At the New York Public Library tonight, Chris Anderson (of the Long Tail fame) and Lawrence Lessig had a light debate on the Long Tail theory and some of the aspects of Chris’ assertions.
Among the issues discussed was market versus monopoly influence in network neutrality, the real statistics behind the head and tail of the power law curve, whether there is an increase in production of good in the “tail” or whether the distribution method is changing from niche bookstores, speciality music stores and whatnot to online stores.
I do believe from my own experience that there is growth in the non-mainstream goods market, probably not explosive, but certainly tangible results as more potential customers become aware of the supply.
Both have excellent points, and I don’t beleive Chris’ idea is significantly diminished under Lessig’s scrutiny. Above all else, it helps to encourage my own thoughts on how markets are changing and evolving in the Internet age. We all knew (and many who were Internet-ready before I jumped on in 1990,) that the Internet would blow the doors off conventional publishing and basic communications, and even forward looking folks who anticipated rich media online certainly couldn’t fathom just how both deep and broad the influence of a networked society has become.
Many, many business models and customs are changing as a result of the network. I am very glad to be among the participants and the early times.
I’m off tomorrow, so perhaps I’ll have more time to ruminate about it in peace.