The Power of Repetition - Repetitive Lyrics in a Song Increase Processing Fluency and Drives Market Success
40 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2017
Date Written: December 10, 2014
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: Suggested Citation