Seth has been talking alot again lately about the Long Tail.
This is something I think that the music industry really needs to re-consider (or, indeed, think about for the first time ... ). With its obsession on chart hits, and the make-or-break mentality that plagues new artists on big labels, the industry has forgotten all about the Long Tail.
Seth hits it right on the head when he points out that the mass market is "where ego meets profit". Its the place where your distributor wants to put your album - where they urge you to increase advertising spend to get racking at HMV or (heaven forbid) Tesco. And where you might be convinced to pitch your music just to satisfy your own ambition.
Music can exist perfectly within the Long Tail. If you have 5000 fans on MySpace, show them the love. Forget about the Top 40. You're in better company with the other artists who are producing genius material but have never had to deal with the tribulations of a souless, unforgiving mass market. And you have the space to make your own music remarkable - without the pressure of conforming to a trend.
Will Page - Chief Economist for MCPS-PRS - disagrees with the theory of the Long Tail being applied to the industry. See what he has to say here.