Hmm, wonderfully backwards economics here. It costs a known amount of money to produce a piece of music (known once it's done, that is - each piece takes a different amount). The claim that people have for being paid for music is that they need to cover their costs (including a reasonable pay cheque for the musicians as well as the costs of hiring the studio, paying the engineers and for any consumable resources - not as many as there used to be since hard disks are vastly reusable whereas multi-track tapes had a more limited shelf life). So, when the first few people listen to something, their enjoyment of the music costs the most. If it never takes off and becomes popular, then the music has a very high cost-per-listener. As it becomes more popular, the cost-per-listener goes down, and so the price should go down. Now, there's also the aspect of loss-leader, but the increase to a cap and staying there when something is popular goes against all standard rules of economics. A more sensible model would be that the initial loss-leader is recognised with the first few downloads being free, the cost then rising to cover the cost of production, but then diminishing again once a reasonable payment has been made. That way, there'd be more money left in the system for repaying the risk-taking of spending the money to record, instead of popular but greedy acts taking the lion's share of the money. If what we're interested in is a FAIR reward for creative endeavour AND a wide variety of material available, this would be the sensible model to adopt.