The internet was supposed to bring vast choice for customers, access to obscure and forgotten products – and a fortune for sellers who focused on niche markets.
But a study of digital music sales has posed the first big challenge to this “long tail” theory: more than 10 million of the 13 million tracks available on the internet failed to find a single buyer last year.
As far as I can read it, this actually confirms that the long tail works perfectly. After all, the Long Tail works on the hypothesis that if a middleman can profitably keep an immense inventory of anything that might sell can satisfy a significant part of the market. That’s exactly what happened. Also, Tthe long tail will not be proved or disproved based on how many songs sell. It will be proved or disproved based on how many songs sell that otherwise wouldn’t have even been put up for sale. It isn’t about “quality”. It’s about subjectivity.