This is a very good point. The advantages that labels had before was an enhanced ability to issue a marketing message, and a near-total control over the engines of distribution and radio play. Even operating under that hegemony, cool spontaneously appeared and sorted itself out. Now that neither hegemony is fully in place, cool will seep out everywhere, through these wonderful alternative marketing and distribution mechanisms.
It’s amusing, too, that hardware manufacturers realized that digital downloads would give them a vested interest in downloadable product, so that the hi fi now dictates the availability of the LP, and not vice versa as in the old days.
It’s not just hardware, either–it’s hard not to admire Starbucks for doing obvious, predictable greatest hits and respected artist deals that a less moribund record industry would have done on its own in a wiser era.