If the RIAA shrinks down to a minimal number of middlemen from lack of money (I guess those people would go to work in regular finance or something their skills would apply for), is this enough to keep the world's musicians able to make new songs and live in modest comfort?
How many people does it actually take to record a decent sounding album? I had the impression, from my friends with their amateur semi-pro bands, that it just takes a few. You need the musicians, some instruments, and a booth in a place with cheap rent that has good mics and that special stuff in the walls. Then a computer and a few thousand bucks worth of gear (including the mics) to convert the sound to digital, and a (usually pirated) copy of that software that lets you mix the tracks.
1 billion from youtube, plus a few more billion from direct sales and from the movie industry does sound like it ought to keep a few thousand artists in business. Enough to make more new songs than we can ever individually or collectively listen to. Am I right?