Andrew, I can't be sure if you're deliberately playing devils advocate, but you seem to have misinterpreted what I said just enough that you seem to be arguing with me, yet at the same time supporting what I've said
I didn't use the word justice at any point in my original post. Sticking it in quotation marks suggests that you either haven't read my post, or are answering the questions you think I should've asked. Ever considered a career as a cabinet minister?
"Independents just want access to markets and capital - you're not suggesting quotas are you?"
I'm not sure how you would get the idea I was suggesting quotas from my post but hey ho, I guess that's why I'm not a respected technology journalist. No, I wasn't suggesting quotas, what I was suggesting was that the record industry largely exists to produce, promote and distribute music, a role that thanks to technology in general and the internet in particular, is largely redundant. Most people now posess the ability to record music and distribute it over the internet. Shows can be easily promoted by the bands themselves without the need for a promoter as all bands worth their salt will now have a Facebook page, a Myspace page and a Twitter feed at the very least, to send information about gigs to anyone interested. They don't NEED a middleman (charging an arm and a leg) to do this for them. There are also excellent independent local recording studions (I can think of 3 within a 10 mile radius of me) that are desperate for business, but because they're not affiliated with a major label, no one wants to use them, as it's not a guarantee of success. For all their size, major labels still only have a finite amount of money to invest, and it will be invested in the safest option, eg bland unioriginal and uninspired drivel for the teenage girl market, as that will guarantee the biggest return on investment. Independent music that caters to niche interests gets ignored, they do a good enough job promoting themselves using the methods outlined above, but while the market is still dominated by an outdated business model they will never be as successful as they could be. Removing the distribution companies (and I've outlined above why this is very possible nowadays) means more money is available to the indies, just like you wanted, and would allow people to "talent spot" (as you put it) genuine talent, rather than major label crap that has given us *shudder* jedward.
"People use the same logic when pinching sweets from WH Smiths"
I'm sure they do, but that wasn't the point I was making. Overlooking the "downloading music isn't the same as theft" arguement for a minute, because I think we can both agree, it's a pretty tired one, my point was that people only have a limited amount of money to spend on entertainment these days. The distribution companies arguement seems to be that you HAVE to buy this as a physical medium (CD), even though you know that a digital copy would be a fraction of the cost, and the CD is going to be converted to a digital format anyway (I accept this may not be true for everyone, but it's true for enough people to still make a legitimate arguement) How is that fair? I cannot think of any other area of life where this would be accepted, the market would shift to the cheapest possible altrernative and the company refusing to modernise would go bust. There are very few, if any, industries that have to demand legislation to protect their business models. (I know there are download services available, but their in the early stages and the cost per track seems to be Cost of CD/Number of tracks on CD rather than any reflection of costs involved).
This arguement about the cost of music has been rumbling on for a very long time. I can remember when I was in school and CD's had just become a viable medium, they cost almost half as much again as the tapes and LP's they were replacing, yet cost a fraction of the cost to manufacture (I recall a figure of 10p a CD, but that could have been schoolyard grumbling) I know there's the issue of better quality, but I was under the impression that in a free market economy things should be priced at Cost of Production + Cost of Distribution + Fair Margin for Producer. This has never been reflected in costs for the consumer, and the internet has highlighted this hypocrisy even more.
"There's also an intellectual predjudice against people making money from music. Maybe they should become vegans and live in a yurt"
EPIC FAIL! The whole point of my post was that people should be able to make MORE money from Music, on the proviso that it's people who are actually involved in the actual making of music. If I go and have my car fixed I want to pay the mechanic who did the work, not all his buddies who weren't involved. The distribution industry is not necessary for the creation, promotion and distribution of music anymore. They have become the opposite of Free Market enterprises now, they are protectionist cartel's that aren't just stopping the development of new bands and creative new methods of recieveing and enjoying music, they're actively harming it.