For years the RIAA has put themselves up as the champions of the poor music creators whose livelihood is being stripped away by piracy. This justification has been touted for every action they have taken, from litigating against their customers, to the restriction of customers fair use. I don’t think anyone was naive enough to believe that their methods were altruistic, as they were paid by and obviously working in the interests of the large music publishers. The same publishers that, unlike the smaller labels, have never had a fantastic reputation for being generous to the talent.
Now the RIAA is showing how committed they are to the needs of the artist by proposing to the copyright board that the mechanical royalty that goes to the songwriter be almost halved. At 13% of wholesale revenue currently(split with the publisher), the songwriters are not exactly getting away with daylight robbery. Especially when you consider that the writing of the song is at least as important (more in some cases) than the artists interpretation to the success or failure of the song.
Big record companies were a powerful and efficient way to get music to consumers until about 10 & 15 years ago. Now the game has changed and the big labels are not willing to change to suit the new environment. Rather than suffer from their own mistakes they would like to make others pay the price. They started with consumers by making them suffer onerous DRM and reducing the value they get from their purchase by reducing the rights of use they have. Now they want to make the people that create and produce the music to pay for their mistakes as well! The audacity is as mind boggling as the short sightedness.
The Big labels Rome is smoldering and Nero is reaching for his fiddle.