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January 03, 2006


Barry Ritholtz

The short answer: when they fail to recognize change.

Longer answer: they not only fail to recognize change, but ignore it, than deny it exists, than resists change, and ultimately fights to hang on to the old ways until their dying breath.

That's an industry in deep, deep shit.




wake up and embrace the web, it's too late to try to fight it.

Jim Rockford

My counter-argument is that it's not the long tail, but management and content (think Detroit and bad cars) that's at play here.

Plenty of people show up for Spider-Man, Passion (ugh not my movie but people liked it, their money is as green as anyone elses), LoTR. Not so much for Squid and the Whale. Movies core business is entertainment and like Detroit they forgot it. Not the web's fault.

Plenty of folks listen to Howard Stern on Sirius. They listened before on broadcast. Not my kind of radio but he's got fans. Lots of them.

U2 can sell albums and pack arenas. Same for a few other acts. The same androgynous, sort of angry young droning guy acts not so much.

Newspapers? Well you got me there.

Counterargument is that all these high cost, mass-market media are trying to act like the Web, offering specialized and small audience content instead of a mass-audience approach. In all cases a big profitable audience is traded for a small, unprofitable one with a high cost structure by an irresponsible managment.

Gary Crabbe

Wow, I wonder if these other industries are screaming as loud as the stock photography industry? Micropayment sites have popped up like an outbreak of chicken pox. We have tons of amateur photographers flooding into the market. Most seem like they have never previously thought to become, or have the real business skills to be true professionals. It is for certain that they don't understand that their content could and should have some "real" value. Instead, they are happy to sell all rights to their work for as little as $0.20 USD for the thrill of knowing someone downloaded & used their photo. I describe these sites as "Places where photographers who don't value their work, meet and sell pictures to clients that don't value photography."

It feels like the tail wagging the dog. Does Wired feel this? Do you see people asking why they should pay for content when so many other places are happy to give it away for free, or practically nothing?

And yes, there are many, perhaps myself included, that fight the change, as Barry mentions. For me it's about trying to retain some sense of "Value" and using what I create to be able to feed my family, not just buy a new lens once a year...

Cheers, & Big Happy Smiley Faces to Everyone in the Universe...

john thorat

did it ever occur to anyone that the value of these things was never supposed to be money? that for a hundred thousand years everyone made music and wrote poetry and sang and danced for the pure enjoyment of it? but that they all had a day job where they created real value for society, i.e. did the chores that needed to be done, and that's what people were willing to pay them for? today, those chores are plentiful, mostly oriented around scientific solution-building to ancient, complex problems. perhaps society will recalibrate so that everyone contributes to the real chores to be done, and then everyone gets to play, as well, with music, filmmaking, etc. and the latter will become, once again, art for art's sake, which is quite a rush if you do it well.

orrin fredrickson

I agree with the previous comment. I'm a filmmaker and musician, but both of these activities are pure play for me, like snowboarding. I don't need or expect to be paid for them any more than I would expect to be paid to go sailing. In addition, I'm heading back to school to study genetic engineering in order to effect real change in this world. All play and no work makes Jack a drug addict, which is why poets and musicians struggle so much. They know they aren't contributing to society in a truly meaningful way. All work and no play makes life boring, which is why we all need to balance our existence between the two, and forget about media companies and making money off of art. Do it for the pure joy, as you would get from any other 'play' activity.

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The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!