Music Week have highlighted the old perennial argument again (http://www.musicweek.com/news/read/poll-is-the-music-industry-s-output-largely-formulaic-and-predictable/057240) : According to Island records’ Jon Turner there aren’t enough great bands out there. Lily Allen points the finger at labels.
Personally I blame the general public. Yes, that means you and me. There are so many unbelievably great unheralded songs you’ve never heard on the internet – but most of won’t spend time finding it. We end up relying on gatekeepers; either music press, radio or of course labels to tell us what’s out there rather than trying it ourselves.
The problem with that is that those gatekeepers all have their own agenda, usually making profit (even a lot of blogs); and they believe (with some justification) that the majority of people aren’t that interested in music apart from as background noise. Brave and Experimental don’t fit that description. Lily’s argument (extrapolated and summarised) is that people would listen to whatever they’re given, so if Radio 1 and 2 playlisted Zappa / Seftel / HotHeadShow regularly eventually it would change people’s taste. Jon believes people are inherently conservative in their taste – the vanilla ice-cream and Magnolia paint argument.
Of course the alternative is time consuming and frustrating – sift through lots of bandcamp and soundcloud pages on the offchance of finding something great. Which is why we can only blame ourselves when we’re spoonfed bland bands and tunes.