Labels set the deal terms for artists; managers handled the "biz"; the touring circuits were maintained by well-mannered warlords that politely divvied up the venues; and everyone had their place in the pond.
So where did it all go wrong with the music business? Somehow, the pond became stagnant over time, mucked up with greed, laziness, contempt and excess. People got bored with music. Then, someone threw a rock into the middle of it called "The Internet" and nothing will ever be the same. Today, anyone can hum a tune, mix it with a rhythm track and some samples on their Mac at home, put it up on MySpace, and end up with a publishing deal from Moby who will then sell it to the next Superbowl sponsor.