...and completely bypass ever compensating the artists themselves who work their whole lives trying to make a living writing and performing...
hmm...not sure about this. My ex is a musician, he wants pre-recorded music to be free. He makes the majority of his income on the road, and apparently royalties aren't worth much. Perhaps it depends on the type of music, etc. but when he explained it to me, it was clear that if anyone was guilty of neglecting the artist, it was the record companies, not the fans.
Next time I talk to him, I'll get & post the breakdown. It's interesting. I think the revenue for him comes out to $.03 per song.