The Power of Repetition - Repetitive Lyrics in a Song Increase Processing Fluency and Drives Market Success

40 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2017

See all articles by Joseph Nunes

Joseph Nunes

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Andrea Ordanini

Bocconi University

Francesca Valsesia

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Date Written: December 10, 2014

Abstract

The majority of music people listen to in their daily lives includes lyrics. This research documents how more repetitive songs lyrically are processed more fluently and thus adopted more broadly and quickly in the marketplace. Study 1 is a controlled laboratory experiment demonstrating how lexical repetition, a feature of the stimulus and not the consequence of repeated exposures, results in greater processing fluency. Study 2 replicates the effect utilizing custom-produced song excerpts holding everything constant except the lyrics. Utilizing data from Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart from 1958-2012, Study 3 documents how more repetitive songs stand a greater chance of reaching #1 as opposed to lingering at the bottom of the chart. An analysis of #1 hits reveals increased repetition decreases the time it takes to reach #1 and increases the odds of debuting in the Top 40. This research chronicles the impact of processing fluency on consumer choice in the real world while demonstrating repetition as a stimulus feature matters. It also introduces a new variable to the processing fluency literature: lexical repetition.

Keywords: music, repetition, fluency

JEL Classification: M3

Suggested Citation

Nunes, Joseph and Ordanini, Andrea and Valsesia, Francesca, The Power of Repetition - Repetitive Lyrics in a Song Increase Processing Fluency and Drives Market Success (December 10, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2938838 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2938838

Joseph Nunes

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Andrea Ordanini

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

Francesca Valsesia (Contact Author)

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

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