The Long Tail: Another View
WSJ has a report by Lee Gomes:
Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson’s hot, new best seller, “The Long Tail,” is causing a sensation with its eye-opening claims about the way the Web is rewriting the rules of commerce. But I’ve looked at some of the same data, and some more of my own, and I don’t think things are changing as much as he does.
t would be wonderful if the world as Mr. Anderson describes it were true: one where “healthy niche products” and even “outright misses” collectively could stand their ground with the culture’s increasingly soulless “hits.”
But while every singer-songwriter dreams from his bedroom of making a living off iTunes, few actually do, mostly because so many others have the very same idea. And to the extent that Apple is making money off iTunes, thanks go to Nelly Furtado and other hitmakers. Indeed, you can make the case that the Internet is amplifying the role of hits, even in relation to misses, not diminishing them.
So maybe Mr. Anderson really has unlocked the sort of new business rules the cover promises. I say we wait before ripping up any business plans.
Chris Anderson responds.