There was a time when all a musician had to worry about was playing their horn.
At that time, their focus was on creating the best music they possibly could. Someone else would record, edit, market, sell, and publish their work. This was a good deal that most musicians were fine with, usually because it was the only available choice.
The big downside to that arrangement is that someone else also owned their work. Musicians would sell their rights to their music to a publisher or record label, and that company would pay them a small advance as well as a small percentage of revenue generated by sales, but only after the advance was paid back. Read more