Thursday, May 14, 2009

The long tail: Can't tell the bottom from the top

More, I'm afraid, on that PRS survey. Music Ally has seen it, and focuses on a more interesting point:

A new filesharing study claims to refute the “Long Tail” theory made famous by Chris Anderson, arguing that (at least in the p2p world) downloading patterns strongly resemble those in the world of mainstream hits.

“Consumers are still driven to seek the same music in legal and illegal markets”, explains the report, from Eric Garland, CEO of p2p analyst BigChampagne, and Will Page, chief economist at UK collecting society PRS For Music. “The most swapped files were also the most downloaded on legal music sites, indicating that what’s popular is popular”, continues the report, which claims that filesharing actually demonstrates “a very hit-heavy, skinny tail profile.”

Says Garland: “We are yet to see a big hit or wildly popular release in the pirate market that was not also a top seller in the licensed market.”

Right. Although - as Music Ally also points out - "the long tail" was about digital in general, and had nothing specific to do with piracy.

And you're rejecting to suggestion that there would be a long tail of downloads by pointing to the fat head of real-world downloads? Isn't that trying to disprove the existence of the sea by pointing firmly at the beach?