As an addition to the Parker's post about the future of the music industry (or lack thereof), here is an example from Germany of how the will to innovate can benefit everyone involved: in order to gain independence from the industry, hard rocking guitar pop band Angelika Express financed its last album by selling 'shares' to fans. To give fans an impression of the new album the Cologne based group first released rough versions of new songs on Myspace on a weekly basis. They then decided to issue 500 'shares' at 50 Euros (which sold out in record time and came with a detailed plan of how the money would be spent). With those 25.000 Euros Angelika Express financed the recording of their album, the album artwork, the manufacture of the actual CDs, and the accompanying promotion. They also plan to fund upcoming singles from this pool.
The thing is: Not only do the people who signed up for the shares get the new album but in return they also receive 80% of the earnings made with CDs sales and downloads (including upcoming singles and EPs) for the next seven years!
I have to say that this is really one of the most innovative and sympathetic concepts I came across so far. The band gained its independence and its fans get paid to support them. Everybody wins!