I only want to talk about the notion that 'classical' anything is somehow more artistic as well as requireing more talant than the 'popular' arts.... I remember seeing the world's prima ballerina on Oprah one day... don't remember anything about the show except for the fact that at the end they were playing music and there were other artists there. The music contained a syncopated beat and that prima ballerina couldn't find the beat if I had went up there and clapped her hands for her.
Another example I'll show you is from So You Think You Can Dance
Why couldn't this dancer who dances to more complex music in a much more complex/talented area ballet could barely perform the more simplistic hip hop routine.
The question is can you learn to have rhythm like you can learn to stand on point? Yet there are snobs out there (some in this thread I'm sure) who probably would think a ballet dancer as being the more talented artist.
There is no way to compare who has more talent or which music requires more talent. Yes today because of big business they have removed 'talent' from the popular music format but that does not mean that in the past 'popular' artist weren't as talented as anyone else. Just because a musical piece isn't as complex or more simple than something else doesn't make it lesser as a matter of fact making something simple yet profound is quite difficult.
That's like comparing Haiku poetry to sonnets.... It should never be done.
Anyway, mainstream music sucks today because it's just about making money and money ONLY. At least back in the day people could sing, or play instruments well, or do all of that and write.
I'm sorry but saying there's no difference between Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, and Prince than lets say aw hell I can't even think of someone even worth mentioning in the same paragraph .....
I'm only talking about new artists though there are still some talented people making music that get played on the radio.... He's crazy and nasty but one thing he can do is write a song and that's R. Kelly.
BTW, I like Adele but other than Rolling in the Deep, and Chasing Payments.... her music makes me want to snooze a little ... she needs better material to highlight her voice.
So to answer the question mainstream music played on the radio has gone in the crapper. Hell if nothing else we have lost diversity in artist. The radio use to play a lot of artists now they rotate the same ten to 15 songs over and over to you are about to puke. Which is why I guess I listen to the oldies stations. Speaking of which there were not nearly as many oldie stations in the past as there are now. Hopefully, the internet and streaming music will help diversify the amount of artists one gets to hear on the radio but who knows.