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By Laurie Jakobsen

Blockbusters by Anita Elberse

I’m almost finished reading Anita Elberse’s “Blockbusters,” and for everyone about to get on the plane for the Grammys, NAMM, Midem – download this book now. Elberse, a Harvard professor whose research debunked Chris Anderson’s “long tail” t­­heory about consumer behavior and the internet, gives us a solid read on why the digital economy has amplified the big hits, making the overall entertainment industry – including sports – focus on the superstars. I had the book in my mind when I heard David Bakula of Nielsen give this stat on Music Biz’s “Common Ground” webinar last week: take away the top two albums of 2013, and sales of #3-200 would have been up a tiny bit, .8%. But because Justin Timberlake and Eminem’s albums did not sell as much as the top two in 2012 – Adele and Taylor Swift – overall sales were down 8.4%. That’s the power of the blockbuster.

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