From legislation to artist activism to mobile music, 2008 was a year of firsts:

1. Uruguay drops VAT: Uruguay became the first country in Latin America-and perhaps the world-to grant an exemption of value-added taxes from the sale of music CDs and DVDs. The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, effectively lowers the price of legitimate music products by eliminating the sales tax for the consumer.

The law was crafted via a joint initiative between the government and Uruguay's local IFPI office (ACUD), the Assn. of Uruguayan Authors and the Assn. of Uruguayan performers. The move doesn't directly affect the bottom line of songwriters, labels or artists themselves-but in a rare display of solidarity, the rationale behind the law is that by lowering prices and spurring sales, the entire industry benefits.

Uruguay is a small country with a tiny music market; yearly sales do not exceed $4 million, according to IFPI numbers. However, the country's initiative is being closely watched as a blueprint for the rest of the region.

2. Artists take a social stance:

Click here for the full story, including a look at mobile music sales, a look at Live Nation's power deal and more.