Well, there's more to it than that.
I did a website for a country music superstar, Toby Keith, for three years.
Lots of times, the artist gets next to nothing in the share amount of the CD sales.
With Toby, he started his own label and told Dreamworks to have a nice day.
Like the auto makers, the record labels have fought public demand at every angle, even when it slapped them in the face.
There is nearly zero cost to digital distribution. Folks want one song, or two songs, from an album, and...they want fair use rights, without all the grief of DRM that doesn't work right, isn't portable, and is a royal pain. Amazon, Walmart, and Itunes, all get what the consumer wants: fair use.
Up until a few decades ago, music was part of the village. It was free. Now, there is value in talent, clearly, but, 19.95 for a CD is obscene, so, the record labels created their own issues years ago by pissing off their clientele.
Some of the older groups have founds a great business model, in that they give their music away, but, sell out concerts / road tours, and laugh all the way to the bank.
The music model is such that, often, the folks most interested, have the least ability to pay, so, they find a way, if the cost is to prohibitive.
The record labels are finally realizing that their role is one of marketing, but, that they shouldn't be so greedy, or they'll be deemed not useful, and the artists will find other outlets. Many already have.
The Internet has released the death grip of broadcast media, and the record labels so any group can get online as simply as hitting youtube. The good old days are over for the labels.
Here's a kid, 17 years old, who is in the top 20 downloads on youtube. He's been on national media. This probably could not have happened as recently as five years ago.
No one would deny artists a living, but, the greed and power and intimidation of the record companies is going to go.
The record labels fought technology (same as the movie houses did on video tape and digital recording) and LOST.
I, too, am bewildered sometimes by consumer behavior. Folks will spend $8.00 on a drink, but, they'll sqawk at gym fees. Folks will spend 100s on killing their health with tobacco, but, won't eat right. They'll spend money on plastic surgery, but, won't eat right, nor exercise. Instead..., they'll pay money to have a "happy ending" in a convoluted massage. Go figure.
If I've learned any ONE thing, having a degree in computer science, working commercial broadcast news for 11 years, and being around gay folks, is that folks are NOT logical, nor do they utilize common sense.