Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wow Cell Phone Households - Big JUMP

The Center for Disease Control has released a preview of their bi-annual study on Cell Phone Households from the last 1/2 of 2008.   Of course it grew again and now over 20% of the households in the country have no land line.  Another 14.5% take almost all of their calls on the cell phone despite having a land line.  

That's nearly 35% of the country and if you break it down by demos and over the last 6 years it's a pretty amazing graph: 
In 18-34s is around 40% - nearly half and at the rate it is growing it will probably hit 50% of this demo before 09 ends.   Even when you move to the 45+ cells it's around 15%.  

Keep in mind that this study was from last year and with the recession hitting so hard as the year wrapped up no doubt the growth of Cell Phone Only households will pick up even more.  Cutting out the 20 or 30 bucks a month to the land line is really pretty painless - gee now I can add the data package and not even notice it.  

Aside from the trends in the audience here we also have to realize that this greatly affects our ability to have somewhat accurate audience ratings and research.  Connecting with Cell Phones for research is very hard or impossible as we all know seeing the shrinking samples in our audience research.   We also have to look at the audience research we do in music tests and perceptual studies.  If they are based on telephone samples they are missing at least 20% and probably closer to 40% of the population and in the younger demos it's over 50%.  

If you look at the early snippets from the study you can see that the cell phone only world is different on many levels.  We'll see more in a few weeks when the whole study is released.  You can read the preview here. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Current Music Slump??

As we approach the Summer we usually hit the meat of the new songs  for the year in Rock.  Traditionally there is very little action in November, December and January with signs of life in February and by May we are looking at lots of options and usually there are a few real standouts building to the peak in August to October.   

2008 was a banner year when you look at the year end charts.   Especially on the Active Rock charts. 

On the Center Rock stage we had a long list of fairly established bands and a few new comers.  In the top 40 on the year end list you can see Seether, Theory of a Deadman, Buckcherry, Hinder, Finger 11, Nickleback, Saving Abel, Stained and more.  

On the Harder Rock side Disturbed, Slipknot, Korn, Drowning Pool and others kept the hard core's attention.  

On the 'Heritage' stage Metallica, AC/DC, Guns and Roses, Motley Crue, 3 Doors Down, Apocalyptica and Sixx AM came on with some strong songs or at least releases that the audience seemed eager to hear at first.   

So far this year the picking's been a bit dry.  The big news is the new Green Day which may be our only ace in the hand.  Papa Roach came out late in 08 and is still fairly fresh.  Pretty much the rest of the top 20 chart as May gets underway is filled with:  
  • Leftovers from the Big Releases from last year.
  • Songs that just won't go away even though they have been around 8 months or more. 
  • Songs from big artists that just are not testing or causing much excitement (Pearl Jam/U2)
  • Brand New artists we really don't know much about yet, Red - Cavo, All That Remains, etc. 
Looking over the Alternative charts the story might be a little better with the breakthrough of the Kings of Leon, the return of Silversun Pickups, and Anberlin but a lot of the rest overlaps with the Active Rock charts and suffers from the same issues mentioned above.   

Should we be looking at playing less currents?  It might be worth the debate when you look at what is out there right now.  It could be that all the issues in the record label side have put us in a bit of a drought.   This could very well be a Summer that is more focused on CHR Pop and Urban tracks with not a ton of effort for Rock.  

It might be time to review your clocks and turnovers so you don't get caught with a set up that's too dependent on strong currents - there may not be enough real 'hits' here to pick from.  

Your library and older recurrent cards may be worth more in your music poker hand than those current aces.