I wonder what megaphone manufacturers did when modern amplification technology came along.

The point you are making here is a good one. The valuation of music and even film IP assets must include a market reduction for the extent to which modern technology has changed the economics of the situation.

So many times the debate centers around issues that are nearly past their relevance. The DRM issue still evokes such passionate rage, but the curtain will close on DRM because it fails to work as a matter of technology and of market acceptance. Time begins to show that piracy will arise from people who smuggle out copies from the masters before one even gets to college kids on
the ‘net.

The RIAA mass lawsuit binge proved to be about as disastrous a public relations action as could be imagined. Its main impact is for dinner-party anecdotes about how to destroy any good will an industry association might have built up.

The real estate analogy with music IP is useful.
Once, the creation of a specialized limited set of artists provided to the consumer through a carefully-controlled distribution-and-radio-hegemony marketing mode was seen as the “highest and best use” for music “property”. Now, the laws of technology zoning have changed. Music still can be “monetized”, but it may be that licensing it to accompany the daily news on Sunday may be a simpler way for the artist than the hassles of a record deal. It may be that recorded music is something best used for licensing.

It’s clear that whereas the old-time “open house” to sell music was a tightly-controlled radio or concert presence, liberal sharing by the artist is a more likely way to make the “sale”.

On a different road, far from the madding crowd of commerce, I am intrigued by the idea of a set of ideas like those Scandinavian countries that provide that everyone has an easement which permits them to walk on anyone else’s land. In my vision, people make music a “folkway”, where everyone can share and cross. It’s the creation of these free footpaths that interests me the most.