I've went around and around with Apoleb (RIP) in here so I just can't be bothered to rehash all my arguments. Apoleb and I basically ended up with a semi-agreement and I think we basically agreed, just viewed it from different angles. I have nothing against pop music, and I listen to pop music far more than I listen to classical music. My argument was always just against pop snobbery that places artists like say Led Zeppelin or Joy Division at or near the pinnacle of music and innovation, and trashes "mainstream pop" as derivative and simple. When at the heart of it, the pop song format (which basically every single rock, pop, R&B, etc act uses) is at it's heart relatively simplistic compared to other forms of music. This is by no means a knock on it; I have nothing against it and enjoy the pop song form. But some people lack self-awareness to such an extent they can honestly take Joy Division and not realize their music is comparatively simple in form and substance.
i regularly come into conflicts with people who can't stand it that someone might put their favourite artists in the same category as some they despise but that's basically how it is. it's even worse with people who don't talk about artists but about genres being inherently better than some others. not to mention the talk about people making their own music, writing their own lyrics and playing their own instruments while others don't. i mean, come on. it is a legit approach if we say it's all a matter of taste but such people usually don't think it's all a matter of taste.
i think all pop music has its limits and that's not a bad thing. actually, it was mentioned here that punk wanted to make music more simple and that was a great idea. pop music is simple and that's how it should be. simplicity is not a weakness, it is a strength. it's like complaining that now everybody can make music rather than just people who can play instruments but i think it's good that making music is now easier than in the past.
the real problem of modern pop music is distribution. it's easy to make and publish music but it's very difficult to promote it. the music industry relies on the least risky acts for the most part which is why the music in the charts tends to suck indeed. they already had problems figuring out what to do with some truely "indie" music, like dance back in the 90's which had it's own dynamics while still relying on conventional (but alternative) distribution channels. but digital releases are just killing them. meanwhile, artists can get plenty of fans all around the globe but spread out thinly. it's not the same thing having 10,000 fans only in one city of a million people and having the same number of fans spread around the globe.