Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine will be lecturing on “The Longer Tail” this Wednesday, November 9, 2:30-4.00pm at the Annenberg Center for Communication, 734 W. Adams Blvd, between Hoover and Figueroa as part of the Networked Publics lecture series which I am involved in organizing.
Anderson will address the cultural impact of The Long Tail, a power-law curve in which a high-frequency population is followed by a low-frequency population. Such distributions are common in culture and in the culture industry in particular (e.g. New York Times Bestsellers versus all other books, the Billboard Top 100 vs. all other CDs, and so on). Traditionally the Long Tail was seen as economically useless. Today, however, mega-retailers such as Amazon.com, Netflix.com and Apple’s iTunes service find that the total volume of the low part of the curve exceeds that of the high part of the curve and even encourage patrons to visit the Long Tail through purchase-based recommendations. This is neither Fordist marketing nor Post-Fordist niche marketing. It is something else entirely and corresponds to a developing cultural condition I have identified as “network culture” or “transcontemporaneity”. Anderson’s lecture will survey the research he is undertaking as the author of the forthcoming book, The Long Tail, which was based on an influential 2004 article he published in Wired. Anderson runs a blog on the subject at https://www.thelongtail.com.