This is more like it. Maybe the assholes don't always win, and it is possible to thrive as a self-respecting artist in a predominantly online environment. It's just that now you don't have to answer to The Suits; you have to answer to your fans...over and over again.
I've been thinking that the future for musicians might lie in touring. While I've noticed record stores growing more empty by the month, live shows are as popular as ever. People are still really gung-ho about going out and rocking out. The Net may be a lousy music-delivery system (to my Luddite POV), but it's a fantastic environment in which to promote yourself. I'd say more than half the shows I attend I read about on Blabbermouth or some forum or other. Half-full rooms are a rarity these days, and post-show scrums around the merch table are pretty common.