Not in the history of mankind has so much been given away so free to so many, and the internet continues to be heavily subsidized by investors and venture capitalists in search of the next big thing.
The history of free music downloads/filesharing is well documented, but the question remains: is it a good things for the music industry. Breaking bands are setting up their own websites and giving away initial tracks for free. It seems that it's not that bad for the music industry, it's just bad for those record companies who spent years in denial and are now playing catch up. Stable doors, horses gone, etc..
Now the same challenge is being faced by the TV industry, but lessons seem to have been learned. The majors have been quick to adopt internet distribution. However, the perennial question is 'how do you hear about it in the first place' when there are twenty thousand channels on television and no dominant networks to tell you what to watch.
Well, I don't see things developing much different than they did for the music industry. The smartest move of the past few years was News International's purchase of MySpace, which is the new NME.
But hold on a minute, have things changed that much? I used to go over to friends' houses when I was a teenager to rip off their LPs to cassette and I'd hear about new bands from friends and acquaintances.
The only difference now is that your friends don't necessarily live next door - they live at the end of a very long, globally distributed system and now carry disproportional power compared to their parents.