Monthly Archives: February 2009

Music Tests Should Be Abandoned

Sean Ross, author of the Infinte Dial and Ross On Radio and a member of the well-respected Edison Research team, often has some very insightful information to share with the music and larger entertainment community. He has presented new technologies and, in many cases, shows how the traditional radio industry can benefit from them.

Unfortunately, his most recent post, “What To Do When You Can’t Do A Music Test“, is based on a methodology that the radio industry should just completely abandon, music tests.  In the traditional music test, a station will hire a firm to call listeners, play them pieces of a song and log their feedback.

It is an expensive process, reaches only a small percentage of listeners, is limited in scope in terms of the breadth of music and, despite the feedback from listeners, is really artificial in terms of identifying music that will move fans to listen and be engaged.

The range of consumer-centric services is VERY long, well-reported by great thinkers like Mark Ramsey and Sean Ross himself, but I have been disappointed that they have not been employed to replace this once per year or once per season callout research.

Music moves fast, new songs constantly appear and new artists generate fans without radio at all so to “learn” about new music and its impact on listeners in a given market only once per year is just unbelievable to me.  Services from Twitter to Blip.FM, HypeMachine to GoogleTrends can provide near real-time insight about new music.

The key difference is the intelligence comes from the collective activity of millions of music lovers, not the random few who happened to be home and answered their phone.

Top Ad Categories And Brands In January 2009

With the economy as it is, the top categories and brands that are advertising on radio should not come as much of a surprise.  

The National Association of Realtors struggle to keep homeowners confident and prices from plummeting further while Operation Hope seeks to eradicate poverty, which is a tough mission when more people are losing their jobs and entering it.

Retailers like WalMart and Kohl's, which represent lower cost options, continue to gain customers and with a tax refund representing cash infusion potential, Turbo Tax and H&R Block, along with others in the Tax category have increased their presence.

The category that is noticeably absent from the top 10 is Automotive.  Neither manufacturers nor dealers are spending as much these days as their industry figures out what it needs to look like and how it will retain jobs going forward.

January Top Radio Brands

Top Brands Advertised On Radio – Week of 1-26-09

Top Brands on Radio Chart Week of 1-26-09