the Long Tail model, which was born in March 2004.
[...]I met with a guy named Robbie Vann-Adibé who at the time was running a digital jukebox company called Ecast. During the course of our conversation, Robbie asked me what percentage of his top 10,000 tracks I thought sold at least once per month?
[...]The answer was 98%—that is, 98% of Ecast's top 10,000 tracks sell at least once per month. When I get something this badly wrong—when I have a data point that's just way off the line—I have to ask whether one of two things is true. Either you've got an outlier—meaning (in this case) that there's just something funky about the digital jukebox business—or there's something going on that warrants further investment.
This timeline seems a bit odd to me. Personally, I think I first articulated this in r, K or RIAA?:
[in biology] you'll see a clear distinction between r and K reproductive strategies. I'll summarize briefly - K strategies work in a stable, restricted environment that is near to carrying capacity (eg the Billboard chart and radio playlist, or record shop stock). In this case, the successful strategy is to have few offspring, and invest lots of effort on nurturing them and helping them to survive.
r strategies work in an unpredictable environment where you are not near the carrying capacity of the environment (the Internet). Here the successful strategy is to have huge numbers of offspring with a low investment of effort, let them loose and expect that enough will do well and survive to keep your species going.
If you're a K strategist that finds yourself in an less predictable and less closed environment than you thought, you need to move closer to the r model, and spread your seed more widely. It seems the Record Industry is doing the opposite.
I can understand Chris not reading obscure websites I wrote 3 years ago, but how about Gary Wolf's Wired article in October 2003 which said:
All of Amazon's important innovations - starting from the concept of a Web bookstore - have suggested a profound change in the bookselling business, a change that makes it possible to earn a profit by selling a much wider variety of books than any previous retailer, including many titles from the so-called long tail of the popularity curve. 'If I have 100,000 books that sell one copy every other year,' says Steve Kessel, an Amazon VP, 'then in 10 years I've sold more of these, together, than I have of the latest Harry Potter.'
I think Chris Anderson was editor of Wired at the time.