I paid money for the new Girl Talk record, due to my fondness for Unstoppable and Night Ripper, even though I knew I probably wouldn't like it, what with the guy moving more in this DJ direction away from glitched-out songs. It's pretty dire. The idea of having the physical object around my house bums me out. It is really not transformative. 2008 has been a pretty disappointing year for music.
I do like the idea of paying an undetermined amount for music, but the fact that you're guessing how much the music is worth before you hear it is probably going to be more damaging to unexperienced artists in the future- It benefits people only after they've actually made a good record, and I get the impression that some musicians have no real way of knowing which of their records is better than others besides sales. (Note: This idea is just based on my telling the guy from Out Hud that their second record was really bad while their first record was pretty good, and him being really surprised that was a thing that people thought.) But seriously- the idea of owning music is you can listen to it whenever, but there are some things that you hear once and know you will probably never really care about it and can get everything out of it in three listens.
It seems like Black Pus, Thee Oh Sees, and Excepter are the only people who came out with records this year that were "breakthrough" records, that were actively better than what had come before, rather than just kind of disappointing. This is because those people all come from crazy noise backgrounds, and just sort of calmed down enough to put in more melody and song structure (although Excepter's Alternation was pretty good for this a few years ago), which is different from some indie rock band that's been around for over a decade who couldn't be bothered to write decent songs this go-round. (I am talking about the new Breeders and Silver Jews records, although probably also other things that I've forgotten about because I took them off my hard drive already.) I also like the James Pants record from Stones Throw, which is maybe kind of comparable to Girl Talk, but more deserving of your money.