The Internet has so fragmented music that there may never be another big act like U2. But that’s just fine for music critic Greg Kot, author of Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. “Art thrives best when it’s created without regard to making any kind of compromise,” he tells Time, saying labels have long forced artists to adapt to mainstream tastes.
“If you’ve got a taste for Polish jazz or Estonian hip-hop, you can find something on the web,” Kot adds, noting that the demand for music is higher than ever. “Just because a listener downloads a piece of music doesn’t mean the industry has a lost sale. If you’re a good band, your fans are going to want every piece of what you put out.”