I posted back in July reminding those of us who take current Internet theories such as The Wisdom of Crowds at face value that many of these ideas are primarily marketing tools, rather than tested, research-based approaches.
Alan posts about a recent presentation given by an MCPS-PRS Alliance economist, Will Page, which argued that The Longtail is "fairly completely incorrect".
Page apparently helped Chris Anderson write The Longtail thesis, but has since carried out empirical research on a huge volume of global online music sales. The research found:
"while there was a long tail, it was extremely poverty stricken and much of it is moribund [...] even Free doesn’t work – when Radiohead gave away their music for free, there were still 400,000 illegal downloads in the UK. Not only that, they have found that illegal services focus on the “hit head” even more than the average."
Hypothesising further, Alan reckons that most demand curves are Log Normal rather than Pareto Power Law Curves, an opinion strongly supported by one of the researchers.
As a footnote to this, it is maybe worth adding that the researchers work for an organization that enforces commercial copyright on behalf of composers, songwriters and music publishers.