What's destroying the Record industry?
I'm fairly certain it's not piracy (although I don''t think piracy helps).
No, I think that there are several factors helping destroy the record industry.
1) Formula bands: The music industry is always looking for the right formula for the "next big thing". This means they produce a lot of bands with very little to distinguish themselves from other bands. We've had all-girl pop bands, all-boy pop bands (all singers), now we seem to have a plethora of guitar based bands. Not all of these bands are bad, but most are, and, IMO, it is putting a lot of people off of music.
2) Reality show bands/singers: The problem with these is that while they are often talented, they all produce the same formula music (usually ballads). Another problem is that often, they don't have a lot of experience of performing live. This is a problem because often, as part of the prize, they get a tour. They then have to perform in front of thousands of people when they are only used to a few. This leads to boring performances. A good singer/band will have spent years performing in small clubs and pubs, and learned from those experiences (even the bad ones).
3) Compilations: At the moment, pretty much any single that hits the charts will be in at least one compilation. In the mainstream at least, why would people spend either 79p (or £3.99 for CD) on a single when they can get that one and 40 others for a tenner?
4) Firing artists too early: Recently (basically from the late 90's), quite a few record companies have been dropping artists who haven't reached No. 1 on their second or third single. They should be giving the artist's adequate time to learn and develop their own style. It's interesting to note that Madonna (arguably one of the biggest selling artists in the last 30 years) would probably have been dropped if the record companies then operated as they do now.