Music isn't really dead. It's actually more alive than ever. There are so many new bands and channels in which to find them now, that I don't even know what I just listened to half the time. It's usually at this point that I just go listen to Mr. Bungle or something to clear my head.
The fact of the matter is, music isn't just the song. It's the entire experience of owning a piece of art. I always tell myself this story in my head when thinking about buying a CD or LP of something I might already own, through shared files or a promo with no artwork: A friend of mine in Florida gave me a burned copy of "You Fail Me" by metalcore originators Converge, in 2004, days before it hit the streets. I only wanted it to check it out, then to go purchase it from an INDIE retailer on street date. The thing is, the CD wasn't very good at all. It was just the disc, no track listing, no artwork, nothing. It was empty. I listened to it once and threw it away.
Fast forward to late 2006, I got in a mood for some Converge and decided to buy "You Fail Me". The artwork and packaging are simply outstanding. Check out their merch and LP's at www.convergecult.com. I found myself liking the record. Now mind you, this is an aquired taste. They are brutal, fast and sickening...But I like it. A change from my Seattle-style leanings. Was it the complete package of the packaging, artwork, lyrics, everything? I'd like to think so.
Getting to the point, Internet radio, MySpace, Pure Volume, etc, are all fantastic ways to hear new music and for emerging artists to be heard and to have success in places that weren't available minutes prior. I just think that music right now is over-saturated and THAT is one of the reasons the record industry is slumping, not just illegal downloading (although it's killing it slowly).
I always tell everyone to support indie music stores and to support new bands...It's just that thanks to these easy channels, anyone can make a record and that is something that shold be reserved for something noteworthy, not some emo garbage out of a 15 year-olds' basement in Union, New Jersey.