Amanda Hocking is making a million dollars a year publishing her own work to the Kindle. No publisher.
Rebecca Black has reached more than 15,000,000 listeners, like it or not, without a record label.
Are we better off without gatekeepers? Well, it was gatekeepers that brought us the unforgettable lyrics of Terry Jacks in 1974, and it's gatekeepers that are spending a fortune bringing out pop songs and books that don't sell.
I'm not sure that this is even the right question. Whether or not we're better off, the fact is that the gatekeepers–the pickers–are reeling, losing power and fading away. What are you going to do about it?
It's a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, "I pick you." Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one is going to select you–that Prince Charming has chosen another house–then you can actually get to work.
If you're hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about to pick you, it's going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself.