This All About Jazz article, The Impact of the Global Digital Music Economy on the Music Business Paradigm, has some interesting looks at the new music biz. One point he makes about digital distribution is accountability to the artist.
Today, it is literally impossible to verify or truly audit these types of B2B transactions. Artists must “take the word” of the intermediary digital distributor business where sales figures and earnings are concerned.
This really isn’t that different than the old days of a label reporting how many albums they sold, as opposed to how many “broke” or were returned or whatever.
The article has some other better points. i agree with his basic premise that the new music biz is all about artist empowerment and artist control of production and distribution.