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The Tail End

December 25, 2012

The internet has changed a lot of things in how quickly we find and consume content; things are consumed in much faster and more viral way. When something goes viral it not only spreads fast but it also disappears fast, music that gains popularity by this means does not generally last for a long period. Gaining a large number of listens quickly can be a good thing but if you lose the long tail of the song it may not be worth it in the end.

At this time the song “Gangnam Style” has just surpassed 1 billion views on youtube and has countless covers, parodies and . Chances are there are few people on facebook or twitter who have not seen this song posted and talked about by a large percentage of the people they are connected to. While all this is great exposure for most people it means they are already tired of the song and chances are that songs like “Gangnam Style” or “Call Me Maybe” won’t be played or listened to in a few years. There is even a chance that down the road no one will remember the song and younger generations won’t have heard it.

Having your content go viral also has the problem for most people of not being able to properly capitalize on it. Assuming you had a song go viral there is a good chance people would want to buy merch relating to it but few people or bands are prepared for this and have the quantities need to fill a rapid but short influx. It is unlikely for anyone not expecting this surge in demand to have an adequate amount of merchandise ready or a proper means to distribute it.

A lack of long tail and longevity in your music can have a major impact on things such as royalties and future placements. While the aforementioned songs are hugely popular and have received a few commercial and placements, songs that have a tail end such as “Born to be Wild”or “Back in Black” still receive placements because they do not get as overplayed as quickly. This means that these songs are still making money where as  those which go viral are unlikely to make much or any money just a few years down the road.

Getting a song you have go viral can be a good thing with proper preparation and if you want an instant but short success. For most bands however creating music and marketing that will have a song last for a longer period of time and create a valuable tail end is the more desirable path to take.

-Hassan

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