When I was attempting to write for mass market, I managed to contact a few of the larger publishers - and were all told the same thing:
If I knew someone in their current stable who could vouch for me, and was willing to take the hit if my books bombed - they'd sign me. If not, they weren't signing new talent - with or without an agent. Sorry, wasn't happening.
Of course, I knew some people in some places - and if push came to shove - I could get published by some place like Tor or Harlequin (if I wanted to write love novels) but their contracts for new writers was indentured servitude (mostly); and they would NOT even review your materials if you EVER published anything through a Publish-on-Demand publisher or self-published. Ever.
It really put a damper on my writing - and I am just now starting to recover to the point of wanting to write again - mostly because I know if I want to put a story out there, I don't have to turn to these people anymore - there ARE now other avenues to get my stories out there, and I don't have to sign my life away to get exposure. If the world of back-room deals to get published is coming to an end, I welcome it with open arms and wild enthusiasm.