My friends and I had a little joke about that. I said, tell you what I'll give him a tenner and then I'll download it. At least that way I know he gets all of the money! In reality, he damn well owes me a signed copy for putting up with his learning to play guitar for years as we grew up ;p
They actually did produce the second album in the old mini-cab office, although I understand it had a bit of a dusting first :p
I agree with you entirely that artists should be recompensed for their work, everyone is entitled to make a living.
I'm trying to think of a good analogy here, but can't.
I don't think there are any other examples of the atrocious deals artists get.
There are two parts to this: the artist creates the work, and the industry promote it, horses for courses and it seems quite symbiotic. However usually, the artist is woefully under-rewarded for their efforts, while the industry seems to be highly over-rewarded for their efforts. So, not so much symbiotic as parasitic?
Yes artists have a choice, thankfully now, even more of a choice and the scene is changing. Modern promoters seem to be striking much fairer deals.
Someone once pointed out, that when you pick up a paperback, inside it says Copyright:Name of Author, whereas, when you pick up a CD, inside it says Copyright:Name of Label.
And again you will reply, that artists have a choice.
I just think that the choice between 'making it' and being paid disproportionately to your efforts, versus not making it and depriving us of your art, sucks. We can't all be Oasis.
Traditionally those were your options. Now, thanks to the much needed shake-up, we should see many more talented bands coming to the fore. Promotion used to be a very expensive game. Look around you now, adverts are everywhere, the internet runs on ads. Example: I recently saw an ad on MTV for someones MySpace page, I forget the name, so it didn't work out for them (I don't watch MTV very often, maybe there were more), but it's a start.
It's been interesting to analyse how the industry works, through watching my friends band being promoted; appear on this show, appear on that show, have this much airtime on this, this and that radio station, do some interviews with MTV, sign some albums at tower records etc. Yes, all this costs money, but it's very much an I scratch your back kinda thing: the radio stations want listeners, so they need songs, the industry wants to promote songs so they need the radio stations, you get the picture. I would say the most expensive part of promoting a new band, would be the first few tours, something which many unsigned bands manage to do for themselves. (admittedly, usually at much smaller venues, but that is in part due to less advertising promotion)
It's almost getting to the point where a band could completely promote itself, which is great. Maybe they can then go to the bank manager for a 'promotion loan' to launch their business and get a favourable deal into the bargain!
So, yes, the RIAA are defending my friends x% of something, but at the same time defending THEIR X% of something which turns out to be a much larger X than my friends.