A big feature on Rick Rubin and Columbia in the New York Times is an insight not only into someone trying to pull the record industry out of it's taildive but also into an industry that sees the way out of that taildive is to screw either (or both) the consumer who they plan to lease music to rather than allow them to own music and/or the artist who they intend to screw even more money out of and give them even less chance of getting out of the debt that the record industry puts anyone but the most successful artists into...
You would subscribe to music. You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television.
Barnett has other ideas, which he is discussing with Rubin. For instance, asking Columbia artists to give the record company up to 50 percent of their touring, merchandising and online revenue.
The future of music requires a downsizing of the expectations of the artist. The (major) record labels exist because they offer the naive and the foolish (mostly) unachievable wealth and success. The fact is that if artists, rather than chase hopeless dreams, concentrated on making music and making a living making music then there would be a lot more successful artists.
While I accept Rubin's statement that if "music [was] easily available at a price of five or six dollars a month, then nobody [would] steal it", I don't see how the "subscription model" that he (and other industry people) are peddling can be considered anything but telling the consumer "you can't be trusted with our music". If the industry continues to treat consumers as untrustworthy is it any wonder that consumers turn their back on the industry.
If the future of the industry is concentrating, as it seems to be, on nothing but the future of the industry and not considering the future of music and the needs of the consumer and the artist, then is it any wonder that it is struggling. When the current greedy industry finally dies things will surely be better.