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October 19, 2006

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Gregory Talon

Myspace is gonna really taking part of long tail concept accross Music sells. I think Apple will be impacted by myspace music.
I had a Christian Dussard courses few days ago.

I'm trying to make a good articles about digital marketing of internet pure players.

http://gregorytalon.blogspot.com/2006/09/internet-marketing-investments.html

If you have some times to read it.

Greg

Nick

Mr. Anderson, I read your original article, read your book, check here every so often, and saw you speak in at the NYPL with Prof. Lessig. I know your "background is physics and economics" and that you "tend to go for data rather than speculation and hand waving," but I keep getting the impression that you think the long tail is an unquestionably good thing. This Universal thing can only bode ill for the public domain and sane copyright term limits, things that are in the public's interest as citizens, but not necessarily in its interest as consumers. Now Universal has tasted the blood of the long tail and I fear the rest of us are worse off for it (unless you've really been dying to get your hands on Eddie and the Hot Rods). Please share your thoughts or point me to where you've discussed the larger implications of your idea beyond making money off obscure goods.

Jeff Osborne

Hi Nick,

It was difficult for me to figure out what you might be trying to say above. I thought your effort to establish credibility in the beginning of the comment was solid. The quotes were also a fair move. But once you started in about the "Universal thing" it felt as though the comment became a mildy righteous tangle of several different ideas.

And they're interesting ideas. Could you please clarify?

Are you suggesting that identifying commercial value in otherwise unreleasable back-catalog media is bad because it reinforces copyright holders' incentives to lobby for insane copyright extensions?

If so, are you then accusing Mr. Anderson of being complicit in what you view as a corporate/capitalist campaign to usurp ever greater shares of the public domain?

It's possible that I've misunderstood what you were trying to ask. It's also possible that you've conflated Universal's efforts to co-promote the Long Tail book with a broader trend that certainly predates the study of online economics.

What do you think?

Thanks for the comment.

Jeff

Julian Bond

Take this Back Catalogue idea. Combine it with AllOfMp3's model. That is cheap, DRM free, choice of encoding, priced by the megabyte. Now extend it to every bit of audio that has ever been released. Want to bet that won't make a lot of money for someone?

Julian Bond

So where's the link to the download site? How do I participate? And why is there no link in the press release?

Nick

Jeff,
Thanks for calling me out on my comment which was a bit sloppy and hastily written. I'm certainly not accusing Anderson of being "complicit" in Big Content's copyright campaign and think that identifying value anywhere is good. Hopefully this is a bit more clera, but my basic question is: what does the long tail mean beyond simple economics?

Clearly, now that Universal has seen what the long tail can do, it has a much greater interest in getting its archives out into the world. And yes Jeff, by identifying that value Universal does have a larger incentive to increase control over music that used to be useless to it. Lessig has called for mandatory copyright renewal as a way to ensure that unpopular material enters the public domain: the idea being that the cost of renewal will be worthwhile in some cases, not in others. The long tail changes this thinking since enough of the unpopular will still rival the popular economically. This may seem obvious, but then again, no less obvious than the long tail itself and its certainly a distressing thought.

There are many ways to tackle this "larger consequences of long tail theory" idea and I'd like to figure out the many sides to the argument. For instance, in commerce, the long tail is good for consumers (choice) and sellers (more profit), but the effect on competition may be bad, to the point it ends up hurting consumers in the end. Niche goods have always existed, but we've lost the niche store. At present, if the range of choice is a defining characteristic of an online business, the barrier to entry into markets seems much greater (one almost needs to start off with a huge selection to be taken seriously), and the kind of collusion that can cripple markets and technology (ie. Univeral suing Bolt and Grouper and not YouTube - which it now has an equity stake in) seems more troublesome. In essence, Universal is in a position to shape the future of online video because of its huge library, which the long tail says is all of a sudden valuable. Is that good? If not, why doesn't Anderson admit as much or caution against it? The New Yorker Review of the book saw the long tail as an oligopoly maker because of all that it takes to run a successful aggregation business. That can't be good, right? Or is there another side I'm missing?

Also, I'm curious as to how the economics of the long tail will effect us as consumers and as citizens, two sides to each person that are motivated by different considerations. Niche markets may lead to cultural fragmentation, which is argued to be bad for democracy, but I take heart in thinking that with too much choice people will still end up huddling around similar items, they just won't be told which to pick. Will our experiences as consumers shape what we expect as citizens? Anderson mentioned at the NYPL that it might lead to more direct democracy, like CA's referendum system. We've already seen an explosion of political blogs. Warhol made a big deal out of 15 minutes of fame, and look where we are. Now we are all famous to 15 people, which will lead us where?

I see Anderson's book as the beginning of an interesting discussion of the economic and cultural consequences of infinite choice. This may be too ambitious an idea to have made it into the book, but I think there are enough voices on the web (and on this site) to get some more ideas on the long tails effects. Though I'm not sure the best way to go about doing that. Anyone else up for it?

(Sorry for the length of this comment)

Nick

Phillip Marzella

What is interesting/shocking about the Universal’s press release is that it sounds like they’re surprised by the long tail theory (!) The concept - albeit not as well formalised as the book and articles – has been around for a while. And if it hadn’t, you’d think a conglomerate that large would be creating 'long tail-like’ strategies of their own.

What evidence is there that the long-tail has an impact on the distribution sector alone – ie will it change the distribution channels competitive landscape rather than make less known product available by the ‘same’ global players’ channels?

I.e. the same way that anyone with a word processor can write a novel can anyone with a broadband access become a distribution chain? Is there evidence of this or will the likes on iTunes, GooTube et al dominate the long tail by controlling distribution?

Jeff Osborne

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your thoughtful responses to my questions. I enjoyed reading them. We're in agreement on many points. The point about Grouper and Bolt was interesting news to me.

We differ in our view as to whether the internet is good for niche markets. Should be interesting to watch.

Thanks again,

Jeff

Tyler arnold

Niche goods have always existed, but we've lost the niche store. At present, if the range of choice is a defining characteristic of an online business, the barrier to entry into markets seems much greater (one almost needs to start off with a huge selection to be taken seriously), and the kind of collusion that can cripple markets and technology (ie. Univeral suing Bolt and Grouper and not YouTube - which it now has an equity stake in) seems more troublesome.

Mr  lv

Mr.Chris:
I have read your new book--the Long Tail,and I'm also doing researching in internet field in People's Republic of China.However,it is difficult for Chinese to read ,because it is writted by English.So I'm very interesting to be authorized to publish it in the People's Republic of China.
I am a professor,subdecanal of management college in CAS,Chinese Academy of
Sciencer,and I have studied internet economics fou several years.
Because of the lack of your E-mail,If you are interesting in my request,please contact with me.My E-mail is [email protected]!
Best wishes!
Mr.Lv
2006.10.26

Mr  lv

Mr.Chris:
I have an important thing to talk with you!
I have read your new book--the Long Tail,and I'm also doing researching in internet field in People's Republic of China.However,it is difficult for Chinese to read ,because it is writted by English.So I'm very interesting to be authorized to publish it in the People's Republic of China.
I am a professor,subdecanal of management college in CAS,Chinese Academy of
Sciencer,and I have studied internet economics fou several years.
Because of the lack of your E-mail,If you are interesting in my request,please contact with me.My E-mail is [email protected]!
Best wishes!
Mr.Lv
2006.10.26

Mr  lv

Mr.Chris:
I have an important thing to talk with you!
I have read your new book--the Long Tail,and I'm also doing researching in internet field in People's Republic of China.However,it is difficult for Chinese to read ,because it is writted by English.So I'm very interesting to be authorized to publish it in the People's Republic of China.
I am a professor,subdecanal of management college in CAS,Chinese Academy of Sciencer,and I have studied internet economics fou several years.
Because of the lack of your E-mail,If you are interesting in my request,please contact with me.My E-mail is [email protected]!
Best wishes!
Mr.Lv
2006.11.1

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!