Behind the music: Is the long tail a myth? | Music | guardian.co.uk
The study discovered that, of the tens of millions of tracks available for sale on the web, 80% sold no copies at all – and that 80% of the money spent on the 20% that did sell went on just 52,000 songs. As Andrew Orlowski pointed out in his excellent Register article on the subject, the typical inventory of a conventional high-street record store is around 4,000 CDs, or 52,000 songs.
Judging by Last.fm’s end-of-year top 100, there doesn’t seem to be much of a long tail there either: the list reads Coldplay, Radiohead, MGMT, Coldplay, Coldplay, Radiohead. And this is a site where the customers don’t have to pay for their music.
So how did Anderson get it so wrong?
And the article in the Guardian ends with this:
Maybe the reason why the internet hasn’t brought about a long-tail era for music is simpler than all the above. The internet gives the customer an infinite choice of tracks, but perhaps the pool of genuine talent is as limited as it’s always been.