The Short of the Long Tail

I’ve been finishing my reading of Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” recently (bought it a year ago on special, started reading then got sidetracked). I know it’s a bit out of vogue now but I think it still has a lot of valid and valuable arguments and it bats for the hobbyist content creator such as myself.

I’m actually writing this post because of an inspiring round-up of his at the end of chapter 9 where he talks about the ‘dangers of Hitism’ and the cynical mindset that affects society in general regarding the entertainment industry. To give a couple of examples: The belief in society that everyone going into the music industry ‘wants to be a star’, or they’re ‘in it for the money’. The former attitude is further reinforced by the likes of the Idol franchise, and the latter by the image of hiphop stars and producers, and a gleaning through Billboard might not help either.

Does that mean that success in music (i.e. talent etc…) and success in the music business are almost unrelated? Is it all just about a self-indulgent grab for money, fame and attention?

The dangers and tyranny of ‘hitism’ doesn’t mean that people going into the industry are necessarily like that, but that the public perceives it to be so. Anyway, the positive point of the longtail is that many artists can make a comfortable living without being a part of the ‘hits’ culture, through online niches and the wonders of social networking. There are still hits, but the non-hits don’t necessarily mean misses. Since the attention of the mainstream media only has room for a handful of stars like Lady Gaga etc, I still recommend this book for all kinds of content-creators.


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