Chalk One Up for the Interweb!
Ever since forever, music industry execs have formed the parasitic half of the perversely dysfunxional not-quite-symbiotic relationship between artist and record label. Musicians need someone to market, produce (editorially), and produce (manufactorially*) their art. Music executives, on the other hand, need money. Lots and lots of money. Because, you see, they suffer from hypodenaria, and must crush literally hundreds of thousands of high-value banknotes and credit cards into an unpalattable paste, and inject same into their recta, every day, lest they fall into a coma of only-just-more-than-enough-money shock.
Unfortunately, as we all well know, when the music industry is run by - er - the music industry, the result is hundreds of hump-'em-and-dump-'em clone-artists picked up by execs because when all music sounds the same, it must therefore all be great, and ergo make me much more money. I listened to a few "XTREME" radio stations whilst I was in the States, and the only way that I was able to discern one song from the next was the ten-minute commercial break between them. As far as I can tell, labels had latched onto the success of Queens of the Stone Age in the metal department, and Green Day in the pop-punk department, and were trying to force bands with literally fractions as much lyrical inspiration and musical innovation (perhaps excluding Greenday from the latter) as these two groups into their already-overflowing molds.
Then, one day, the interweb came along. Word-of-mouth and popular opinion were suddenly promoted from merely The Most Trustworthy Method of Publicity to The Most Effective Method of Publicity. Mass panic ensued, and music executives sued everyone ever in order to stockpile emergency supplies of arse-money. The world as we knew it began to crumble before our very eyes! Small labels produced mighty chart-topping bands! Regional, unassuming indy artists scored Numbers One without even signing a record deal! Dogs were born with superfluous pseudopodia, and the People of the West started chasing each other with frying pans and eating their own young!
Let's make the most of it before somebody works out how to recommercialise music, shall we?
*It's a word. Fuck you.