Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Just OK," Huh?

A&O sees plenty of callout, auditorium testing and online music research every week, and if I have a bias that drives "record" promoters crazy it's that I pay a lot of attention to it all, trying to read between the lines of it, understand what the audience is trying to tell us.

A new song comes in, I like it at first impression and review it favorably. Then, five or six weeks later, the listener feedback starts to arrive and reminds me quite often how little I know about the typical country radio listener.

As a result, I look at every bit of research I can get my hands on, so I have to say that I am addicted to Bullseye "Callout America" and love that Billboard's Country Update includes it weekly. The more different surveys that replicate similar results, the more confident you can be that you're seeing "truth," not just random estimates. I also check out the national tracking of RateTheMusic.com too, don't you?

In spite of all that, every once in awhile, I wish I could call all the listeners and ask what the heck they meant when they rated a song.

"Love/Hate" and "Passion/Dislike/Tired Of/Play Less" I usually get. The stat that drives me crazy is "neutral."

(It's a little like having your date for the evening tell you as you bid goodnight at their front door that they had an "OK" time, not exactly a glowing review.)

Three songs this week were "neutral" for more than four in ten listeners sampled, Danny Gokey, James Otto and one which really confuses me - "I Pray for You" by Jaron and The Long Road to Love - which was rated "neutral" by 40.7% of the national sample.

Love it, hate it, tired of it, I'd never guess that more than a third of country listeners would simply say that it's "just OK." Are they really familiar with the song? Or, are they just rating the hook?

That's what addiction is all about. I can't wait to see how it - and each of the others - does next week!


Facebook thread said...

Rob Ryan: I guess to me, Jaye, it means "I" will sit through this song and wait for a hit I LOVE, unless my 2nd prefernce is playing what I LOVE, if tey are in commercials....I will deal with this neuatral song. Good post my friend!

Bd- Kmps: I usually really like or dislike your blog.....but that one was "just OK".

Kevin O'Brien: The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. In today's time-starved society I wonder if respondents are taking the time to care as much as they used to about the research in which they are being asked to participate. Which leads to wondering if the results of research being done today is as true a reflection of the appeal and quality of music as it once was...

Jay Phillips: I watched the video. I'm probably wrong, but I don't see this song being a hit...I'm surprised there aren't more 'dislikes' instead of neutrals. Makes me think they really aren't familiar with it. Not the most positive message...a flower pot falling on your head! Something I've never hoped Donna would do!

Donna Bradshaw: If I were to throw a flower pot, today would be the day!

Jay Phillips: Let me go somewhere and hide....

V Keith Ogurek said...

Jaye...loved today's blog entry.

Interesting frustration regarding the new music for you, I'm sure.

The waters are made more murky by the fact that gimmicks are involved in two of these songs in my view, and while that could be a one hit wonder scenario in the making for either, I doubt it. No Achy Breaky here in these three.

Gimmick number one: Find a Beiber look and sound alike, give him a contract, and let a very odd name to his band gain attention.

SKIP "I Pray For You" by...oh, NEVER MIND!

The audience is on the fence with "I Pray For You?" They won't be long. The hook should have been enough here, cause the song is so blatantly rude, with a wholesale affront to kindness and mean spirited with no apology at all, unfortunately. Funny that you call for a black or white decision for listeners, but in this most completely negative lyric song (no black or white here) the listener is having a difficult time. That's cause they want to like it, but know it's wrong...and ultimately will decide not a good sentiment to be singing along with. It is a gimmick, and flash-in-the pan effort at humor or cuteness that will backfire.

Next gimmick: Get a hugely famous and endearing talant, whom many already are familiar with from American Idol exposure and produce his remarkably familiar voice (to kids and two generations ago also) and package him with production that also strikes a chord to the P1 loyal listener.

PLAY "My Best Days" by Danny Gokey

He's humble. He's country. This particular tune is rather arrogant in message, especially for his image, but many of the 18-35 will relate. It is simple pop, much in the style of Ty Herndon's first efforts. Look for Gokey's range in emotion to match Ty in later efforts, cause there is angst boiling below the surface that will no doubt make an appearance at some point. He now is too sweet, the opposite of the above song, but that surely will not last. Also, others may realize, as I have, he is channeling Restless Heart in this single, and we need this on the country station today.

Finally, PLAY, PLAY PLAY "Groovy Little Summer Song"

It is what is says it is, with a "slide on over next to me on the car seat, girl - at the drive in" feel wrapped with a FANTASTIC voice and a nod to the 50's. Today is the first time I've heard this song, and I want to hear it again and again. Course, it skews a little old, and that's me. But what the hell. Relax, take it easy and slowly enjoy summer, remember the old right of passage of crusing downtown. It'll fit after a screaming hot new track in the pile, like "Ain't Back Yet." Thanks for the introduction!

And thanks for the blog!