Interesting idea for future music market
I have a proposal for the future of the music marketplace.
Firstly, allow copyrights to be subject to expropriation and lien. If you want to treat "intellectual property" just like real property, then that includes the ability for people to take it off you. This also means that someone who owns rights in a song can now use them as collateral for a loan (of course, they still have to convince the lender that the rights are viable).
Secondly, introduce a requirement that the holders of rights _which are not mortgaged_ must licence them equitably. This means that just because Company A are selling your albums, you can't stop Company B from selling them as long as they pay you the same amount for each one as Company A.
Thirdly, separate the financing, recording and distribution operations. Money would be lent by banks (or bank-like institutions) employing staff with a sense of what kind of music is likely to sell. The recording studio's raw material is a band and the finished product is a master recording. The distribution company's raw material is a master recording and the finished product is a shop shelf full of CDs or a website full of downloadable files. You pay them a certain amount up front to press the discs or host the files, then you receive a portion of the proceeds from each sale.
Now suppose an up-and-coming artist wants to record an album. They create a demo (which is copyrighted) and seek to borrow money, secured against the copyright in the songs, to finance recording a "proper" album. The lender naturally gets to dictate some of the terms (as is already the case with property) in order to ensure that the money will generate a return; and if the artist defaults severely on their repayments, then the rights in the work pass to the lender just like a home or business premises being repossessed.
Having borrowed this money, our artist then uses it to pay for instruments, session musicians, studio time, producers, mastering services -- and an initial pressing* which will be sufficient to repay the loan once it is sold. The copyright documents and master recording are retained by the lender, and are only released to the artist when (and if) the loan is repaid in full.
Once the loan has been paid off (from CD sales / downloads, and perhaps even ahead of schedule if the artist has been gigging like mad in the meantime and not overdoing the chemicals), all rights revert to the artist; who is then at liberty to pay for another pressing with any distribution company, not necessarily the one recommended by the lender.
There is still room for money to be made at every stage of the process, but artists would not be tied to big labels as they are today. It's likely that there would continue to be "package deals" where one company handles everything on the artist's behalf (and swallows it if they bomb); but seasoned performers with a bit of cash under their belt already would be more likely to approach the recording studios and distributors directly. Some of the "finance companies" might just be collectives of artists forming something akin to the original 19th century idea of a building society. And the possibility of different companies competing to distribute the same artist's works is a very interesting one.
* Terminology for convenience. I'm talking as if the product was a physical CD, but obviously it's possible that it could be made available for download. Or any combination. It's the lender's choice; all they want is to get their money back as quickly as possible, but not so quickly that they lose out on interest payments.