The "wholesale theft", as you call it, is happening on many ends, my dear anonymous friend. As I'm sure you've heard, the big 5 record companies behind the RIAA steal virtually everything there is to steal from the artists themselves - their name, their songs (when you sign a contract with them, *your* songs become *their* songs), their lifestyle (the contract an artist is railroaded into signing contains enough restrictions and clever tricks to ensure an artist must comply or face career-ending consequences). Don't think that the 'pirates' are the only ones that are stealing, though that's not the right word to use. People have the RIGHT under fair use to listen to a song in whatever format they wish, be it copying their CDs to tapes, MP3 players, whatever you wish. You can't trade it with others, which is where file-sharing arguably (and clearly) becomes wrong. However, there is a revolution at hand, and like in any revolution, the rules are being broken, the boundries made useless.
I have heard more GOOD music as an intern at a small indie label in the last 3 WEEKS than I have on all of the radio stations in my area in the last year or so... If you truly want to help musicians and other artists, step outside of the comfort zone of artists you already know, and look for indie artists in your area. Trust me, you won't hear about them on the front page of the NY Times, or screaming at you about their newest CD on the radio. They'll be in the clubs, in the smaller more intimate settings, where music is made with a voice and some instruments, not a noise-making synthesizer or a computer designed to make your voice sound perfect. They'll be singing and playing their hearts out, trying to sell enough CDs at a reasonable price to continue doing what they love for a living - making music.
To conclude, file-sharing is wrong, but how else is this long-overdue message to the RIAA supposed to get across? The only way they have responded thus far is when their sales have decreased, so vote with your wallets - forget the RIAA labels and go support a musician who actually needs your money.