There seems to me to be a growing disparity between the music industry and the people creating music.
There are now more people making better music than ever before due to the number of tools being available and the general accessibility of multitrack recording software/sequencers/looping. Further, we now have global distribution available to us at our desktop. No longer are we forced into signing record contracts to get access to either studios or distribution or anything... anyone can do it themselves and regularly do. However, the upper tip of the music industry pyramid is still chugging away using the same old models.
In fact, it seems that the separation is expanding. The hits machine is staying the same or shrinking while the base is growing. While it may be difficult to pick up if you just listen to mainstream music, I think it is clear that there is more music being generated today than every before and much of that is completely separate from the Music Industry Inc.
My theory is that eventually it will just usurp the Music Industry entirely - and probably when least expect it (ie. soon). Once enough music is being generated outside of the Machine that is of high enough quality and is easier to access than the music being provided by the Machine - we'll just start buying direct.
You want some examples? How about AOL? It used to make sense for a large group of people to use a service to get them access to online sites. It also made sense for those sites online to engage with AOL to provide access via their services. Eventually we all grew up, Google came along to provide good search and voila - we all could directly access the Internet without having a filter.
On a similar though different slant, I expect the same will happen with a lot of things. Seems a somewhat similar disconnect is happening in finance as we have the lower portion of the pyramid of incomes financing the multi gajillionaires and huge banks at the top via mutual funds and investments (and tax funded bailouts, but I digress). Eventually us suckers in the middle & lower class will be either a) broke or b) wise enough to see that our money is going directly into the money clips of a few and the party will be over for the top.
How about politics? There is currently a complete disconnect between the top and general public. I mean, its clear that the vast majority of the population is either not in agreement with the leaders or is not at all interested in what is going on. Look at the Tea Party. Not that I agree with their politics, but you have to admit that they are a huge grassroots movement in the States. If only us in the silent liberal types could organize.... but that would mean I'd have to put down my bottle of wine. Perhaps next week ;-) Again, I digress....
Ah, perhaps this is all wishful thinking. Perhaps it has always been this way and always will be.
There is no progress or future point when we win, its just an mirage created to keep us all moving forward.