MHPHILLIPS wrote: With thousands of new authors hoping against hope to make it to the top, will we all need to find other avenues to reach a potential audience?
Short answer: Kind of
Long answer: Not all authors will need to change tactics. Problem is the ratio of success to failure will drop as more people enter the fray in this manner. Advertising, marketting, technology - they all obey a kind of entropy, one where once something has moved on, you can't go back. So to maximise your chances, you'll need to do something different. Whether it be Throwing money at the problem and hiring staff/buying "air time", trying something inventive a la Christopher Paolini's school visits, or be totally mercenary about the whole thing and market aggressively. Otherwise you're relying on the traditional "Be brilliant or lucky" method.
See there's also a secondary issue to this which is inequality. The "gate keepers" also acted a bit like a Floodbarrier. Supply and demand states that prices fall in a state of high demand. The traditional publication system tended to a saturation point that held supply at a steady-ish level. Knock down that floodbarrier and supply rises waaaaay above demand, driving down the price of the commidity. Perhaps media has a unique situation where the supply won't likely fall to so few players (e.g there won't be 1500000 different types of cola or only 10 authors in the world), but the fact is those that succeed will do so on a scale far and above the average. We're seeing more multi millionaire authors each week - but for each 1 of those we don't see the new 1000 authors that float a book and fail.
As such being among the first to discover new and unique ways to advertise will give a huge shot in the arm to their chances. And because of the entropic nature of marketting, once that new method has been swallowed as mainstream, you have to find something new, continually....