Working Papers

Atypicality and Cultural Success

Jonah Berger and Grant Packard

Jan 25, 2018

Uses natural language processing to examine the relationship between lyrical differentiation (i.e., atypicality) and song popularity.  Using Billboard’s digital download rankings and Dirichlet allocation, calculates differentiation (atypicality) as the absolute value difference between a song’s lyrics and the genre mean. Uses  OLS regression to examine the relationship between lyrical differentiation and song performance.

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