The new format for music will be some kind of flash media. It might be USB, it might be a SD-type card, but that is how music will be packaged and sold soon. It might be the only chance for the music industry.
I think that movies are soon to be like this too, or at least some type of huge high definition storing hard drive that connects to an account that knows which movies you own and don't own to completely eliminate having to buy movies at the store, it woudl be kind of like virtual console and how that system works, but of course instead of games it would be movies.
Well it won't "save" music, because music isn't on the way out last I checked. It could help though.
Now that Windows Vista is out, new encoding technology can be used to prevent music being recorded via line out on Vista compatible sound cards. They are doing a ton lately to combat piracy. I wouldn't mind it either because I don't download music illegally. It's not risking jail time and one or more $250,000 fines if you ask me.
As for flash media. I actually doubt that will become too mainstream. Music can already be downloaded directly from sites like iTunes and Napster, Real, etc.
Music will only be sold online. There will be no cd dives.
Its already starting to happen. The "air" from mac is totally internet dependent. I think thats the future of music.
Actually, I have more evidence.
I tunes now sells music in card form at the store. You see a song card you like, so you buy it. Then you go to the itunes store and put in the code on the card, and it downloads the music to your computer.