Seth Godin’s post, “The (Very) Long Tail,” makes this point (my emphasis added):
The average YouTube video gets five new views every day.
Let’s parse that for a second.
5 billion YouTube plays a day, spread over about a billion videos means that while some videos live in the short head and get millions of views, there are a huge number of videos that get fewer than a single view each day.
At some point, the long tail is so long it ceases to exist.
This makes it hard indeed to rely on persistence alone to find your audience. The buffet line is far too long and the plates aren’t getting any bigger.
The internet gives us infinite shelf space. You can record a song that no music store would stock, but have it available to stream for free (for forever, whatever that means).
There’s an abundance of space to put your art.
The attention to notice it is scarce.
So the mindset shift is not just on what we make, but how we build community around it.
Notice it’s not about distribution. That used to be the bottleneck. What was on TV or on the shelf in the record store or pick your constrained medium – there is is no more captive audience at the other end of the distribution mechanism.
Now everything is everywhere.
Your product or art or whatever your making needs a reason to gather around it. Persistent creation is nothing without persistent community building.
Ps. starting to make YouTube videos and looking at the stats from other friends and professional makers had me feeling really depressed/distressed about this the other week. Seth’s post just appeared in the right place at the right time to remind me where to focus. Thank you for being in my little community here, I take it very seriously.
Any way I can help you with what your working on, or can my community somehow help yours? I’m waiting for you to ask.