The music industries woes are really just the aftershocks of a revolution that's already come. The forces they're reeling from have already permanently changed the face of the world that they're living in. They just haven't gotten that memo yet.
Dear RIAA, CRIA, PRS, et al:
I'm sorry your business model is outdated and no longer relevant in the world that we live in today, but you had decades to see it coming (MPEG Layer 3 audio became an ISO standard in 1991, but was invented in the 1980s; for those who are really crazy about these things, the research that led to its inception was completed in 1979). Napster may have been a threat to your business but it was a sign that the tide was turning and that you needed to change your approach. Instead you tightened your grip as more and more sand escaped your fingers.
Now the opportunity to innovate has passed. That call has already been answered by the pirates, and they've won only because you've refused to change how you do things. Why should I pay for a CD when I get less for my trouble, and the free alternative is not only more readily available but also superiour?
I feel the worst for the artists, because they're taking it in the shorts for this. I'm not saying that they're starving because despite all their complaining they're clearly well taken care of (Britney could use a new stylist and life counsellor though... that girl's seen better times). I am merely saying that it's not their fault either that the music industry's business model is trapped in the eighties (actually... let's be honest here: the 1930s).
I will not pay for music twice. I will not repurchase it just to have it in another medium or another format. I will not pay extra to be able to play my music whenever and wherever I please. Because it's mine. I paid for it and it's mine, and if we're talking about information—be it analogue or digital—there are no limits, no chains you can place on it, that will prevent me from exercising my right of fair use. I will enable others to do so, too.
Listen. It's not that "information wants to be free" or any other such anarchist bullshit. It's simply a matter of free market economics. The RIAA and friends have failed at their purpose: to regulate the distribution of musical recordings. Musicians deserve to be compensated for their work if I'm enjoying it, and I gladly pay for the music that I listen to because I enjoy it. But in this Age of Information everywhere I look I'm seeing fewer and fewer walls, fewer and fewer traps in my way, fewer and fewer limits on what can be done—except in the music industry. I'm saying that's crap and if their new business model is to only profit from suing people, then their days of extortion are numbered.
If this is incoherent babbling then forgive me, space cadets, as I'm tired. I sleep now.