Sunday, May 17, 2009

Is THIS Why They Call The Future "A Brave New World"?

Director of Technical Sales for RCS Barry Hill's Conclave webinar last week was a fascinating presentation of the new analytical tools Media Monitors has been developing to help us all understand the new world of radio listener usage and behavior data coming online in both the U.S. and Canada, thanks to PPM.

For example, since it has always been a leap of faith requiring a certain amount of bravery to add new music, it was very comforting to see what appears to be the "normal pattern of a typical song's spin life" on the average station in this Miley Cyrus song's history of airplay and listener tracking:

After six or seven weeks of growing familiarity and acceptance, the courageous programmer is rewarded with 14 weeks or so of positive listening growth each time the song plays to be followed by the inevitable burn which turns into more tune-out than tune-in.

Before you jump to the conclusion that PPM clearly demonstrates that the average current hit's life is 20-22 weeks, take a gander at this one (guaranteed to give Alanis' promotion team some heartburn) a good example of the fact that PPM panelists sometimes do what they do and it simply defies obvious logic:

Up in August, down in September, up in October, down in November, up in December, down in January, then up for nine weeks in a row! Huh? Is it somehow seasonal in its appeal? Does it burn after four weeks and then stop being negative in another month in spite of/because of continued airplay? Are some panelists going away for a few weeks and then coming back into the panel? Or, WHAT?

"Ironic," indeed.

If you have a more plausible explanation of what's happening with this tune, I'd love to hear it. Meanwhile, this info should serve as proof that radio programming remains 50% science and 50% art and no high tech tool - as yet, at least - has changed that.


Lee Ann Taylor said...

Alanis' song is, I bet a good show of how listener attitude and mood affect the numbers.

In Country, in particular, listeners turn to certain songs during certain mood phases. I know I do.

When I am depressed, I want to hear a slow song. Not all slow tunes will work, though.

Miley's was steady probably because the message is appropriate for any mood.

Rick Walters said...

..maybe we should change the name to People's Personal Mood ,isn't it ironic dontcha think! So many varibles can affect the likes and dislikes of a song the PPM is showing that burn may not be one of them.We can't sit in a board room and pray that somone isn't having a bad day when the nod is given to an add.The PPM is going to make for some very interesting radio,I feel some changes comin on!!