book hack

The Long Tail

Chris Anderson

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

The Long Tail explains why the big commercial hit is dead, how businesses will generate most of their future revenue from a long tail of niche products, and what we can do to embrace this idea today.


The Long Tail

The Long Tail

by Chris Anderson


Are you familiar with the 80/20 principle? The principle suggests that, in almost all areas, 20% of the input gets you 80% of the results. For example, 20% of the material will get you 80% of the points in an exam, just like 20% of your study time will be where you learn 80% of what you set out to memorize.

It's also a very prevalent notion in business, one that Chris Anderson, editor of WIRED magazine from 2004-2012, thoroughly embraced – until he found out that he was wrong. Doing a pop quiz at an early music streaming service, Anderson guessed that of their top 10,000 tracks, only 20% would be played in any given month – but it turned out to be 99%. This sudden revelation turned into an article in WIRED magazine, which then turned into The Long Tail.

Favorite quote

Up until now, the focus has been on dozens of markets of millions, instead of millions of markets of dozens.

- Chris Anderson

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