Long Tail, short attention

Just in case should you think that the Long Tail is an Urban Legend or Web 2.0 myth, here’s a current example (might be gone next week).

The Axis of Awesome is an Australian rock comedy trio, currently hot on youtube with their 4 chord song (the idea of which isn’t new at all, but it’s fun to see that it still applies). However, if you go down the list to find their second feature “Birdplane”, you’ll notice that it has only one tenth of views compared to the 4 chord song. What’s happening is the coffee break syndrome*: A colleague sends an email with a link or you read it on Facebook, Twitter, whatever — 5 minutes of entertainment and you can join the watercooler gang afterwards because you know what they’re talking about. The attention span has been exceeded, there’s no “Hey, these guys are fun! You got more?”
(* I checked that the term is not taken before I used it to avoid confusion — by the way, the CNO domains are also still up for grabs, the Twitter name too)

The really bad part though is that the album of Axis of Awesome is… nice. It’s not a must-have as far as I go. And that’s their problem. It’s not a challenge anymore, because the product is on the market. They’re fun on video, but I wouldn’t spend € 9 on their album. Or € 6 on the 6 songs I like — I don’t like them enough to persuade myself to buy them.

So one of the questions for someone trying YouTube as a road to fame is: If what you do becomes a hit, how do you translate this success to your product? Meaning: What are the trademarks of (you in) the video that can also be found in the product? How can you emphasize the benefits?


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