The ‘Long Tail’ and Mobile Music

The recent Popkomm conference in Berlin demonstrated that mobile music has yet to take advantage of the ‘long tail,’ Wired reports, but that it’s probably because the wireless carriers aren’t embracing the kinds of open standards that are common in desktop-based Web 2.0 efforts.

The ‘long tail’ is Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson’s theory that companies can succeed by selling limited quantities of vast amounts of lesser-known media (e.g. Netflix, Amazon) in addition to selling millions of copies of a few hit products.

An example of the trouble mobile music is running into is 24/7 Entertainment; the CEO said at the conference that while the company offers a catalog of 4.5 million tracks, fully 66 percent of them haven’t been purchased even once. On the other hand, an eMusic managing director said, “Three quarters of eMusic’s entire four million track catalog sells at least once every year—or, to put it another way, we sell more than 50 percent of our catalog at least once every quarter.” Check out the full article; lots of good stuff in this one.