This statistic on record business revenue is astounding at first glance.
Ninety percent of the revenues in the record business come from ten percent of the songs.
Then I thought about it though. And maybe it’s not that crazy after all.
For any business looking for success in the long-tail will be subject to some of these numbers.
It’s not actually THAT far off of the Parteto Principle.
And it’s probably not that far of of the analytics of this blog…
You can have 10,000 blog post nobody cares about. You can have 1,000 songs that fell flat. And you can have 10 business failures.
But one single success in any of these can change your life.
Of course, there have been swings in popular taste over Davis’s career. The pure pop center he aims for has periodically been purged by new, edgier styles, which, in turn, eventually become absorbed into the mainstream too, usually on a ten-year cycle. Teen tastes, which pop music has historically served, are the most fickle of all. But through all the cyclical changes, there have always been hits. Hits are the strait gate through which all the money, fame, and buzz passes on its way to heaven. Ninety percent of the revenues in the record business come from ten percent of the songs.
-John Seabrook, The Song Machine