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Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Long Tail - It Works If You Work It

A recent study by an unnamed music service (speculation is it's the iTunes store) states that of their 12 million songs, 9 million didn't sell a single copy last year. This flies against the wind of The Long Tail theory, which states that consumers will by more catalog than hits if it were available, the catalog being "the long tail." Economists who never bought the theory to begin with are now dancing on it's grave.

But wait. There's more to it than just having the catalog available for purchase. After having studied the Long Tail theory, I've come to the conclusion that this study doesn't take into account 2 of its 3 main points. They are:
  • in order for people to purchase items in the Long Tail, the items must be easy to find and easily available.
  • the items in the Long Tail must be priced attractively, something that iTunes or any other digital service hasn't done until now.
As a result, I think that before the naysayers dismiss this theory, they must give all facets of it a chance work. With variable pricing now coming to most digital stores, we can see shortly how price affects sales. It's that "easy to find" part that's probably going to prove problematic.

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