Friday, August 25, 2006

It's Crumbelievable: Colbert's Long Tail

Stephen Colbert's show, the Colbert Report, has gotten amazingly smart. The other night, he ran segments titled "It's Crumbelievable," focusing on today's pop culture and how it's much more fragmented today thanks to falling costs of production and distribution.

He talked about the commercials that used to define American culture, and how the top-rated show has fallen from 62% of all viewers (I Love Lucy, in 1950), to just 25% (CSI, today). He also discussed OK Go's phenomenal videos (Google Video), but Colbert made the point to highlight the variety of user-created content reusing them.

There's no one band we all love, no one newsman we can all trust/believe is a subversive. There's not even one video game, where we all close our eyes, we can still see the shapes falling.

The greatest danger to pop culture today is the Internets [sic]. Hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed celebrities grab for the brass ring of our attention...
Colbert's segments further proclaim the virtues of Chris Anderson's principle of the Long Tail, and how it keeps getting flatter. Now that content creators can circumvent the control of the music industry (video, publishing, games, etc.) using the newer democratic tools of production, we'll get to see a lot more creativity that people actually want to see, as clearly evidenced by the fan-created OK Go videos.

(Update: Thanks Chris Anderson! I'm glad you liked the segment too!)


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