At NuVoodoo we’ve been including Pandora, Spotify and other digital music services as possible answers for stations or services consumers are spending time with or think of for various images for a number of years. Yet we’ve spoken with managers and programmers who object, citing that Pandora and Spotify and their peers aren’t measured by Nielsen. While that’s true, ignoring the images, preference and listening lost to these new services means that we’re confining stations to play for share rather than for ratings.
If stations play only for an increasing share of radio listening radio pie, we risk allowing the pie to continue to shrink. Especially while listeners are trying out Pandora and Spotify and Amazon and Apple and others while still using FM regularly, we have the chance to understand what they like about their experiences with those new outlets and, more importantly, what they don’t like about those new outlets. We have the opportunity to develop new enhancements in radio programming to build TSL, but it’ll be easiest to do while we have those ears.
Some listeners will be forever lost to Pandora, but we’ve had too many anecdotal encounters with people who, while they use Pandora or Spotify, aren’t in love with the music mix they get from those sources. Many are enamored with the lower repetition they get, but also talk about having to skip past too many duds. Even more are drawn by the comparatively teeny spot load they’re served on the free tiers of these new digital providers. But many of those same folks also acknowledge the irritating repetition of one or two commercials over and over during a session.
In screening a music test sample, we’re strong proponents of leaving in those who declare preference to Pandora and Spotify (and Apple and Amazon, etc.), as long as they (1) listen to enough radio to qualify for the study and, of course, as long as they (2) listen to the station conducting the research. Should there be a limit to how many digital-radio P1’s end up in a sample? Probably, though we’ve never seen them comprise too large a portion of a sample.
Music research, specifically, is a TSL tool – and playlist changes won’t impact the TSL of people who don’t listen to your station. Even if they feel they’re spending the plurality of their listening time with a digital music service, those who also listen to your station can be influenced to spend more time with you. Isn’t that the goal?