Has politicians in its pocket? I think you mean on their boards of directors. Politicians and lawyers are the ones who actually say what gets made, who gets to record, how the recording gets done, who artists get to collaborate with, who & what gets air time, who gets to have every move they make unknowingly sabotaged, etc. Artists don't have a say in their craft anymore.
The RIAA is not working for the artists, it's working for the politicians and lawyers that own the artists and their works (yes, the artists themselves and every bit of creativity that comes out of them).
Check out the documentaries Strong Enough to Break (posted by its makers for free on YouTube) and Before the Music Dies. (posted for free by its makers on Hulu). Those films are eye-openers into the modern world of music! Those films are why I outright refuse to listen to any non-independent artists.