Define ripped off if you would.
I know that there were certainly cases where the person doing the creating didn’t get paid as well as others involved in the supply chain but that is true of any industry. As for recognition, I think the major change is that artists have learned that if they want recognition then they need to step out there and make themselves recognizable, not rely on someone else to do it. The internet makes that much more possible of course.
If you/they are willing to do things for pleasure then surely that is a perk of the job, no? I enjoy what I do when compared to being a garbage disposal person or drain cleaner but not as much as if I were a pro footballer. I think it is incorrect to say that in itself was exploitation, although I am sure there are cases of exploitation in every industry. When a client comes to me and says “Do my SEO for free or cheap and I will give you 40% of everything I earn” I have a choice. I can demand my fee up front or spin the wheel and hopefully make more. I always ask for the up front fee and risk losing the client, but I do know others sometimes spin the wheel and blindly trust some stranger for whatever reason.
Artists have the same option but the fact is that many artists agree to things like “free gigs for exposure”. I have many friends in bands and despite the fact that Ireland has a huge live music scene, it is extremely difficult to be paid in anything other than free drinks for the night. This is because there is always someone who will do it “for the exposure”. The key is to be better, to add something that the others don’t have - that’s how I get clients to pay up front.
PS. Please note, I am someone who abides by copyright and respects the work of artists. I don’t stream movies or music and have paid for all cds that I own. If I have come across as being anti-artist or argumentative, then I apologize, it is not intended. I just don’t understand how certain industries have this right, or believe they have this right, to charge extra if their work for someone else is successful.