I've often wondered if all this free music that get's downloaded actually get's listened to.
Of course it doesn't!
I'm not even talking illegal downloading here... In a regular week just sitting on my ass doing the usual, twittering, receiving a few newsletters, following the works of such and such (and I'm no information junky either, I select who and what I follow with much discrimination) I have access to so much free music that I end up only sampling it at some point down the line and choosing off a few minutes listening (sometimes less) what I keep and what I trash.
Between the day job, creating my own music and having (somewhat) of a social life... Add to that the limited financial means to support the artists I really give a shit about and will pay attention to diligently, there's only so much time I can devote to actually paying attention to new music.
The overload of information really is something that makes it hard for any newcomer (label, artist, promoter, etc.) to gather any form of worthwhile attention. Unless what you do has an immediate general appeal / is incredibly catchy, which I don't think there's much of here.
Social media advocates would have you believe that this creates a niche for specialized targeted marketing catering to those most likely to enjoy your 'product' (think facebook campaigns, targeted radio plays on last.fm or pandora, etc.) But I think there's a lot of hogwash there, as it just adds up to the pile on of information people are subjected to and the likelihood of your material receiving any form of receptive attention is quite slim. Plus who in their right mind would utilize these tools considering there is little to none immediate return on investment with a 'product' such as music.
To an extent the viral growth will end up happening over time, good product will raise to the top of the bowl, bad product will sink. But how long will that take? And who's to say it won't end up buried under the pile of "new and therefore more interesting" (not MY take on it, just, that's how things go often times.)