Michael Wolff suggests that the future of recorded music business will resemble the book business in size, margins and stature:
In other words, there’ll still be big hits (Celine Dion is Stephen King), but even if you’re fairly high up on the music-business ladder, most of your time, which you’d previously spent with megastars, will be spent with mid-list stuff. Where before you’d be happy only at gold and platinum levels, soon you’ll be grateful if you have a release that sells 30,000 or 40,000 units — that will be your bread and butter. You’ll sweat every sale and dollar. Other aspects of the business will also contract — most of the perks and largesse and extravagance will dry up completely. The glamour, the influence, the youth, the hipness, the hookers, the drugs — gone. Instead, it will be a low-margin, consolidated, quaintly anachronistic business, catering to an aging clientele, without much impact on an otherwise thriving culture awash in music that only incidentally will come from the music industry.
via Facing the Music.