The Long TailHere are some key points I get from Thing 5: The Long Tail from The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online:

The Long Tail was originally an article by Chris Anderson, editor of Wired Magazine. It then expanded and became a blog and a very successful book. Although the economics of the online world has proven to be hard to decipher, the Long Tail is one principle that has established itself as reliable.

The Long Tail basically states that there are a few ‘hits’, a small number of products that sell (and have sold) extremely well. However, there are more and more choices becoming available for every ‘hit’. These products represent the ‘tail’, a larger number of products that sell in smaller quantities. This has allowed the ‘tail’ to be more profitable than the ‘hits’.

There are a number of implications:

  • There is no need for physical shelf space, especially in the online world (think online music stores that only sell digital files)
  • More people are exploring the tail rather than the hits, which means that the bigger selling items suffer
  • As more things become available, people will consume more; having a larger number of items available means more sales
  • The ability to market niche products

Dubber claims that the real reason major record labels are suffering is because of the Long Tail. While the hits are still selling, there is a larger range of choice available, and it’s growing all the time. People are exploring the tail more and more.

Finally, Dubber states that, for the first time in history, the sum total of sales in the tail is larger than the sum total of sales in the hits.

The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online was written by Andrew Dubber, and all credit goes to him. I do not claim any ownership over the book, nor am I quoting any information verbatim. If you would like to download your free copy, please follow this link, and don’t forget to visit New Music Strategies as well.

Author: David Andrew Wiebe

David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.