I guess I’d say that both things are true simultanously: we are seeing a kind of apocalypse and incremental change is the only way forward.
As I tried to express in my comment on the other post in this thread: http://gonze.com/blog/2008/11/08/bitching-about-sue-em-all-for-newbies/ I think it’s an exceedingly gloomy time in the world of music. The industry simultaneously killed off both web-based innovation and its own economic prospects. However, as you’ve been pointing out recently, people do keep creeping forward. Whether it’s the net labels scrounging together some form of tribal identity for online music producers or the interactive music games inspiring new people to become makers themselves (have you played with r2dj or Bloom?) new incremental changes do keep coming along.
It’s kind of like Dr. Bloodmoney or one of the other good Phil Dick post-apocalyptic novels: most of civilization may have been destroyed, but some industrious tinkerer out there can probably put together a wood-burning car, the kindly kid in the radio shop turns out to be telekenetic, and the small rodents evolve high intelligence.
On my optimistic days, I find this state of affairs exciting and stimulating — you never know what weird creature could come along mext — but just as often it seems dreary and near hopeless: there is, after all, a lot to mourn for.