Monday, January 05, 2009

The Long Tail Effect is alive

There has been some noise on the Long Tail Effect (LTE), as per Chris Anderson; Will Page has demonstrated that it does not occur: "more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the internet failed to find a single buyer last year."

Some remarks:
  • It is important to understand that Page's research focuses on the internet market for popular music. The LTE isn't dismissed altogether, as is shown here.
  • 10m Tracks may not have been sold, but that means an incredible 3m did find a buyer. How about that for a long tail! Extending the tail to cover 13m tracks can only be possible by including (hmmm what follows head, body and tail?) absolute crap. Let's rejoice that the people at least didn't sink to the level of buying total rubbish! (The Vatican is right about at least one thing ...)
  • It reminds me of the early days of the CD. The new medium was feared to be particularly bad for 'unpopular' music, such as contemporary classical. However, the latter genre has been flourishing thanks to the fact that producing a CD turned out to be quite cheap (too bad the music industry wasn't ready to pass on savings to the public, which put all the majors in the intensive care ...). In fact, it looks like the LTE is alive and kicking in the CD market for contemporary music (just one example: of Luciano Berio's 14 Sequenzas there are no less than 3 complete sets available). Music downloads are probably negligible for the genre, but the internet market for contemporary music also seems to display a solid LTE effect (check out sites such as: Neos, col-legno, DurianEdition RZ, New World Records, Petals, or Peter Maxwell Davies' now silenced download site at Max Opus).

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