But the rate at which we approached these thresholds and correspondingly how quickly we will move past them is a question of Moore's law. While it may seem as if it took forever to get to this point, innovation will accelerate exponentially. The music industry should take heed of the following: “If you think it's bad now, you ain't seen nothing yet.”
In a little over a decade I could have a copy of every piece of music ever made in human history. Let's say 15 to get vinyl records that won't be converted to CD online.
My prediction (along an entirely different line): the first economist to describe a credible theory of making money in an environment of overabundance will win the Nobel Prize.
Scratch that: the winner will be the first economist to propose what amounts to a potlatch economy to the global scale will be the one to win the Nobel Prize.
Potlatch is a system of giving to obtain social status. It was a system practiced by the Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest (and possibly elsewhere, although I'm only familiar with it in the Pacific Northwest).
It's not the accumulation of wealth that conveys importance to a person or family in a potlatch system, but distribution (or destruction in some cases) of wealth that makes a person or family influential.
This was an actual survival mechanism, those who had the fortune to obtain large amounts of tradable goods would give out to those that were not so fortunate (say, due to flood, drought, or other natural disaster) with the implication that when times turn bad for them, there will be some other “big man” (to borrow a term) to give stuff out.
Note that this is an economic system based upon abundance or overabundance and might be another way for people like musicians to make a living: the more they give away, the more influence they gain.
Something to think about.