The point was that musicians need to make enough money to make a living recording and performing. For an amateur musician like myself, a few bucks on the side from web sales is fine. For someone like Trent - or any other aspiring musician - it's not. They have to pay rent, bills, car payments, et cetera just like the rest, and if they're not signed to a label they have to pay studio time, engineer time, duplication, distribution, promotion, etc., as well. A few bucks here and there just isn't enough. If your margins are thin - like they are in a major label deal - then quantity is your only solution. Alternately, you have to sell at a significant enough markup to break even, which is higher than you think.
I'm not commenting on the quality of the product - I'm making a commentary on the ability of a musician to actually make a living (without being constantly broke) pursuing their craft.
I'm also not interested in discussing at length the benefits or lack thereof of a quality producer, recording engineer, PR net, promo team, or anything else. They have their ups and downs, and that is vastly outside the scope of this discussion.
Yes, music that was recorded for a few hundred bucks with the boys from the block can be astonishing. And yes, music produced with millions of dollars supplied by labels can suck. But it works the other way around, too.
The industry isn't going anywhere, not really. Most people don't want to have to dig to find new music (once they leave their teens and early twenties); they want to be fed content by the gatekeeper of their choice. That gatekeeper used to be radio. Not it's video games, movie soundtracks, and Pitchfork Media (God help our souls). Shifting, transforming, reinventing, yes. But the BUSINESS of the music BUSINESS will never go away.
PS - What do you think that bowling alley-turned-venue is? It's a business, out to make money. Its manager will primarily book bands s/he thinks will sell the most tickets/cover charges/drinks, not the ones he loves.