The major record labels seem to have finally worked out that downloads are the future, that DRM will never work and that people will pay for high-quality music downloads. I've recently been buying a fair chunk of music. The independent labels are pretty good: Matador, Arts&Crafts and Warp are excellent. The majors have a way to go yet.
At issue is that they've wasted years now making legal downloads so painful that users have learnt how to use pirate sources. The pirate sources are quite easy to use, and the quality can be quite good. So the majors need to learn to make it trivially easy to buy legally, and give people exactly what they want.
Yesterday I bought the Empire of the Sun album from the EMI/7digital site musichead. It's mostly okay: 320kbps mp3, which is acceptable. The metadata seems mostly intact, though Squeezecenter doesn't quite cope with x/x track numbers. The biggest problem was the download process. I had to download every track individually and rename them in my preferred nn.trackname convention. I prefer the files to list in the right order in an alphanumeric sort, and this wasn't provided.
What they should do is provide the option of downloading a zip file of the entire album. There should also be the option of defining the naming format of the tracks, with a selection of various options available.
Ideally, I'd like to be able to download FLAC versions of the files. I'd even be willing to pay a small amount more for this!
Still, they're making progress. Even better, the "Alternative/Indie" category doesn't feature Coldplay. That's progress!