Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Long Tail

In the Wired Magazine Article "The Long Tail" the author explores the shifting nature of the entertainment industry that is coming about due to on-line businesses that are able to provide a much larger selection of media including books, movies, music. I'm a big fan of this shift although I have to admit that I'm just really beginning to explore the depths of these new services. I still haven't downloaded my first song or signed up for Netflix but it's just a matter of time before I do. This is the same reason that I'm entertaining the idea of digital radio and look forward to getting my DVR setup. I want to explore and consume what I want when I want it. Now the tools are there to do just that.

Take a look at the whole article or read the highlighted quotes I pulled out below. I'd be interested to hear what others think about the Long Tail and if any of you have done a deep dive and discovered some treasures.

"Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream."

"Ultimately selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it in service after service, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs in the iTunes Music Store and Rhapsody. People are going deep into the catalog, down the long, long list of available titles, far past what's available at Blockbuster Video, Tower Records, and Barnes & Noble. And the more they find, the more they like. As they wader further from the beaten path, they discover their taste is not as mainstream as they thought (or as they had been led to believe by marketing, a lock of alternatives, and a hit-driven culture)."

"Many of our assumptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching - a market response to inefficient distribution."

"In the tyranny of physical space, an audience too thinly spread is the same as no audience at all."

"But most of us want more than just hits. Everyone's taste departs from the mainstream somewhere, and the more we explore alternatives, the more we're drawn to them."

"This is the power of the Long Tail. The companies at the vanguard of it are showing the way with three big lessons. Call them the new rules for the new entertainment economy. Rule 1 - Make Everything Available. Rule 2 - Cut the Price in Half. Now Lower It. Rule 3 - Help Me Find It."

2/26/05 Update: I thought I'd update this post with a couple of additional references that I've seen to the Long Tail concept. First is the Wikipedia entry about The long Tail. This entry provides a nice summary of the concept and some good refernces.

The second site I wanted to point out is Tim Bray's comments on Organizing the Long Tail. He provides a different, and I think unique perspective on this idea.

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