Like the 'tipping point', the 'long tail' is a concept that is so obvious and so right that it seems extraordinary that no-one has articulated it before. The Long Tail refers to the hundreds of thousands of products that are not number one bestsellers i.e. all those products that form a line that tails off down any company's sales graph. But in the digital and on-line world, these products are booming precisely because they are not constrained by the demands of a physical retail space. Last autumn, Chris Anderson identified this trend in Wired magazine and called it 'the long tail'. The term has since caught fire in tech and media circles. He says that in an era of almost limitless choice, many consumers will gravitate toward the most popular mass-market items, but just as many will move toward items that only a few, niche-market people want. Take music in an age of Amazon.com and iTunes. A lot of music buyers want the hot new releases. But just as many buy music by lesser-known artists or older music ÃÂ¢ÃÂÃÂ songs that record stores never would be able to carry but that can be offered online. All that small-market, niche music makes up the long tail. Until the past few years, mass-market entertainment ruled the industry. In this new digital era, the long tail is a new and powerful force. First published 2006.