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March 29, 2007


Mike Woodhouse

And of course, he's right. Although there is a subset of those give-away musicians for whom the recorded stuff is the loss-leader that delivers promotion for their live gigs, which actually pay for the floor rental and ramen bills.

And when you think about it, what does the record company actually do? Promotion? MySpace. Distribution? iTunes, emusic, P2P, FTP. What's left is probably studio time for acoustic instruments - not an issue at all for many artists and something that will have to come out of gig proceeds for the rest.

Phil Freund

It's a different game now. Distribution is not the issue. Exposure is the problem. With satellite radio, mp3 blogs, pandora, iTunes, Last.fm, pure volume, etc... the problem is not finding new bands -- it's finding the good ones. There is so much "noise" in the music scene, the role that labels need to take is serving up quality artists for all the different music lover niches. Mainstream pop is dead.

I buy about $50 worth of music every month (mostly from iTunes and eMusic) all in download format. That way I get quality music -- not the studio filler tracks. Additionally, I probably download about 200-300MB of free music per day -- all from legit mp3 blogs. And when I find a band that I like that has more than one good song, guess what, I buy their CD (I know, shocking, right?!). The problem is it's really hard to find those good bands to support because there is so much out there.

Labels have too much of an agenda. Their fake, dishonest, and only out to exploit the fan base. Guess what, we're on to them. This generation supports each other when we are honest with each other. Our level of media saviness doesn't put up with corporate bull (and trust me, I know -- I work for one of them). Bands that give away their music are the first to get my attention, not because it's free, but because I know that they don't have an agenda, and they are probably worth caring about and supporting.

Labels will never understand because they don't think like artists.


People basically pay for what they cannot or do not want to do. Record labels used to fit the "almost no one else can do this" bill with the aforementioned distribution and production barriers. No more. A small number, the best of the best, of musicians have fit, and will continue to fit, the "almost no one else can do this" bill, and continue to get rewarded handsomely. All of the other starving musicians who do it for love, but don't have the "it" factor of making others want to hear them, will continue to starve as they always have. Good riddance, record company middleman! Now let's see, who's next up on the internet's list to scratch off as "services no longer required"...?

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When I came to this slide during my presentation in San Jose, I asked the audience how many were familiar with the long tail concept. Practically no one was. Yesterday, the same thing happened with my Chicago audience. Of about 300 people, maybe 10 percent of the hands went up when I asked how many knew about the long tail.


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James Dueck

If there's a surviving business model for music, it's in services. My company TailoredMusic.com is trying to make a go of that angle.

But otherwise, I agree with you. Some of the paradigms Lefsetz is living in are becoming irrelevant very, very quickly.

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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!