To get to the point, not only do the download sites I was talking about take part of the profits of the artist, they also are in control of the platform the artist makes their money on. Downloads can happen on any site for free or for a fee (if you know how to set it up), why bring web traffic and attention away from the artist's website and to these download hubs? The answer is because while record labels could provide an artist money that they needed for the distribution of their art, these download sites provide attention and validification that the artist needs to make a living. That is disempowerment. It's less clear than with record labels, but it is still there. A similar thing happened to animators on Youtube [video here]. In short, being out of control of the platform on which your art is commodified is a huge disadvantage and forces artists to compromise their creations.
In my eyes, if artists took control of the distribution of their art, and took their music off of these downloading sites and onto their own websites, there could be a creative environment even more conducive to making great music without limitation. Not only would this be a technological transition, it would largely be a cultural one as well. People are very funny about downloading things and are very funny about sites they haven't been on before, not without good reason.
I don't know if it would be well received by those who would want to pay for art, really. And I don't know what I am going to do with my EP when I'm done with it. All I know for sure is that I constantly wish to be able to create with less non-art things on my mind.