Should composers just give their music away? Some discussion at NewMusicbox. Well, not if we want to pay the rent. But all the economic models are shuddering in the age of digital downloads and music software. The two books on music I had published were both prepared by myself, i.e. "typeset" with page layout programs, word processing programs and music software. Why bother with a publisher? Can't we sell scores on Amazon as e-books? By the way, last summer I saw a string quartet performing from laptops instead of parts. Just hit a switch with your foot and the page turns. The invention of recordings provided an opportunity for gatekeepers to control the business. Prior to that a famous musician could only make as much money as he could obtain from ticket sales to one concert at a time. But if he could sell recordings, then he could make much more money. The record companies took a considerable share of this. Now, they do not have the power to control access to recorded music. No-one could make a good quality copy of an LP at home, but anyone can copy a digital recording. Similarly, anyone can 'publish' a music score these days.
At the link composers are discussing the need to distribute their music along with the desire to control distribution.