Does the Long Tail actually improve quality?

TechCrunch links to an article about whether the Long Tail is really valid and/or valuable.

Although no one disputes the lengthening of the tail (clearly, more obscure products are being made available for purchase every day), the tail is likely to be extremely flat and populated by titles that are mostly a diversion for consumers whose appetite for true blockbusters continues to grow. It is therefore highly disputable that much money can be made in the tail.

(Check out Chris Anderson’s reply, the guy who first talked about the Long Tail concept, here)

The point here is not whether the concept of the Long Tail is valid, it clearly is. The question is what you do with the concept. The question of whether the Long Tail makes money is a bit short-sighted. The question is who is making money: old players vs. new players, big players vs. small players, companies vs. individuals.

I have to wonder if the Long Tail is actually improving the quality of head. Look at the blockbusters of the summer, for instance, and you’ll see an interesting and fairly eclectic collection of content. I have to believe that studios are seeing the way people are generating and responding to Long Tail content and greenlighting projects accordingly.

What do you think? Is the Long Tail just more proof that the head of the Tail is where the real activity happens? Or is the Long Tail a creative catalyst?


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