Check out the Smashing Pumpkins’ Myspace. That entire huge graphic at the top of the page is a link to buy the new album on iTunes.
On iTunes, not Amazon. It’s digital or bust.
Compare to the Beastie Boys’ Myspace, which is one giant link to their blog. Both of these bands are Gen X legacy acts with a current release that they badly need to get traction, and both are doing something creative which is in tune with the times.
My bet is on the Beasties. A blog is about an ongoing relationship to their fans, while an album release — even on the iTunes store — is an old-school one-shot / fire-and-forget relationship with the fans. The Pumpkins’ access to the fans is cool and distant, while the Beasties’ is warm and intimate.
Part of the problem with CD sales, in other words, is that the art form itself is dying. The problem is partly with the CD as a distribution vehicle, but it’s also with the album as a medium.