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Saturday, January 3

Chopping Off the Long Tail

A researcher just published a study contradicting the panacea of The Long Tail. Seems that
more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the Internet failed to find a single buyer last year...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.
So we've got that going for us.

Our label reflects this somewhat with the biggest artists by far selling more titles, but the little nuggets in the catalog get their sales, too. What it says to me is that music is like everything else—most people don't give a crap about things that aren't put right in front of them on a gilded platter. The Long Tail only works if people have a healthy curiosity, and it turns out that people are more like Rottweilers than cats.

Long Tail Anderson counters with the latest Soundscan™ stats:
“There are more than 450,000 different physical albums that sold at least one copy over the Internet during 2008 compared to 390,000 in 2007.” and “The top 100 ringtones sold 43.8 million, accounting for 26% of all ringtone sales for the year; down from 30% in 2007"
Hooray Ringtones.

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