Dave Douglas writes a particularly enlightened post on NPR’s jazz blog. In particular, he sees digital recording and distribution for what it is – a new way for musicians to reach audiences, and one that is best unencumbered.
As a side note, he discusses recent real-time distributed improvisation, where he played via the Internet with other musicians. This approach, while not replacing live bands per se, has the potential to get around some of the costs associated with touring as well as the basic fact that each city a group tours to might only have 20-50 fans to show up at gigs. Here, with no touring expense, and the potential to reach those 20-50 fans in each city at the same time, the economics might just work out.