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Rob Falk

Interesting stat, but, not to get too Bill Clintonesque on you, I'd like to know what the definition of "available" is. Also does "move" mean sell, or does it also take streaming into account?


no, 85% DID NOT move a copy.

Lacy Kemp

This is really interesting and totally different than what we read everywhere. I wonder what the difference is between digital and physical sales.

Frank M. Schenker

I absolutely doubt these figures - what are your sources: RIAA - JK

Our label sells one physical copy at least of 98% of our catalog.

And as it is a niche market (New Age), most of the sales happen in 'non-traditional-outlets' anyway. So they are hardly track able (no soundscan) at all.

Here is another look just at the download selling of single tracks: http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1610658/singletrack_digital_downloads_death_knell_to_artists/index.html Our CDs are to download mostly as "full album only".

We do sell less, but make more profit - and the artist is happy, the fan also.


The only way the Long Tail theory can be proven to be wrong is when first there are mechanisms in place to provide exposure for most of the content and users have been given tools to discover music throughout the store - and yet it shows that users still gravitate towards a few hits only.
So much of what has been wrong with music marketing in the past still remains where major labels tried to force retailers and radio stations to play their chosen artists and packaged hits only. And there are numerous online music stores and carriers' ringtone stores that are run by techies instead of music people who simply blindly ape radio, Billboard and other low-common denominator mainstream music charts and perpetuate the injustice.
As such, there is a very high chance that the dataset that mBlox (focused on mobile music) obtained could well have been flawed in this manner.
As Chris Anderson rightly noted, "further conclusions could not be drawn until the data and its sources were published. "

Andrew Goodrich

I just want to throw a brief comment out there that The Long Tail theory should still stand strong, as we haven’t truly seen the realization of a democratized aggregator/filter that Anderson describes as necessary for the long tail. In fact, he specifically describes how services like iTunes’ recommendations don’t necessarily shift demand down the curve in the way that a truly democratized filter would. So, if anything, these numbers correlate directly to what Anderson suggested, that current systems still propagate the hit-driven "head" that we've come to know all too well.

Bruce Houghton

Thanks for the great and insightful comments

Thanks Tricky, I've made the "not" correction. above Pretty important.

I should also add that Anderson is also questioning the methodology of the study. I'll watch it and try to do a follow up piece. If you guys see anything, please let me know. Plus, in some ways I'm not sure that 173,000 is not a long tale anyway.


Singles need to be 10-20 cents each.

DRM needs to go away for good.

The RIAA needs to stop bullying consumers.

Quality needs to go up...DSD Downloads NOW!

And we need to stop spamming iTunes with fake ass shit that no one wants.

Basically everything majors will never do.

brendan b brown


I defiantly agree with some of the previous comments.

How is the "long-tail" supposed to be enabled when society allows the ancient barriers imposed by the current record industry.

Another side is that most of the world is not wired for broadband.

"...we don't even have the most populous countries in the world (China, India, Brazil, etc.) connected to broadband yet!" - Gerd Leonhard, mediafuturist.com

I think that the benefits of longtail will only be realized when music ubiquitious on a worldwide scale. And we are far from that.

Suzanne Lainson

The results of the study make sense to me. Have you checked out most of the bands on MySpace? Many of them never play anywhere. They don't really have a following. There are a lot of bands that put out recorded music that no one wants. It's free and you still can't give it away.

And if consumers have only so much to spend on music, they are going to seek out what they perceive as the best music, which tends to collect around what most perceive as the best.

There's a lot of debate on The Long Tail theory outside of this study. That doesn't mean artists shouldn't do what they want and that retailers should make it available, but that even if it is available, not everyone wants it. It's the same with content online.

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