What if the star-making ability of the record labels and their Recording Industry Association of America lackey were disintermediated? Suppose that rather than payola and heavy rotation, people learned of promising acts and music through viral marketing? What happens if anti-pirating technology is found to violate copyright fair use doctrine? A preview is found here on news.com.com: Indie music riding the digital surge . And Barry Ritholtz offers his insight on the relationship between good music and record sales with Music Industry Spinning DRM Tales from his blog The Big Picture. As Groucho might muse - besides the improvement, you'll never notice the difference.
Still, signs of the Internet's growing influence are beginning to be felt in a variety of ways, musicians say. Listener recommendations, online preview clips and samples, shared playlists and other grassroots tools are bringing more knowledge and choice to consumers than ever before. That trend could one day reduce the percentage of music sales currently controlled by a handful of heavily promoted acts and boost recognition for a greater number of less-popular artists.