Promising News for Small Businesses: The Long Tail is Alive!

Small businesses keep the faith!  

eMusic released information today proving just how long the "long tail" of consumer tastes is in music , and small Interest businesses can rejoice in their findings. eMusic, a leader in chasing the "long tail" market in music, has proven the business is out there.

The "long tail" is an exciting concept as a consumer, because it promises more variety in the marketplace.  Not enthralled with the pickings at the Macy's jewelry counter?  Fear not, small quantities of unique and beautiful jewelry that tickle your fancy is available via the web, if you can find it.  Not wild about the songs winning Grammies?  No problem, music you would like, no matter how unique your tastes, is available for download.

Data Proves the Long Tail is Alive

The old music industry has been selling you on the Top 40 and charts of the Top 100, and at any given time heavily promotes only a few artists, essentially telling us that "this" is what we want.  It seems that's a story that no longer survives scrutiny, as today eMusic announced that approximately 75% of the some four millions tracks it carries sold at least once during 2008 based on a recent analysis of worldwide sales data.  Let take a minute and absorb that.
eMusic has found that  people will pay money for something like 3,000,000 tracks outside the Top 40.  This is maybe 30,000 artists outside the mainstream that have a paying audience.  That is a long tail indeed.

This goes against the wisdom of the marketers in the old music industry who know what Al Ries woulds tell us, that you can only keep the names of a couple top artists or brands in your mind.  It is not that Al Ries is wrong, its that what people want is not just "music" or "jewelry".  People want things like "late 80's Punk with melodic guitar" or "big earrings with fire opals and feathers".  Consumers' tastes can be very specific.

We allow ourselves to want the most specific objects of our desire as finding them becomes easier, and we are especially compelled to buy them. 

Of course being consumers, you and I,  we knew this all along; the question has been whether business could accommodate our tastes.  The Internet makes it possible and this is fertile ground ripe for small businesses to develop.
Ever been hungry?  Do you make your dining decisions in your home town based on some else's list?  Anyone had this conversation?
I am hungry
        — There are leftovers in the fridge
Lets go out
        — OK, how about Italian food?
No noodles. Maybe Chinese food
        — We could pick up some Golden Flower on 1st street
Their food is a little greasy.  Maybe Thai
        — We've liked the Thai Garden
They have that soup I like, but it is not spicy enough
        — We could order it extra hot
But its got chicken in it, and my new years resolution was to eat vegetarian
        — We can ask them to make it without meat
OK, lets go
There is money to be made connecting the individual consumer to those things they most specifically desire.  This may not be a billion dollar opportunity in many cases, but it is a very real opportunity where people will happily part with their cash.
Postscript note: eMusic is a monthly subscription service for MP3 downloads.  If you're interested in learning about them, check out this Review of eMusic .

Posted via email from Random Eric

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