Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crossing Paths: Country's Millennial vs. Boom Era Music

Albright & O’Malley's Roadmap 2011 (our 5th annual online perceptual) continues to provide valuable insights into where country radio is at the moment and where it is headed.

One part of each study is devoted to music, more specifically, trending the listener appeal of various music clusters. 

At CRS 2011  we revealed some top line data* that showed ascending passion scores for millennial music and a corresponding decline for Boom-era music.  

I spoke about this with Inside Radio’s Paul Heine for his article “A Changing of the Guard at Country Radio” published Friday (06/10/11) which also included observations from, among others, Coleman Insights President/COO Warren Kurtzman (“The best country position in the market is the one based on millennial music.”) and Greg Mozingo, PD of WIL, St. Louis, (the market’s leading music station 6+) whose station is heavy into millennial music including Jason Aldean , Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert and artists Greg calls "superstars" and "great newcomers."  
A&O's Roadmap clearly shows that these as well as other millennial artists are indeed scoring well across the board 18-54. 

But, having said that, as the next chart shows, 25-54 listener passion is still very high for millennial music from pre-millennial artists like Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith  and Alan Jackson.

While the data also shows that passion scores for Boom Era music have become noticeably softer over time, and that the best scores are coming from older demos, this isn't to say that all pre-millennium songs don't test well - plenty still test very well.
Nor is this a blanket recommendation that all pre-2000 titles should be purged from your station. Many of our own successful stations play varying degrees of the Boom era and late 90's music daily. The correct music mix for you depends on your competitive situation and may well be different from that of your competitors or from stations in other markets.
Rather, this is about how the passion for millennial music, from newer and established artists, spans such a wide demographic. 

Last year Inside Radio/Research Director, Inc. PPM released a format study reporting that while country’s AQH composition is heaviest 35-54, country’s weekly cume ratings varied little across 18-34 (16.6), 18-49 (16.5) or 25-54 (16.4).   

The broad strength of millennial music is, of course, great news for a format where the cume ratings are nearly identical across 35 years.

*Unless otherwise noted, all data is from Albright & O’Malley Roadmap on-line surveys of listeners recruited from station database and social media initiatives and as such is subject to any inherent biases

Upcoming blog teaser: Country and Arbitron’s Alpha Boomer demo.


Jaye Albright said...

"Congrats on being part of the lead story in Inside Radio yesterday, Mike, and now you're taking it one step farther, as our A&O pals at Midwest Family's are showing."

John Anthony said...

"Great study Mike! I would be curious to see where the passion trends go when some Hip Hop artists are mixed in. (CMT awards) lol"