Because the long-run success of a song depends so sensitively on the decisions of a few early-arriving individuals, whose choices are subsequently amplified and eventually locked in by the cumulative-advantage process, and because the particular individuals who play this important role are chosen randomly and may make different decisions from one moment to the next, the resulting unpredictability is inherent to the nature of the market. It cannot be eliminated either by accumulating more information — about people or songs — or by developing fancier prediction algorithms, any more than you can repeatedly roll sixes no matter how carefully you try to throw the die.
Justin Timberlake – Culture – Hollywood – Idea Lab – New York Times
Very cool article about examining how to predict “big hits” in pop culture. The author’s references are primarily from a research study he did setting up an online music source and different controlled areas to track whetehr other user’s choices impacted whether an unknown artists songs succeeded or not.
I especially like the insistance on the role of early adopters and how their early remarks only grow influence with time. I take that as an underscore to habit of appealing to the early adopters, whetehr they are in an industry or the existing fan base.
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