Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, coined “The Long Tail”: A theory based on “the world of abundance” where instead of being obsessed with the head of the tail–the 20 percent of products that are hits–it’s the remaining 80% (which actually goes on forever) where the biggest money lies.
Main point: The long tail will kill much of our accepted cultural conventions and the winners will be those who create devoted and passionate–and even small–audiences.
Best of all, you don’t have to be the one to create the products. You can simply be a filter to help people sort through the crap. That’s part of what I do. I have techniques the allow me to sort through millions of pages of content and find the newest–and what I judge to be the best–information for musicians. Then I post it to my blog for all of my subscribers. My goal is to make it easier for my subscribers to stay up-to-date.
I find that most people I talk to are overwhelmed with the rapid cultural changes that are occurring and especially with all the information that is growing by the second. You know why I don’t feel that way? Because of my RSS aggregator.
I grew up wanting to write a hit song, be a famous rock star, and have 6,000 girlfriends. Now, at 34, my pop-idol shelf life is waning. But I’m not disappointed. Well, maybe I’m a little disappointed. But there’s still hope for me to create a sustainable artistic Business with a modest fan base.
And as this article says:
Count music makers and listeners — the little guys — among the winners. Technology has democratized the means of production and consumption. It’s easier than ever to record a song on a home computer, put it on the Internet, get a bunch of amateur reviewers on MySpace to promote it, and voila! You’re a star (sort of). The Long Tail is omnivorous: As quickly as iTunes or Rhapsody add tracks, someone downloads them.
I know this first hand.