NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Music piracy has crippled Nashville's Music Industry and the White House is paying attention. A member of President Obama's cabinet paid Music Row a visit on Monday. Meanwhile, some country music superstars are now speaking out especially about sites like Google that direct people to download music illegally.
"So you can get my music my lyrics, my anything, and they make money off that advertising," said Big Kenny, of Big and Rich.
Google may profit, but musicians lose out. So what if search engines like Google couldn't direct you to free music? Or Internet providers keep you from downloading music illegally?
"All music has a watermark in it, so you can track what the songs are, and you can track what's going on," said Barry Coburn of Ten Ten Music.
All these ideas were pitched to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a forum with music industry leaders.
Over the last decade, CD sales are down almost 50 percent as more and more people are downloading music illegally, instead of going to sites where you pay for it. New numbers show for every 20 songs downloaded, only one is actually paid for.
Politicians are now stepping into the music industry struggle to figure out solutions on how to save an industry that employs about 20-thousand people in Nashville alone.
Secretary Locke had a message for the industry: the White House knows about the problem, and they are doing more than just listening.
"The administration is doing everything it can to ensure our creators and innovators are compensated for the great work that they do," said Gary Locke, Secretary of Commerce.
Locke said the White House has set up a new division to fight music piracy. The next big fight in this battle could be with web sites like Google. If the music industry had their way, they would stop sites like Google from leading people to free music. But that isn't expected to change anytime soon, without some sort of federal mandate.
The music industry also wants artists to be compensated when their songs are played on the radio. Congressman Jim Cooper is working on a bill that would change that.