The Long Tail
The sales data and trends from these services (Netflix, iTunes) and others like them show that the emerging digital entertainment economy is going to be radically different from today’s mass market. If the twentieth-century entertainment industry was about hits, the twenty-first will be equally about niches.
For too long we’ve been suffering the tyranny of lowest-common-denominator fare, subjected to brain-dead summer blockbusters and manufactured pop. Why? Economics. Many of our assumptions about popular taste are actually artifacts of poor supply-and-demand matching – a market response to inefficient distribution.