Good article, and a welcome perspective from a music legend. There is an unfortunate prevalence of navel-gazing in the high-end audio scene that borders on gear porn. At the end of the day the most important thing is not how much your balanced silver speaker cables cost, the platter weight of your turntable, or the frequency response of your headphones: it's about the music.
As for high-res digital downloads becoming more widespread, I don't think that's a pipe dream any more. Technical performance and value aside, companies like Monster and V-Moda have played an important role by convincing more consumers to pay more for better quality equipment. Not too long ago people would think you were crazy for spending even $200 on headphones, to go with a $400 iPod; today, $300 Beats headphones are everywhere you look. The more mainstream higher quality A/V hardware becomes, the more consumers are likely to demand higher quality source material, such as 24bit lossless. The cost of Internet bandwidth and hard drive storage space have dropped to where it's no longer an issue to deliver such content quickly and cheaply.