It’s coming- and if you are a middleman in the content delivery system, watch out. To define middlemen: record labels, movie studios, television networks (cable, broadcast, pay-per-view)- the people who come between the content producers - and their audience. The only people who will still be able to profit from this are the quality aggregator distributors like the Apple iTunes store, Amazon and probably Google (who may or may not - own the online world in the near distant future).
Read the link above- to find out how an unknown, small time singer, gave a concert to 70,000 people from her basement. Even if this was a set-up by a label, there are enough nerdy music geeks out there that can figure out how to do this on their own.
Sandi Thom now has a number one UK single- just recently the hip-hop band Gnarls Brakley have a UK number 1 hit purely from downloads.
Music is driven by word-of-mouth and the preferences of the “early adopters/ innovators”- more so than other product or service categories. If you are trying to build a brand quickly- using good webstrategy can get you to the top quicker than conventional media. If you don’t believe it, go ask Sandi Thom.