Posted by: paulfbove | March 11, 2008

The Long Tail

If you spend any time at all on the Web, you’re probably experiencing a phenomenon known as The Long Tail. The theory is set forth in Chris Anderson’s book of the same name. The basic idea deals with what happens when everything becomes available to everyone, thanks to digital technology and the Web. My impression after reading the book is that I’ve been exploring the long tail for a long time and not even realizing it.  My circumstance is a common one and one that Anderson explored in some detail in his book–the long tail works very well for music fans. Because terrestrial radio is pretty much dead in a city like Washington (and most other cities), music fans need to find new sources for their fix. Internet radio helped fill the void very nicely a number of years ago and now places like iTunes and Rhapsody are helping music lovers as well. As I become exposed to more types of music and more artists via the Internet radio stations, I can do more research and find out more information by digging deeper into the Web. The farther I dig, the farther down the long tail I go. Mainstream media sources may not cover many of the bands that are dominating the “indie” rock scene (I use quotes because who knows what rock is called these days. . . it’s always changing), but rest assured that there is somebody out there blogging about the bands, posting mp3s, starting fan clubs, and ultimately contributing to a band’s success or failure. All this is good for non-top 40 music listeners because there are few mainstream outlets to hear what you really want to hear. And this shows a perfect example of how the long tail is helping the music scene thrive.

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