Piracy or the Next Big Thing?
Oh really? This sad, antiquated logic continues to do one thing and one thing only: bolster sales of the top-paid performers while creating a chilling effect on artists who would love innovative promotion but fear free samples will incur the wrath of the mighty RIAA, or worse. It's one thing to send the FBI after some poor schlub who leaks some Guns N' Roses tracks, or sue the bejeebes out of hundreds of college kids, but it's quite another to threaten fair trade when artists (who own their own content, thank you) decide to market in ways they see fit.
The only ray of sunshine could be recent rulings regarding Creative Commons which might allow savvy artists to provide music in the manner they see fit, without the RIAA calling fans of the artists a bunch of pirates. Arrr, matey. At the end of the day there has to be some middle ground, but it's a pity the RIAA and other enforcement agencies see the world in black and white and tend to pull their concepts of ownership from the days when TV's were also monochromatic.