Ok, then I think it's just a degree of how much someone is informed then, the level of how much a person is involved in sub-cultures vs mainstream. People who passively take in media from mainstream sources only know about what's on the surface so they aren't aware there are sub-cultures and appreciations for certain artists; they don't know those worlds exist.
I think where we differ is you put more importance on the majority and mainstream than I do as far as what is declared as valid.
If only 400 people were excited to hear a certain dj was spinning at Studio 54 in the 70's (if were were to pretend it wasn't well known back then), then I would say there's a culture that appreciates a dj, it may not be the mainstream or majority but who cares?
That's the difference, passive attendance ie the mainstream who don't delve further into the media they're passively taking in obviously aren't as interested in the art as the people who dive further into it (going to shows, getting to know the players history and following the breadcrumbs into more and/or lesser known works). Which means the mainstream isn't a valid gauge.
The fact that millions of people will pay attention and money to hacks is the gauge that shows they're not a good gauge. When you're young and green you think something is popular because it's good, not because it's been payed to be advertised everywhere and stuffed down the public throat until they give in and swallow it in hopes that it will shut the hype up (nope).
So to me the subculture that gives more of a fuck is more valid than the general public who willingly give themselves up to whatever the trend is to fit in.
Most people weren't aware of all the subcultures existed because they didn't have the internet. You aren't going to know that there were horse-cart wheel enthusiasts in the 19th century because there was no Pinterest. Doesn't mean they didn't exist, and just because there were only 20 of them doesn't none of them evolved the horse_cart wheel.
There's an entire industry around dj'ing and production because you can get a controller for a couple of hundred and pirate a copy of Traktor or Live if you want and play at your friends party.
There are billions of samples, contruction kits, stems, a capellas you can down for free (legally or not) and paint by numbers in minutes to make the crowd jump up and down.
It's cheap to make and it's cheap to buy. It's cheaper to fly one guy with a backpack than it is to fly a band and their their equipment. Of course there's and industry revolving around that and of course they're going to make the consumer think how easy it is to get to the pedestal.
Why weren't their millions of teenagers wanting to become superstar dj's in the 80's and 90's? There was still plenty of great electronic music and gear. It wasn't until the dj was put on the pedestal which means the music takes a backseat to the glorification of the person playing it. I can spend 20 years explaining why Battle Royale is better than Hunger games but that doesn't mean tons of people aren't aware or appreciate it. It just means there are people who don't pay attention as much to a field as you do.
In the end though, IMO, it doesn't matter. 'The evolution of electronic music'. I think it's a bit naive to think that the mainstream has to be aware of and embrace 'electronic music' for it to evolve. On top of that, the mainstream is mostly going to hear a mainstream watered down exploitation of some better electronic track that they've never heard. If some producer decides to do something closely resembling Aphex Twin as a backing track to some'The Voice' winner, and the general public hears it on the radio and think it's the most genius thing they've never heard before, they still have no idea that a (probably) better version of that music existed 20+ years ago, while a huge culture is totally aware of Aphex Twin.
So, mainstream is invalid, it's just a school of fish following each other wherever. And the art will evolve because of the people who genuinely appreciate and work on it, regardless of if it's only a few originators. In the end it will come to the surface where millions of hacks will exploit it and get the recognition they don't deserve. Marketing machine comes along with dollars in it's eyes and there's your industry.
So sure, it creates jobs, that's a plus, I suppose if there are innovations in the ways that people create music through different types of gear then that's an evolution (like when guitar distortion came about), but I just don't think there's that much of a difference when it comes to numbers of people. Quality vs quantity.
Well, I probably came across as condescending making redundant and simple explanations but that wasn't my intent.
Still, I bet there wouldn't be as much backlash if Minaj was headlining, because she isn't a talentless has-been.
All purist views aside, everything influences everything, and mainstream lies at the foundation of most peoples introduction to music.
I am far from interested in mainstream culture, and have very little connection to it. I am talking about the long term result and nothing to do with validity of pop artistry. I agree, it's irrelevant from a musical standpoint. Yet, from a cultural standpoint, I find it very relevant.