BigOldGeek directs me to this article from the New York Times on how WalMart is changing the rules of them game in publishing and other media. Their market share is apparently so big they can sink an author or artist by refusing to carry her... or at least, it's close to that - Eminem seems to be doing pretty well on his own, thank you very much.
I guess I have a lot of hope that this won't matter in the long run. As information gets easier and easier to disseminate, it gets harder and harder to control with the kinds of economic levers a WalMart can manipulate. I'm not sure what this means for artists in the future, but I don't see the problems inherent in easier data manipulation going away.
I'm generally surprised at how little amateur creative work is available via the internet. I guess there will have to be a major shift away from thinking of creative content as a product before people will really be free to just post it on the internet. Then again, today I came across these photos by my old friend Alex Mogens Galt... and there's always the argument (one I'm not very sympathetic to at the moment) that all this blogging is creative. Hmmm.