Greed dealt the death blow.
Mine may easily the 5,002,428th Point of View on this topic, but I still haven't forgotten when Madonna released her 'Erotica' album. Maverick Records tried to charge upwards of $21.99 for that retchid beer coaster. Now, they cry poverty, as more and more consumers become just computer savvy enough to download Limewire or utilize Isohunt.
How bad is it? Just think 'In Rainbows' by Radiohead.
Yes, a couple years have passed since the original Karma Police's online 'experiment'. But, to be fair, they already had the money, the fame, and the critical recognition. Going forward, without a significant change in federal copyright law and more importantly, a significant effort to enforce piracy, albums will essentially disappear, and bands will simply stream music to fans online. Singles will take over in a digital download envirnoment. And, the cost structure of the music industry will continue evolving into the hell we now refer to as LIVENATION.
A fucking Alkaline Trio concert ticket will cost $1000 clams and a Moby t-shirt will cost $100, but hey, the music itself will be free. All the 'We Are All Made of Stars' you want, beamed right into your iPhone, iPod, or other iMedia. As Bono was quoted “Only very, very honest people still pay for music, now.
Get ready for a hell of a ride people, because it's all changing. Many times faster than we are prepared for.