Music Testing 1, 2, 3

Why do music tests? Your music is as much as 78% of your product so it’s essential that the data you use to make decisions about your product is valid and reliable.

For many Program and Music directors, the appetite for music search is an insatiable hunger. They are always looking for more data and validation of that the data to confirm what is in their gut. So why do music tests? It’s to identify what songs that your listeners want to HEAR. That’s right, there is a difference between a song they LIKE and a song they want to HEAR. Your listeners might like a song but are tired of hearing it and will let you know through a “burn” or “tired" score on a music test. You can also see evidence of fatigue through waning streaming plays on streaming charts. So, are  all music testing systems created equal?  You probably know the answer to that question.


Only with reliable and valid data can you build a winning music strategy for your station.


The Inexpensive Method
There are inexpensive secondary tools programmers can reference to get a sense of songs their audience might want to hear. From free services like and SOUNDOUT to referencing their station's database, monitoring services like MEDIABASE or BDSradio charts, SHAZAM charts, Mscores, streaming charts, singles sales charts, etc...

There are several negatives with relying only on these methods: you have no control of the respondents environment, knowledge of the demo in which the scores are pulled from and the scores are not your results from your station's listeners and probably none of them are from your market.

Callout research
Callout research can be done online or on the phone and is useful if your station relies heavily on playing currents in its playlist. It costs more than the inexpensive method and you're limited to about 20 titles as you have to play audio hooks for the participants. If you choose to do this in-house, expect hours of work in recruiting and conducting the research.

Crowd Source Music Test
The web has brought us cost effective ways to do many things and this includes conducting music tests. Crowdsource music tests aggregate online and social technology information to deliver data from a larger audience than traditional music testing and at a fraction of the cost of an auditorium test. The large numbers than can be recruited through this process reduces the margin of error of the results. If you haven’t tried Crowdsource Music Testing yet, feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to explain all the options.

Auditorium Music Test (AMT)
Auditorium Music Tests are the most reliable of all the above-mentioned systems. You have the best control over the testing situation; what the participants hear, when they hear it and how they hear the hooks. You are also testing with your listeners. That is very valuable intel. Unfortunately, it’s expensive to operate such a test and a lot of it depends on the quality of the recruiting. All but the biggest stations can afford to do them and maybe only do it once or  twice a year. If you play a significant amount of currents you may have to combine an AMT with some callout to ensure you can make accurate and timely decision on your music.

They say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but it's not one half so bad as a lot of ignorance. Let music testing show you the light to great programming a winning strategy.

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