Artists are leaving the sinking ship
Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Jamiroquai and even Madonna have something in common. They all decided to turn their backs on the Music Industry and either market their albums directly or - in the case of Madonna - use a company that is not related to the Music Industry.
Those bands are big and could influence others to try the same. I personally think it is time for a change. Bands earn (almost) nothing from record sales which is unexplainable to me. I read a nice essay from a music producer earlier who did produce a Nirvana record who said that while the Music Industry earned more than $1.5 Million from selling CDs the band actually made a minus from that.
I'm not an expert but I can predict that more artists will choose the risk of marketing albums on their own instead of making no money at all from it. The big ones will be first. Those who have enough fans and publicity to be able to do that.
But, musicians at the base are also already using the Internet to sell their records without Music Industry contracts. Marketplaces like eMusic or even Jamendo give them the publicity to reach an audience.
The question that arises is simply: Who needs the Record Companies, especially in times where the Internet is making distribution of music and other forms of art easier than ever. While store sales are still making up a big part of the revenue pie, it is dropping year after year while online sales are increasing in the same time period.