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"Bringing Together Educators and Leaders of the Music and Entertainment Industries"

Journal of the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association

Volume 10, Number 1 (2010)

Stephen Marcone
William Paterson University


In 2004, Chris Anderson published an article titled: The Long Tail and later a book in which he theorized that in a market of virtual shelf space (hence the digital world), slower moving product such as deep catalog titles, less popular genres, and indie releases can collectively equal or outsell the best-selling titles. This theory has met much controversy and many have questioned its validity. The purpose of this paper is to determine the effect of the Long Tail on the music industry. It will be determined what effect the long tail has had on the music business and its relationship to Nielsen SoundScan statistics. The conclusion will also include several different opinions as to what can be determined as an effect of the Long Tail and what remains questionable.

Keywords: Long Tail, Chris Anderson, Nielsen SoundScan, virtual shelf space, deep catalog, hit songs, music sales

Marcone, Stephen. “Is the Long Tail Really Wagging?” Journal of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association 10, no. 1 (2010): 99-104.

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