The Music Research business is getting ugly

That’s my sense judging by the new “white paper” from Coleman Research described in this Radio Ink story.

The notion that this is news rather than salesmanship is rather absurd.

In a world of full disclosure, it should be noted that Coleman loses oodles and oodles of music research projects a year to providers of the electronic hand-held dial being criticized in this release. Just as it should be noted that one of the providers of such technology is one of my partners in my research company, although I have no stake in the music research business personally.

I simply don’t think it’s possible to divorce the points being made from the agenda of the company that makes them. Nor is it possible to view these points without skepticism as a result. This “white paper” is, after all, a sales pitch.

That’s not to say these points are all wrong. But so what. It’s easy to create a methodoligical “worst-case scenario.” It will be just as easy for an electronic data provider to issue their own “white paper” criticizing the Coleman “pencil and paper” method for ITS equally severe limitations and biases. Stare into the eyes of respondents after two hours of blackening circles in scan forms and ask yourself if that bleary fatigue in their expressions is evidence of “accuracy.”

People use the electronic approach for its benefits, not its limitations. There is a power in seeing the results – and in modeling format pods – which pencil-and-paper cannot approach. There are various other benefits too, but that’s a “white paper” someone else will have to write.

And something tells me that “white paper” is well under way.

Here’s the funny thing about all testing of music: What you like will vary with your mood. It’s not necessarily fixed. This is one reason why people switch stations from one genre to another. They don’t want “better,” they just want “different.”

Pencils…dials…nobody’s solved that one.

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