The Long Tail and Its Relevance in the Digital Age

Chris Anderson's article on the "Long Tail" holds more relevance today than it did when he wrote it six years ago.  The basic premise of the article is that with the rise of services offering digital publishing of content that could previously only be found in physical media, it has become easier for an independent publisher to get their contents seen. Perhaps the easiest way to explain the phenomenon is to look at what's going on in digital music sales.  With the emergence of iTunes and Amazon over the last decade as major players in the music retail space, consumers have been given more choices than ever before.  Both iTunes and Amazon will offer recommendations based upon your purchasing habits.  If you buy one of those recommended tracks, the process continues.  Within three clicks, you could go from the hot new Jason Mraz single to a catchy track from an independent piano pop band from Windsor, Canada  just getting its start.  (I recommend “Eighty Eight Keys.”)  This trend should continue as digital music sales just surpassed those of their physical counterparts for the first time ever.

The theory doesn't just hold true for music.  Various services have popped up all over the Internet to publish books for practically nothing.  Apple recently jumped into the fray in a big way by offering its iBooks Author program for free to anyone with a Mac.

Free blogs like this one are leading to more independent journalism.