I'm pretty sure that the statistical demons are already being used to summon chart-topping muzak at the pleasure of the hedge funds, although that wouldn't be something they'd want to draw too much attention to for obvious reasons.

Punk was pretty clearly a reaction to all this. They attempted to make themselves radioactive to the labels by adopting offensive symbolism, language, and sound. Didn't work. The labels saw the popularity, grabbed the aesthetic, cored it, and paraded around their pet bands wearing the look and sound like a skin suit. It's an archetypal example of the life cycle, from street to Wall Street, that every genre seems to follow.

The Internet, however, does seem to have partially interrupted that cycle. The atemporality has resulted in a sort of cultural freeze. Big label pop has gotten stuck into a permanent state of overproduced, algorithmically optimized, lowest-common denominator soullessness. Meanwhile mass culture has shattered into a million different subcultures, which continue to create a dizzying array of often really excellent, really creative sounds ... none of which can achieve mass appeal. They can't 'break on through to the other side', but they're also protected from being coopted, simply because the globohomomegacorp has no interest in them.

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John already mentioned punk (and its co-option). I'd argue rap experienced a similar street-to-Wall Street conversion, almost in parallel. Rap in the early 80's was essentially black punk rock, rebelling against the corporatized Motown sound. It had flair and humor, and included some novel, ad hoc tech to produce itself. Now, I can't think of any genre more corporatized and stale.

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