A new filesharing study claims to refute the “Long Tail” theory made famous by Chris Anderson, arguing that (at least in the p2p world) downloading patterns strongly resemble those in the world of mainstream hits. “Consumers are still driven to seek the same music in legal and illegal markets”, explains the report, from Eric Garland, CEO of p2p analyst BigChampagne, and Will Page, chief economist at UK collecting society PRS For Music. “The most swapped files were also the most downloaded on legal music sites, indicating that what’s popular is popular”, continues the report, which claims that filesharing actually demonstrates “a very hit-heavy, skinny tail profile.”Says Garland: “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.”One note of caution we would sound is that the Long Tail wasn’t all about piracy – the initial thesis was that digital / internet technology allowed a long tail of extended media consumption as compared to the offline world where there is limited shelf space. The Page and Garland report seems to acknowledge this notion by stating that 13 million unique files were shared at least once, though they argue that the “head” of hits is still larger.The full report is available here

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