If they are buying things on the internet then it would be helping but if they are downloading then it could perhaps be hurting. I download a few songs but just for fair use purposes on videos and if there are some songs i cant find in markets. I know when to buy things. I only listen to good artist not the mainstream stuff.
If it's being used correctly then yes. I mean, now an artist can release stuff using the Internet and might be able to do stuff without a record company (which means they actually get the money they earned). But, illegal downloading is an issue.