The major labels we know, like Capitol and Sony BMG will inevitably break up into smaller, more independent labels with much fewer signed musicians. Many of these will rely on the internet—probably downloading—for their advertising. As that happens, consumers and artists will see a leveling of the playing field, so to speak. No longer will there be the ultra-popular, multi-platinum pop stars. Jazz and classical music will be just as available as rock and pop and consumers will be exposed to new artists.
The shift is happening now, of that there is no doubt. For the artists and music, this is a great thing. The shift away from the big business side of music will hopefully bring out some of the too-often-ignored artistic side. As the huge, conglomerate record companies of old collapse into new business models, executives will be forced out of their comfort zones. Struggling to stay in business, their focus will necessarily shift from manipulating the artists and making the most money possible, to staying fresh and interesting in this new, exciting scene.