Monday, January 22, 2007

The Long Tail

Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream.

I recently stumbled across a business/statistics term I hadn’t heard of before; the long tail. It was just recently coined by Chris Anderson in 2004. On the supply curve, it is the products that are out of range of the sweet spot or the most popular products. In the future to survive, businesses will have to offer more choices to their customers and become specialized, essentially flattening the demand curve. The internet has allowed the chance for more specialized products to be distributed at affordable prices. In a bookstore you only have so much space for your product; Amazon has unlimited space. In the type design world, smaller foundries are essential to this process, offering more and more choices and specialization. Don’t let anyone tell you we have enough fonts.

Wired article
Wikipedia article

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