In 2009, the Black Eyed Peas released “I Gotta Feeling” and changed the trajectory of 21st Century pop to EDM pop with hip hop production values.
In 2011, “We Found Love” made EDM mainstream.
In 2012, Spotify entered the US market and changed music distribution.
In 2013, Avicii consolidated modern pop without help of a Rihanna.
And then? Nothing. Music is like television, like politics, there is no middle ground. Everybody goes to their own corner and comes out fighting and while an occasional “Hello” might define the culture for a week or two, that doesn’t mean they are the culture and, with the possible exception of Taylor Swift’s 2017, I don’t foresee popular music mattering too much. The problem is that when I was a kid my dad would sing “Hey Joe” to me. Why? Because despite his Frank Sinatra bias, he heard it on the radio. The problem with modern pop isn’t modern pop, it is a disparate audience with no middle ground and nowhere to discover one.
That won’t change, nothing will change. Remember how the 20th century was one music revolution after another? Well, so is 2017 only no one is listening. What if they had a revolution and nobody came? Musical genius didn’t die because I grew old, it is still there, you can hear it everyday. Musical genius didn’t die but what difference does it make if no one plans to listen to it?
In 2017, music will be the same as any other cultural barometer: a niche and specialist art form