The Long Tail: Not Entirely Discredited
“The end came quickly,” as authors of morbid weepies like to say. On Monday WiReD magazine editor Chris Anderson effectively admitted game over for his “Long Tail”, the idea he’s been dragging so lucratively around the conference circuit for the past four years. In as many words, he downgraded it from “the future of business” to something that’s, er, not very helpful for your business at all.
“I’ll end by conceding a point: It’s hard to make money in the Tail,” Anderson wrote. “The revenues are disproportionately in the Head. Perhaps that will never change.”
There is a Long Tail. But it’s many Long Tails.
If someone buys a book by a certain writer and falls in love with it, that person is likely to want the rest of that writer’s work. That writer’s long tail of work. That happened to me with Harlan Ellison, Ayn Rand, and other writers.
The same thing can happen with bands.
The same thing with other entertainment items produced by certain groups or individuals.
There is a Long Tail — just look at Google’s grab of out-of-print books — just not the one originally envisioned as a universally-applicable hypothesis.