Michael Jackson called him "devilish," and Mariah Carey married him... until she realized all that's Glitter isn't gold. Now, ladies and gentlemen, Tommy Mottola has left the building.

The abrupt resignation of Sony's(NYSE: SNE) music chief last night may have taken folks by surprise, but Mottola's not the only one frustrated with the current state of the music industry.

The sale of prerecorded music has fallen off in each of the last three years, and everybody is pointing fingers at someone else. The music industry blames listeners, who have taken to pirated MP3 downloads in droves. Listeners blame artists for not releasing compelling material to make an entire CD worth purchasing. The artists? Well, they blame the label's marketing efforts.

So if the blame game does nothing but go in circles, will anything ever be resolved? Four months ago, we looked at Napster's carnage. It's a real problem for the five major labels because there's no perfect solution. Copy-protected CDs can be defeated quickly, and they alienate the audience. Peer-to-peer file swapping is practically impossible to police effectively.

The saving grace is that the five major labels are owned by major entertainment conglomerates. Sony, AOL Time Warner(NYSE: AOL), Vivendi(NYSE: V), EMI, and BMG have more than just listening experience in the industry. Most of them are entertainment powerhouses, and you're already seeing more emphasis placed on the physical product. From bonus DVD discs to CDs that unlock rich band-related content online, it's the consumer-friendly way to win this very ugly war.

The fact that Mottola is moving on, allegedly in pursuit of a new music venture, is interesting. Maybe he wasn't so much leaving a sinking ship as sailing away on a more seaworthy vessel. Either way, don't write off the music industry just yet. There's always time for an encore.