Clustering Music Test Results

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Clustering Music Test Results

Post by rogerwimmer » Thu Apr 22, 2010 2:25 pm

Roger: Some research companies are using cluster analysis on music test results. Then they are drawing conclusions that relate to the station strategy. What value is there in cluster analyzing the results of a music test? And how does it relate to a station's music strategy? Or does it? Thank you. - Anonymous

Anon: Cluster analysis is a multivariate statistic that simply puts things (variables such as songs) into groups or subsets, where variables in each subset are similar in some way. An easier way would be to use simple correlation to find out which songs relate to each other.

You don't give me enough information about how the cluster analysis results are used to develop a station's music strategy. Strategy for what? Without the information, the only thing I can assume is that the company is suggesting a playlist using the clusters from the analysis – such as playing songs in one hour or one daypart from different clusters to provide a feeling of variety, or playing several songs from one cluster to provide a feeling of "consistency" in sound. I'm not sure without more information.

With the information you provide, there is nothing wrong with using cluster analysis to segment songs into groups or subsets. I just don't know enough about how the results are used to say whether the interpretation is correct or incorrect.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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