With readily available (meaning free) music, lots has been written about the death of the music industry. In fact, it's not the death of the music industry, rather it's the death of the traditional business model of the music industry.
iTunes has proven that people will pay for music and Myspace has really democratized the music industry, making it easier for more artists to connect and distribute music to their fans in a more profitable way.
Related to this, Ian Rogers, the CEO of Topspin, articulated a different future at the GRAMMY Northwest MusicTech Summit 2008 conference. Rogers, the former head of Yahoo Music, pointed out that it is not the music industry that is dying, it's is the CD business.
So, why is this relevant to software? Beyond the 'software as a service' and free web apps, the software industry is going through similar changes in its distribution model.
As a consumer, I increasingly pay for and download traditional software applications from Adobe and most recently, Microsoft quietly announced the launch of its online software store. I don't need Compusa or Bestbuy and i dont need the gamining retailers either
If you are a brick and mortar software type retailer, your days are numbered.