Ok, we all know that the music industry is corrupt, right, but I mean, like, how corrupt? Here's an example of how the system works to shaft small-time independent recording artists out of their money:
Every time your songs are played on the radio, in a club, on TV, at a school, used in a movie, broadcast, performed, anything, you are legally entitled to receive a royalty from that usage. However, all performance royalties are managed by centralized agencies such as ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc. Centralized? Already this is starting to smell bad. It gets better, though. These agencies take in annual fees from all venues that use music live or in a broadcast, and use this money to pay out royalties to artists and songwriters. How do they portion out this money, though? This is the best part. They only listen to what's being played on major commercial radio and TV broadcasts, and maybe what songs are being played in other major venues, and then use that data to make an "educated guess" as to what's being played in all other venues, like non-commercial stations, neighborhood bars, etc. This means that it's assumed that the portion of time a major radio station plays Britney Spears for is the same portion of time that, say, Das Bunker plays Britney Spears for, and the money taken from BOTH is doled out accordingly. Is the picture starting to become clearer? Let's ram this one home. Even though Das Bunker's playlist on any given night might include, say, Einsturzende Neubauten, Combichrist, Psyclon Nine, Wumpscut, Terrorfakt, VNV Nation, and other groups that the mainstream has likely never heard of, ever, (not to imply that these guys are "small-time" either...but definitely not heard on any commercial radio station I know of) and NO BRITNEY SPEARS WHATSOEVER... None of these artists will see any of the money that Das Bunker (or more likely, it's venue) pays to ASCAP in order to feature their songs as part of it's club atmosphere. All that money goes into the pockets of Britney Spears, Avril Levigne, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, and you get the picture. Despite the fact that the artists who are really being played, like, everywhere, are legally entitled to their cut, mainstream or not, ASCAP's sampling methods are totally skewed in favor of the chart-toppers. Which is, of course, bullshit, because we all know that popular taste has exactly fuck to do with good music, but popular taste does decide how well a bunch of shitty "musicians" are rewarded for writing, bar none, the worst bullshit in the history of music.
A) We totally decentralize the system, and set up a new system where venues pay royalties to artists directly,
B) All venues should play mainstream bullshit.
I'm personally for plan A.