How does a person in the music industry get paid? They get paid royalties based on what role they played in the production. The writers of the words and music get paid a royalty. The artist that recorded the track gets paid a royalty. The producers get their cut as well. They get paid via ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for public performances such as radio and Internet plus the Internet has it's own payment structure. Most of this payment structure has been in place for decades ... tracing back to when songs were only sold on albums and eight tracks. The main change in the process coming from new fees when someone discovered they were not getting paid for a distribution channel.
This explains the process up to the point where the pile of bits comes out of the production company as finished product. Let's leave the distribution of the product out of it for a moment.
Is this not essentially the same as a movie or TV series up to the same point?
Lots of people contribute in various ways - one produces a pile of bits with nothing but sound; the other produces a pile of bits with sound and picture.
It's the distribution channels that are currently different. One was recently disrupted and the other is still entrenched.
How about video production and the movies? With linear distribution a channel is paying for rights to air based on the number of subscribers and expected audience. Subscribers are paying for the channels whether they watch or not. Someone who owns the rights to a production can make money simply by contracting with a channel to carry their content. Or they can create their own channel to sell to satellite and cable. In recent years content owners have been able to add this income by selling DVDs, BluRays, digital copies and streaming. But the backbone of their income is the linear channel.
TV channels buy content from a production company that it may or may not have a minority ownership in. Exclusive rights to distribute, at least in a geographic area (for example, US vs UK). Then bundle a bunch of this stuff to make a stream, often repeating over and over, called a channel. They then super bundle these channels and induce (to varying degrees) proxies/carriers to distribute to consumers.
Very similar to music being bundled onto a CD, distributed through a label, packaged into super bundles, and pushed onto retail stores to distribute to consumers.
Many hold the view that the TV supply chain has to be this way. I do not. No more than the music industry had to be the way it was. Most retail music stores are gone. Places still selling music do so as a minor part of their floor space as an incentive to get people in - and I'd wager that is fading quickly and won't be around much longer. Music labels are likewise becoming less and less useful as the artist/production company can just go straight to iTunes or whatever.
A la carte attacks the backbone. If people are able to pick and choose their linear channels it is a given that less people will choose certain channels than are currently forced to subscribe via the tier system. (If people would subscribe to every channel willingly there would be no call for a la carte.) Reduce the number of subscribers to a channel and one reduces the expected audience. Producers selling content to linear distribution end up making less money. They don't like making less money. In order to make up for the less money they need to either charge linear channels more (which translates to higher costs for the linear channels which will certainly be passed on to the subscribers) or they will need to charge non-linear customers more. Does anyone believe a mainstream video producer wants LESS money for their work?
Anyone who thinks that a la carte can be put in place and magically all the prices remain the same per channel or per content is only deceiving themselves. And anyone who thinks a linear channel would go a la carte unless there was no other option is likewise deceived.
A similar argument was made about music and it hasn't cost the consumer more. It's probably true some are making less money in music. It's also probably true that some are no longer working in that business (like retail music stores). Why is that a problem? Consumers voted on how they viewed the value of the product and it is what it is.
Understandable that the TV biz doesn't want to kill it's cash cow. Too bad. The TV biz brought this on themselves with greed and waste. These trends won't be stopped. Adapt or die.
Your argument just states the way it is - not the way it must be. It's nothing but speculation regarding what affect a change would cause. We have an example of a drastic change in the music industry that is a whole lot more convincing than speculation.