“When music fans can say, ‘I have all the music from 1950-2010, do you want a copy?’ — what kind of business models will be viable in such a reality?”
Nice quote from one of the founders of the piratebay.
He has a very good point though. Music is now worthless. More music exists than you could possibly listen to. Why should you buy new music?
Before we go off into "freeconomics", it should be remembered that the rights-holders have an incentive to maximise their profits. They want to preserve the status quo.
its a little like DVDs. A cheaper way to distribute films comes along, so they nark prices up. Downloading is no different.
Last-fm offers a zero cost distribution platform coupled with a zero cost Marketing platform. Problem for the record companies is that the profit will be lower due to lower revenue per recording.
My opinion is that the recording companies need to appreciate they need much lower costs in order to operate in the new Environment. Why employ salespeople to sell something that is individually worthless?