The nineties where a fact a decade of change. During this time MTV rose replacing the radio as the only source of new music. Also radio introduced the playlists making it even harder for indie artists to get heard. To top it all the CD rose as well and despite the many advantages it was a much more expensive format than his previous (vinyl cassette). The average listener was trapped in a limited selection of songs he could listen for free in MTV and radio and if he wanted to take a plunge in the non commercial music scene he would also have to dig deep in his wallet. That said being an avid music lover evolved in a hard and expensive hobby.
Here comes downloading. While the ethic costs of downloading are known to everyone it provided an alternative to the programming that major labels provided. It gave everyone who couldn't come up with the money to search beyond the commercial island that they have stranded him upon an escape to music who was actually inspiring and had personality
if we look at todays music scene we can observe from punk bands going mainstream (Green Day etc) to corporate rock to mediocre supergroups with the sole intention to get some money off their name. Most of the big bands of the 80s and the 90s are producing albums that don't even hint of the music they created the precedent years aiming on our faithfulness to fund their retirement. On the pop scene music gets even more formulaic and stupid aiming on hate so they can be promoted by even non pop fans. Justin Bieber is a good example since there are people who hate him and spend more time hating him than listening to the music they love.
It seems that only those who sold their souls to the major label devil have survived in the spotlight of the media. Ain't it possible that piracy slowed down this situation? And with the labels and artists only caring about profit how do they expect to touch the average Joe when they do nothing to make the music more accessible to him (10 bucks an album on I tunes is not accessible)? While downloading has created many innocent victims it was the only way to vote against the dictatorship of the modern music scene who by controlling the media has decided to silence upon will and make something out of nothing.
Concluding while piracy right now hurts the new artists and that's something that's got to stop it helped keep the music as an art from when it was decided that it should be treated like a product indifferent to toilet paper.
But if the record labels understand that they can't control what we listen they can't kill the monster that feeds of their greed.