"Welcome to the Internet" Jo77? I think you may be getting a bit carried away. Ceratinly MP3 is a potential marketing problem for the record companies, but where there's a dollar there's a way, capitalist pigs that they are. But, even in the US I'm sure that the number of people who buy cassettes/CD's is orders of magnitude greater than those who have access to the internet. I know that "ecommerce" is the in buzz word, but amongst my colleagues and acquantancies who all use the internet extensively for research, only one ot two have actually bought anything from a commercial organization via the internet (Book stores seem the most common, and they're not making money). It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I believe that the internet as a communication medium is inimical to commerce, as no matter what you do, there is always someone who will do it better for free, just to make a point. Pure advertising may work, I don't know, I have developed a fairly sensitive "advert filter" over the years, and probably don't qualify as the average "target audience".
The real success, and I think the future of the internet, is still in my opinion its original purpose, to share information, and sites like the 'Cat are leading the field in this area, not dragging behind.
I do agree with you that MP3 and the internet will allow far more people to publish their performances than ever before, but that does not mean everyone, a mixer/ mikes / computer still costs a lot more dosh than most people have to spare even in developed countries; nor is quality (or folk) likely to increase in proportion to the quantity available.
One final point, I would agree with Dick that the information booklet with the LP / cassette / cd is an integral part of our enjoyment not a bolt on extra, and the last thing I want to do at the end of the day spent looking at a scren for work is to stare at it some more when I could have a printed version.