I was on a local NPR affliate show yesterday, and the host ended our segment with a lovely story that I wanted to pass along. She's Mary Ambrose of KALW, and this is how she summarized the Long Tail, while some charming music played in the background:
I have two friends in Canada who run a Canadian folk music label called Borealis. This is music from their album Six Strings North of the Border. While folk music fans are loyal, there simply aren't enough of them in Canada to support this label, even though Borealis has a solid back catalog, which never goes out of style.
Then the Internet came along and they were able to find folk music fans who didn't know the lyricism of Penny Lang or the songwriting of Ron Hynes. There's little room on the retail shelves for any niche music, and most music--including folk--is niche music. The new reality of interconnectedness means Borealis is thriving with new audiences they never could have found before. Recently one of my friends told me that they just received a check for ringtone downloads in Japan, where the hip thing is to have acoustic music on your cell phone. That is the Long Tail.
Exactly. Thanks, Mary, for saying it so well.