I've mentioned the Lefsetz letter before, and his latest talks about the decline of the album format, largely because the iPod has changed our listening habits. Digital Audio Insider adds an additional factor that seems paramount to me: there is an endless supply of music to discover and explore. I'm absolutely sure that I could get every purchased CD for free on the various file sharing sites, and there's not that much music that I need to hear multiple times. I've already noticed that when songs on commonly played playlists on the iPod get a play count over about seven, I'm starting to get fairly tired of them. I'd love to find a way to refresh the playlists with new but similar music, without going out to get all new CDs.
Speaking of refreshing music, Eliot over at the Wired Listening Post offers a serious suggestion of how licensing might work in an environment that would support more unfettered downloading.