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Country 'Research'

May 05, 1991

Someone is pulling the wool over Patrick Goldstein's eyes ("Nashville Stars Want to Know You Better," Pop Eye, April 7).

Entertainment companies know how to do real marketing or demographic surveys when they want to. Putting "research cards" into newly released records and tapes is not a serious way to go about it; for one thing, you'll never get a scientifically random sample. For another thing, from a marketing standpoint, records are more like clothing than TV shows: If you want to know what works, all you have to do is look at what sells.

So why go to the trouble to develop these response cards? I suspect that the answer lies in the market targeted for this ploy: country music. The cards are designed not to elicit any useful data but merely as an image enhancer for the artists using them. It's a way to give audiences the illusion that these stars "care" about them. There's an unspoken assumption here that country music fans are a little bit gullible.

So, get real. It doesn't surprise me that marketing executives invent these crass marketing tools, only that Goldstein apparently can't see through them.

JAY FRAMSON

Los Angeles

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