These are two really good articles about where the music industry needs to go, back into the hands of the musicians and out of the hands of cranky old men.
Like IDR stated in the comments, hit the NIN site and read Trent’s experience with self distribution so far.
It’s not the shiny, happy utopia that one might think. But I never stated it would be and neither did David Byrne. There are several (as David counts 6) ways of doing the distribution thing. There is NO Silver Bullet that will take down the record company monopoly and free the artists and the music…not yet anyway. It’s gonna be a lot of trial and error, great ideas and horrible ideas, good luck and shit luck. It’ll probably be ten times harder than just signing your life away to the record company. But down the road, when the times have changed, when the freedom is realized, THAT is when it’ll be worth it. Trent, Saul, David, Thom, and the hundreds of small artists/groups already doing this are the trailblazers. They are opening the way to the future.