Re: Pop Music in General
None of it bugs me, actually, but I'm not trying to make a living out of drumming. As far as I'm concerned it's a matter of "whatever it takes" to get the desired result. I don't care if it's a clapping machine, quantisation, or a robot named Brian that gives the music an enjoyable edge, as long as it works.
Having said that, I do think a lot of people get a kick out of skilled performers live. When it comes to studio work the percentage of people who get off on hot musicianship shrinks dramatically, especially with women. At that point, it's more about lyrics, general meaning and mood, timbres, grooves and melodies. Whether it's a machine or person doing it matters only to a small minority. That's fair enough. If it sounds good and does it for you then the liner notes don't matter unless you like someone's playing enough to follow their other work.
(Exception is vocalists: e.g. all the guys who on hearing Pavlov's Dog's Julia say, "Wow! That chick has such a strong, sexy voice!" before the inevitable letdown on finding that the "chick" was David Surkamp. The fact that he's singing "I can't live without your love" to "Julia" either suggests fantasies about bedding two hot lesbians or not paying attention, almost always the latter).
I agree with MFB that the fetish for perfection is annoying. While I say, "whatever it takes', that's whatever it takes to sound good. I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories but I've long suspected that record companies try to squeeze out indie artists by raising the bar and training people's ears to expect music polished by heaps of expensive gear (and studio time). I mean, when it's a work of art like Aja or Dark Side of the Moon or Sgt Peppers etc then by all means spend lots of time and $$ to create the masterpiece. But Joe Bloggs and his four cute friends who write catchy pop tunes just don't need all the polish.
The net is good; it opens things up and makes it harder for record companies to control.