What is Zapoleon’s Rule?
It is also called the “Rule Of Three.”
Simply, it says that a song must be heard at least three times before one can know if they like it or not.
Kind of crazy, huh? But it makes sense.
See, there becomes a familiarity to music the more it is heard, like an enjoyment of casual comfort from an old song.
This is where the relationship with a song might be as enjoyable as the song itself.
This refers back to my post on Hit Predictor.
And Zapoleon’s Rule is – clearly – why the radio will play a reputable artist’s new song over and over again.
The main difficulty Zapoleon had to overcome in creating Hit Predictor, he says was what that he says, was that people don’t know if they like a song unless they’ve already heard it. “There’s an old adage that you can only do research on people who are already familiar with the song,” he says. Zapoleon refers to this as the “rule of three”—you have to hear a new song at least three times before you know if you like it or not. Traditional call-out research, which radio stations do to test their playlists, is conducted on songs people have already heard. “They aren’t taking a totally unfamiliar song and playing them that,” he says.
-John Seabrook, The Song Machine