The artists have the power. They always had. They are the ones that create the works, the songs.
But there used to be a gatekeeper society when it came to music, and this society said to the artists, “if you want to play this game of fame, sign your life away on the dotted line.” And to make it worth your while, here is an advance payment. But the devil doesn’t tell you that they will recoup this advance payment for your whole life plus 70 years after your dead.
And this gives the rights holders of the artist’s work (otherwise known as the Copyright Holders, aka, Record Labels) the power to negotiate with ISP’s, the Courts and the Government. The artists sold away their power and the record labels make billions in streaming revenue. And because of this power the record labels amassed, they can influence law makers in passing laws to protect the record labels business models and on occasions the labels via their lobby groups, get the law enforcement arms to act as a piracy surveillance force.
Now if an artist was “out there” and didn’t fit the norm, that’s when new record labels would be formed, like Metal Blade Records by Brian Slagel (a record store employee) so he could promote the local metal bands from LA.
Or Megaforce Records, by Jon and Marsha Zazula, so they could release Metallica’s first album. Or Sanctuary Records by Rod Smallwood and Andy Taylor, who discovered Iron Maiden and named their label after Maiden’s song, “Sanctuary”.
And the gatekeeper society rules would transfer over to these new labels and suddenly we have gatekeepers here deciding which bands would get signed and which bands wouldn’t and which bands they would manufacture, amassing a large catalogue of copyrighted songs in the process.
But today, the artists themselves can write, record and release, without the need for a label (however they need a digital distributor/aggregator) to get their music on digital platforms, and of course, they will need to source their own supply of organisations who deal with physical products like vinyl, CD’s and clothing.
And it might sound daunting for some, but it’s focused work. So if anyone should be organising deals it should be the ARTISTS/PERFORMERS with the USERS/CONSUMERS.
And if the artists have their music on legitimate channels with fair and just price structures for people to access content, well the problem of piracy goes away. Then it’s up to the artist to decide what is next and how to further monetise their fan base.