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!
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