Tuesday, February 17, 2009

MScore: A Music Revolution

Thanks to Country Aircheck for the ink:

Looking for a reason to attend Albright & O'Malley's 2009 Pre-CRS Client Seminar on March 3? With a keynote by media research specialist Jeff Vidler, Mike O'Malley's "Roadmap '09" perceptual study and the instantly applicable work of talent coach Tommy Kramer – not to mention live performances from Josh Gracin and Jessica Andrews – its not like this platform was needing any more support. But that didn't stop Jaye Albright from adding a real kicker. This one's big.

The event's final session, prior to Andrews' musical closing, is titled, "The PPM Music Test 'MScore Switch' Is On." MScore is a number developed by Media Monitors to indicate whether a song is more or less likely to make a listener switch away from a station. And it's based on hard data.

As attendees at Country Aircheck's 2007 PPM Seminar may remember, the ability to marry the PPM's moment-by-moment listener data with Mediabase airplay data now gives us the ability to see exactly how the audience reacts to every song. But where Arbitron's Gary Marince whetted that 2007 crowd's appetite, Albright is preparing to serve a meal.

Remember, 14 markets are currently live with PPM, and 19 more will be online by year's end. Turn one of Country's deepest thinkers like Albright loose on this growing pool of data, and the results are, frankly, beyond compelling.

Here's a taste, with quotes straight from Albright's presentation:

• MScore Makes Research Look Good: "If you see callout, auditorium and online music testing, you'll see very few surprises."
• Superstars Don't Matter: "With rare exceptions, songs matter."
• First Impressions Can Mislead: "Some songs take a while to grow on the audience."
• Familiarity Has An Edge: "However, some songs grow audience with the very first week of airplay."

Of course, there are other issues with far-reaching implications for programmers, not to mention record labels. Once PPM has extended itself into the top 50 markets, how with the number of currents be affected? Albright has a prediction. The balance between programming for TSL or cume also gets close inspection.

And then there is the very real concern that a P1 PPM holder – who may be providing data for years, unlike the regularly rotating diary takers – could inadvertently become the hub around which all of the station's programming revolves. Or, as Albright asks, "Should I drop a song when it is obvious that one or two of my heavy-user panelists doesn’t like it?"

Overall, it's clear we've only yet scratched the surface of this well of data, which promises to only get deeper. "The more you see," Albright admits, "the more you'll want to see." There's also little doubt that MScore has the potential to become yet another flashpoint between labels and radio. Albright likens it to when Country started doing callout research 30 years. "But," she says, "in the long run I think it's going to be very good for all of us."

After spending 90 days drilling through data on 17 Country stations in Arbitron's 14 PPM markets, Albright has put together an eye-opening 45 minutes to cap the A&O event. Admission is free and all are welcome, save those in competitive situations with A&O clients. Email Mike (mike@albrightandomalley.com) or Jaye (jaye@albrightandomalley.com) for your invitation.

No comments: