Some thoughts about the MP3 vs. RIAA debate
Back when the RIAA was actually useful (before MP3s, the Internet and home recording) a new artist that the labels wanted to support would get MUCH more publicity than smaller local artists. As today those artists aren't necessarily the best out there, but the point is, they signed their contracts to be made a star by these labels.
Flash forward to today where the Internet allows fans to share music and rave about various artists. Self promotion and fan promotion now is MORE valuable than the big radio ads and posters at Tower. That is if you want to push MUSIC and not some stupid IMAGE. The good artists out there have strong fan bases and they grow with ever new listener.
Sharing music allows listeners to hear those more "arty" tracks and B-sides that the labels and radio stations aren't as interested in sharing. Maybe it’s too big of a genre jump. Maybe there are some politically incorrect messages. Maybe there is a little bit of a language issue.
Look at the Rap and Gangsta' Rap genres in the early 90s. They were not played except in some larger cities, on the radio. Flash forward a few years and the RIAA and MTV find out that this is a big deal and they jump on the bandwagon. They didn't start the movement. They simply turned it into watered down crap. I'm not a big rap fan, but I liked it a lot better when it was original and had some meaning. Now, like all other genres played on the radio, it’s hollow and empty. It's a shame.
The artists will not die because of file sharing, but the RIAA and other such distributors and promoters will die if they do not evolve and start to service the customer again.