Apparently some recording artists, such as Wierd Al, are getting a raw deal when it comes to digital music downloads. Digital Music Weblog points out that Weird Al is most likely making 85% less income when people purchase his tracks online, as opposed to purchasing a physical CD (which includes the cd, liner notes, and jewel case). I’m sure Wierd Al is only one of many getting a wierd deal.
In a world with online distribution, on-the-fly kiosk cd creation, and the ability to produce and master an audio and video on a home computer (PC or Mac), you’ve gotta start wondering when already popular artists are going to wise up and take production and distribution into their own hands. Beyond that, they could join together and form organizations which would handle these operations as well for lesser known artists. While some record labels are slowwwwwly getting a clue and hiring folks like Ethan Kaplan to improve their use of technology, they are still dinosaurs and will continue to fight extinction until their very last breath.
In some ways, it would be interesting to see the results of online piracy expanding to a bone crushing weight. What would happen when the record labels go under? As well, what is the breaking point at which that would happen? Would artists emerge with production and distribution models of their own? I highly doubt that music will cease to exist on earth simply because an outdated industry, which has been around for less than 100 years, vanishes.