They Keep Trying To Kill The Long Tail

Long Tail theory contradicted as study reveals 10m digital music tracks unsold

The internet was supposed to bring vast choice for customers, access to obscure and forgotten products – and a fortune for sellers who focused on niche markets.

But a study of digital music sales has posed the first big challenge to this “long tail” theory: more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the internet failed to find a single buyer last year.

Emphasis added by me.

And:

However, a new study by Will Page, chief economist of the MCPS-PRS Alliance, the not-for-profit royalty collection society, suggests that the niche market is not an untapped goldmine and that online sales success still relies on big hits. They found that, for the online singles market, 80 per cent of all revenue came from around 52,000 tracks. For albums, the figures were even more stark. Of the 1.23 million available, only 173,000 were ever bought, meaning 85 per cent did not sell a single copy all year.

Emphasis added by me.

On the face of it, those figures are devastating and disheartening.

But I wondered: Was any marketing done for the unsold portion? Did anyone know they were there to be had?

And: What services were measured? I’d like someone to do a study of how much music is sold via MySpace and compare those bands against, say, the iTunes Store and Amazon’s MP3 Store.

All this is directly applicable to writers.

Any writer, for example, who direct publishes an eBook and expects people to find out about it without any marketing is just asking for a bagful of disappointment.

Previously here:

The Long Tail: Not Entirely Discredited
Google Book Search: Medialoper FTW
More Long Tail Debate
The Long Tail: A Lie?

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Music, Reference - Life, Reference - Tech, Reference - Writing, Tech - Apple, Tech - Other, Writers - Living, Writing

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