While I agree that major labels' payola undermines their argument, they're ultimately on the right side when it comes to performance rights royalties for sound recordings. Together, the U.S. -- along with China, Rwanda, North Korea, and Iran -- are the only countries that don't pay rights holders of sound recordings for the performance of their works (in the non-digital realm). You could say that major labels (and their marquee artists) don't need the income because they'll obtain it from a bevy of other avenues that radio promotion would drive, but what about small-to-mid level artists? We're moving to a world where the performance of music is the endgame -- not it's purchase -- which only becomes more apparent with increases in online streaming and on-demand plays. When Spotify hits next year (or whenever it's slated to launch), this will only become clearer. iTunes sales have already begun to taper off, and CD sales have plummeted 58% in ten years. More artists are getting the chance to have their music heard than ever before, but the traditional means of compensation (sales of music) are not enough to compensate. Giving artists (of all levels) compensation for the performance of their sound recordings is simply a right that they deserve. Don't let the track record of the RIAA and the major labels jade your viewpoint of what is fundamentally a just cause.
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