The economy of intellectual property and virtual merchandise is on the precipice of a shift. Where does it go to? Let me guess at you:
* Ad-served: Hulu and Pandora have been successful at providing extremely varied content to users for free. This will likely be standardized throughout the virtual merchandise field to capitalize on the market lost to illegal downloaders. This may be accomplished by developing any system that is comparable easier/faster at delivering the music of interest to the end-user as a way of outcompeting the illegal access. The speed category will be harder to compete in as the speed and availability of wifi networks increases, but ease of integration has no foreseeable ceiling. Legitimate/commercial sources should never be outcompeted by open source if managed correctly. Regardless of philosophies, the commercial industries have more resources at their disposal. A greater shift of investment to research & investment would clinch this advantage by (at least temporarily) reducing competition, and increasing the positive-sum opening of novel niches within the market. Any perceived advertising bubble could easily be avoided by only selling ads for concrete products on these services.
* Facebook model: I don't know enough about economics to know how this will come about in practice. Somehow a relative relationship between competing products would be monitoring based on use and ratings (e.g. "likes"), which would then be correlated to a corresponding "virtual share of the market". Ok fuck I just got it. Integration with a stock market-type system of investment would allow a pool of money to be available to flow to the producers. Perhaps even as information technology advances, investment into specific products rather than mere corporations would create more precise selection pressures to drive innovation.
* I just feel like I should have three bullets: That's better