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Is The Tail Really Long? New Study Says P2P Primarily Peddles The Hits

LONDON (Hypebot) – A new study by UK licensing body PRS and internet music activity tracker Big Champagne says that the top songs listed on the traditional charts are also the most popular on the file-sharing networks. "After taking into account some geographic differences, the top of the many music charts, from licensed and unlicensed venues, are markedly similar," says the study. "Much of the volume (sales or swaps) is concentrated amongst a small proportion of the available tracks."

The authors of the study believe that there findings disprove Chris Anderson's Long Tail which postulated that the internet would mean more exposure and sales for niche product and less for the hits. "We are yet to see a big hit or wildly popular release in the pirate market that was not also a top seller in the licensed market," said Big Champagne CEO Eric Garland. The study goes on to recommend the licensing of P2P as a way for labels to capture some revenue.

Just because the top of the tail looks the same as traditional sales charts, does it freely follow that the rest of the tale will as well? More importantly, how many artists can be found in the middle or even near the end of the tail that would not have been left in obscurity prior to the internet?