe there’s an opportunity here – time to dig through your back catalog and see which tracks sound good sloooowwweed dooowwwnnnn. It’s also obviously not just South Korea at the moment; here in Berlin, bans on dancing in groups were only lifted recently, and worldwide as the delta virus surges, localities are making restrictions that tend toward more sit-down music and concerts rather than packed, sweaty clubs.

Speaking of sweaty, before you join the chorus of people criticizing this, you might also want to know – the same Korean level 4 social distancing requirements instituted also ban showers at the gym.

So maybe you do want your fellow gymgoers to be moving more slowly to nice, slow, relaxing music, rather than getting aerobic and stinky.

Anyway, the rules reportedly last only for a couple of weeks. If anyone is able to report how the heck you enforce this (antiviral tempo detection?), I’m all ears.

Photo (CC-BY) 2011 J. Ronald Lee