Napster allowed people to hear what they are going to buy before they buy it. The result is that good indie records are selling more copies, and bad major-label records are selling less.
Despite what the RIAA would have you believe, the shifts the industry has witnessed haven’t been a matter of quantity so much as they’ve been a matter of quality. People are making their purchasing decisions less on the basis of hype and blind faith, and more on the basis of what they actually enjoy listening to.
And that has really screwed up the trend-driven marketplace it took the major labels more than 40 years to perfect.
LA Weekly article via Gen Kanai