Music is such a volatile and unpredictable market. You never know when a song will take off or not. Why risk taking a one-time work-for-hire fee for a few hundred dollars when you can have X% ownership? Owning and registering a publishing percentage ensures fair compensation if the release sells well. (For a quick crash course on royalties, rights, and publishing, check out our free course, How to Get All the Royalties You Never Knew Existed.)
The promise of the era was that through intellectual property reform, we would move to a more artist-friendly and less commercial music business. But the more things change, the more things stay the same.