I was listening to Out of Time by Blur tonight and it made me realise an implication to the Long Tail that I don’t think has really been discussed.
Out of time from Think Tank bucked the trend of where Blur and Albarn were going. Unlike the band’s ealier records (like girls and boys), pretty much all of that album is uncommercial. It’s pretty difficult listening like the album 13 before it. As Blur matures they’ve become more challenging and, frankly better. The good, the bad and the queen are better still.
But Out of Time isn’t like that, Despite being more challenging and weird than alot of the charts, it’s really catchy and has simple pop motif. So it’s radio friendly and it did pretty well in the charts, reaching No 5 in 2003.
I don’t think the current Albarn records will chart, cool as they are. Partly because they’re a little too complex and partly because, nowadays (!) the charts going to be full of the Beatles! Long-tail reasons of course. But, and here’s where I started with all this, I suspect that Albarn (and the rest of artists affected by this phenomenon) are probably delighted that there music gets judged over the long-term – and very happy to see the back of Top of the Pops and the tyrany of the labels and radio stations.
Clearly consumers benefit from the extension of choice, but I’m interested too to see that it potentially benefits the artists themselves. I think the same could be true for the previously hit-obsessed worlds of film, modelling and (obscurely) politics.
Couple of other bizarre points I noticed working this piece out: Both records mentioned about are now selling on Amazon for under £6. When did the price of records really collapse? This was the band’s first video where none of them appear. Finally (and this is the most weird) this song has it’s own Wikipedia entry.