In between the lawsuits and general "spit on the consumer" attitude we have had to put up with from the RIAA, we were always assured it was to protect the artists. Well, that ever thinning veil has all but completely vanished with the latest from the recording industry.
In recent petitions to a judge, the RIAA is asking that the current royalties paid to artists be lowered for such recordings as cell phone ring tones and various other digital recordings. Executive VP, Steven Marks, while discussing these recent actions went on record to say, "We hope the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate and moving to a more flexible percentage rate structure so that record companies can continue to create the sound recordings that drive revenues for music publishers." In simple terms, they want less money in the pockets of the artists for the work they created.
They're just not nice people, really...If I was a music artist, why not just go solo now-a-days? Look at all the sources (YouTube, MySpace) people can raise fans from. Of course, really creating a album and selling it would be hard, but meh...