Monday morning – back from the Vancouver Folk Fest (I’ll blog about that tonight).
I’m catching up on some reading while listening to last Friday night’s archived KEXP radio show from DJ Michele Myers.
I’m spending some time reading the latests posts Chris Anderson’s Long Tail blog – Chris really hits the nail on the head in his post titled Brands – Think People, Not Products.
So, in a Long Tail market, the brands that matter most are the tastemakers. These are the filters you trust, who point you to the niche (or mainstream) stuff you wouldn’t have found on your own. And because you trust them, you’re willing to follow their recommendations, voyaging down the tail with confidence. In the Long Tail, great filters become brands.
Rings true to me – why am I listening to Michele’s show? Because I trust her as a filter to point me to music I will like – and that’s the value of having an outlet like KEXP, where her high-quality personal taste can come through so clearly. That’s very different from most radio or other mainstream media, where the choice of what goods are exposed is very tightly controlled – what Chris would call a classic Short Tail model.
I call the people who act as these kinds of filters “curators” – they can pick through a huge amount of stuff and decide which items are the most relevant to show to illustrate various points about the art – just like those folks who build up museum shows. And the web allows these curators to add additional value by adding additional comment, and it allows us audience members to further enrich the content and turn it into a conversation. Now that’s cool!