According to this recent article, it seems the RIAA is concerned about the amount of money paid to its artists for commercial use of their work, commonly referred to as the artist royalty percentage. The RIAA believes the percentage is too high, and is currently petioning the courts to have this amount lowered, specifically, and ironically, for the use of "innovative services", such as lyrics and melodies in cell phone ring-tones and other "digital sources". Here's what the RIAA had to say about the petition:
Mechanical royalties currently are out of whack with historical and international rates. We hope the judges will restore the proper balance by reducing the rate and moving to a more flexible percentage rate structure so that record companies can continue to create the sound recordings that drive revenues for music publishers.
In a semi-related story, the RIAA has teamed up with its motion picture counterpart, the MPAA, in an "Anti-Piracy blitz" to remind holiday shoppers of the true meaning of the season, purchasing legitimate releases from both groups, according to Brad Buckles, Executive Vice President, Anti-Piracy for the RIAA
"Thousands of people in the music community -- including artists, songwriters, musicians and record label employees -- work throughout the year preparing releases to showcase their talent during the holiday season. When the hard work of music professionals is undermined by piracy, everybody loses. Music is the quintessential gift during the holiday season, and when consumers buy the real thing, everyone wins. Fans get a superior product, retailers generate tax revenue for the local community and all of the people in the music industry who created the album earn a return for their work.