The Tale of the Long Tail

 

hipster.pngBad Computer, Mini Skirt and Monkey Grip are three band names which you’ve probably never heard of before. I hadn’t either, until I was looking through the Triple J Unearthed page – a project run by the station Triple J aimed at finding hidden musical talent in Australia.

Thanks to the internet, bands just like this are able to gain, interest, attention and even a following, regardless of their unfamiliarity. The Long Tail effect means that new and unknown artists are represented in the “true spectrum of music”, and not just the “select few artists the mainstream system considers marketable”.

 

long tail
[Source]
In this day and age we are all consumers and “produsers”, and demand content which is tailored to our interests and tastes. Music fans in particular benefit from the effects of the Long Tail because they have the ability to seek and discover new, niche music. And it’s great for artists as well, who no longer have to create music purely based on how popular it will be in the mainstream market.

Featured Image: “Trombone Portrait” by Stuart Seeger, licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Published by susiealdermann

Fifth Year Bachelor of Communications and Media/ Bachelor of International Studies (Dean's Scholar) student

6 thoughts on “The Tale of the Long Tail

  1. This is such a good post, it’s kinda neat how you have related the long tail effect to music, but I wish you had included more content on the bands because that’s what drew my attention to this post. The power of the ‘ users’ has really changed not only our interaction on the internet but also the content. To such an extent where niche markets like the bands you’ve suggested have a following that you wouldn’t think possible. For your readers or yourself this is a good explanation of the long tail effect to get some more info https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Yku0GTrcuw

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  2. I love the fact that the long tail provides infinite opportunities for artists to create music and market themselves to the world. The promotion of underground artists by Triple J does just this and is the kind of thing we need more of. These days there is so much going on, online and offline, and I feel it has become harder for artists to get noticed amongst all the commotion of every day life. Don’t get me wrong, I think the long tail effect is awesome, but it has facilitated the excessive creation of online content which may be making it harder for underground artists to standout.
    Spotify is another great music streaming service that is part of the long tail. They introduced ‘Forgotify’ (http://forgotify.com/) which plays songs from all kinds of genres on Spotify that have never been played or have only been played a handful of times. I thought this was really cool, a great way of exposing more artists and presenting listeners with fresh music. Right now I am listening to ‘Main Pagal Aan Koi’ by Farrukh Ali Moon. I would never listen to this stuff, and I have no idea what he is saying but it is refreshingly different from what I normally listen to.
    I thought your post was great and it demonstrates your understanding of the long tail effect, particularly through your meme. The additional sources make for an interesting and further informative read.
    Just out of curiosity, did you like any of the music from those bands on Triple J? They sound like they would be interesting.

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  3. Thank you so much for your feedback! “Forgotify” is another great example, but I do agree with what you’re saying about the somewhat ‘saturation’ of the online market. It is an interesting dynamic, and I think probably just a matter of “time will tell” for as to what happens to the music industry as a whole. And also, Bad Computer has some groovy electronic tunes; Mini Skirt and Monkey Grip aren’t really what I normally listen to but still definitely worth checking out if you enjoy the Punk/rock vibe.

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  4. Hi. I love the fact that you open your post with examples of unpopular brands on Triple J Unearthed page, which is a really strong way to introduce your argument. Also, you claim that “in this day and age we are all consumers and “produsers”, and demand content which is tailored to our interests and tastes”, and then you continue to explain how the long tail benefits music fans – consumers and artists – producers, without mentioning the “produsers”. Therefore, I would like to suggest if you could also explain how the long tail benefits the “produsers” in one or two sentences, that would be great. In my opinion, the long tail is blurring not only the line between the hit-driven market and the niche market, but also that between the traditional production assembly line of the entertainment industry and the the “produsage”- the rise of participation. Since the internet overcomes the barriers to entry, allows for no economies of scale and no limits on supply, “produsers” can easily distribute their own content across networks, such as social media and Youtube. And thanks to the long tail, though the produsers’ content may not be high-end hits, it is still able to reach a certain amount of audience who can be anywhere in the world. This, as a result, encourages “produsage”.
    Additionally, I totally agree with you that the long tail benefits artists as they no longer have to create music restrained by the mainstream market. I would like to expand this notion a little bit by relating to independent labels and new artists being able to find their niche markets thanks to the long tail. Please take a look at this article for further insights: https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21638142-consumers-reap-benefits-e-commerce-surprising-ways-hidden-long.

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  5. Hey Susie, this post was really cool. I think that Triple J unearthed is a perfect way to demonstrate the long tail effect.
    To me, Triple J Unearthed an adaptation of it’s legacy media counterpart Triple J. Triple J, as a radio station, comes with legacy media’s downfalls such as a high cost of entry and a high level of risk. In adapting to an online environment, where these downfalls don’t apply, what was once radio now operates on a number of different platforms. Although Triple J Unearthed is a good example of one of these platforms, I think your post could have been stronger had you included another example of radio adapting online, and going through the same course of creating mass amateurization a the long tail effect.
    One such example is in podcasts. Recently, Triple J created a podcast specifically for the purpose of being a podcast, not just a recording of the show (as they usually do). Here’s a link to it: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/how-do-you-sleep-at-night/ As with the songs on Triple J Unearthed, this podcast may not necessarily be a part of the mainstream, and has the potential to be a part the podcasting world’s long tail with a number of other niche podcasts.
    Furthermore, here’s an article on how podcasts are overturning radio which you might like: http://www.afr.com/technology/podcasts–the-revolution-overturning-the-old-world-of-radio-20170306-guroho
    Overall, I liked your post a lot. Your meme is fantastic.
    Love Mia.

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