I do not have all the answers. Anyone that claims they do is totally full of shit. All any of us have are simply predictions. So, why not, here is mine.
Subscription based band websites. Yes, I know this is not a new idea and I am not claiming to be Columbus of music biz 2.0. When I say "subscription", I am not referring to Napster, Spotify etc. I am talking about individual bands having their own living and breathing sites full of fresh, constantly updated content that simply caters to the fans and their requests, needs, wants, etc.
The one thing that is for certain, looking at the NIN and Radiohead models for example, is that not every band will see rewards from similar strategies. Bands will have to be willing to experiment and expect to do a substantial amount of trial and error.
For the cost of a CD, I would probably be more than willing to subscribe annually to my fav bands and artists if in return I received MP3's, exclusive content, 1 on 1 interaction, exclusive merchandise, concert ticket pre sales, etc. The list of options is endless. Is this also of interest to you? How about from a band perspective. Would your fans be into something like this?
Anyway... I will leave you with a quote from Bob Lefsets that I stumbled upon today that was somewhat of the inspiration for this post:
"Really, think about this. In a world of unlimited options, that’s just what you are, another option. You’re a speck in the firmament. You’re making less money not because people are stealing, but because you just can’t get enough people to pay attention. That’s what you’re fighting for, ongoing attention. With the emphasis on "ongoing". If it’s momentary, it’s meaningless. Stunting is worthless. You’ve got to campaign endlessly, slog ad infinitum. Continually release music, continually engage your audience."