There's a bit of consternation about what is going on with musical artists and the music industry in the wake of widespread dissemination of music digitally. The ease of moving music around as bits, whether illegally (pirating) or legally (streaming), has clearly shifted the playing field in this domain.
A recurring theme in discussions on this is the idea that these changes are screwing over many musical artists -- pirating simply deprives them of income, the payouts from streaming are not comparable to what they have traditionally received. Sometimes there is pushback: critics who indicate that the musicians need to adapt to the new market realities and accept that their economic position has changed. To caricature it, it's the "Once the car came along, horse whip manufacturers had to adapt or die." type of idea. Musicians, and their advocates, often respond with "but music is art not horsewhips" and as such has a transcendent value that needs to be valued in its own right. I see this back and forth as a kind of tension or conflict between the role of musicians as artists and musicians as producers of economic goods.
The only way I can think of to try and get some perspective on this conflict is to step back and ask "What should the role of musicians be in contemporary society?", but I haven't been able to find any works that address the issues as I see them.
In the back of my mind I have Plato's Republic, a work that lays out ideas about what constitutes a "good" society, but doesn't speak too directly to today's world. I'd like to know what contemporary philosophers say about what a "good" modern, industrial society should do to support the arts.
There are some points about the role and value of copyright, for example as discussed by Lawrence Lessig, that get at the philosophical (more in the colloquial sense) underpinning of this aspect of how society can/should promote the arts, but I'm looking for more.
The only contemporary philosophical works on the role of artists in society that I've been able to find deal with the artist as shaper of public discourse, and don't get at how (or if) society should be structured to support artists in some special way, or the ways that artists should adapt to market forces.