Adam Perry’s iPhone App to Change Music Industry

Last weekend, the Guardian reported on the launch of Adam Perry’s (A and Bloodhound Gang) new iPhone app. But is it really going to change the music market in the way that it needs to?

“[BandApp is] The mini record deal your band has been waiting for.” For a small fee, it works as a record store, marketing department and cameraphone-wielding stalker combined. As Perry puts it, “You can take a picture of the drummer getting out of the shower after the gig, press send, and all of your fans have it on their phones.” Equally, rather than trying to sign five bands in the hope of selling a million records each, he can, without risk, “sign” 100,000 bands, even if they’re only likely to sell 50 records each. [Guardian]

The major problem I see here is the same one facing all long-tail champions. One also mentioned by Seth Godin in a recent post. That is, the challenge to make meaningful revenue on long-tail products increases exponentially with the length of the tail. Apps like Perry’s BandApp need to take on a curator/aggregator role to limit the tail (build some barrier to who can sell content through their network) and assist consumers to discover new products (bands) for themselves.

Like most things, the long-tail as a purest theory, doesn’t work.