lol. im drunk/whyatever so i cant rea;;y respond atm, i'll edit this post in the morning.. :))
do i agree? NO!
we're talking about pop music. when has that ever been good? LOL. pop music was good in like the 60s/70s man, you know when musicians could actually play their instruments. actually i'm joking when i say that, in the UK chart music is quite ok, and musicians are actually amazing nowadays. it's just that the US marketplace is a festering heap of shit if i'm honest.
we have such a wide variety of stuff over here, and most of it isn't autotuned T-pain wannabes! that isn't saying that good music sells the most copies in the UK, ofcourse it doesn't, but it sells enough to sustain an artist! plus no one should be relying on album/single sales alone anymore.
there are TONS of good bands/artists right now, and they can all make decent livings for themselves. i could go into london, do a 360 degree turn in a random street and probably find 3 or 4 bands that could all be at SXSW if it actually mattered to them. all unsigned/on small indies, doing most of the work for themselves. is it hard? yes. is it impossible? no!
just because you don't hear these artists constantly on the radio doesn't mean they aren't there. infact the radio is dying. for example, in the UK the BBC is about to cutback some of its services (including the best one, 6 music - http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Save-6-Music/318069702319?ref=ts
well guess what? that group may only have 70k fans, but if all those fans then move onto a streaming site, then that is a huge source of revenue for the site operator, and for the bands involved. and that will happen, trust me! it already is as we speak! streaming will kill radio. stone cold. and it will be a good thing, because then you won't have to listen to major record company playlists!
go on last.fm , type in your favourite band , listen to their 'radio station' - it will just be tons of bands like them! and if you like the original band then there is a chance you'll like the secondary. and if you don't then it doesn't matter, you can skip the song anyway.
write them all down in a notepad, pick the top 5 bands (on personal taste/music quality NOT hits), go and watch them at a gig. if you like them then buy a t-shirt. if you really like them then buy one of their CD's from them personally
the music business is a tough industry to survive in if you're mediocre. if you're a good band with a good manager and a good marketing strategy then you will be fine. if you suck? then give up now because even if all the major's burned down tomorrow it would not get any easier. infact it would be much harder for the majority of people!
i realise you're not talking specifically about the future, but i am. there will always be 'poor' quality music in the charts, but people obviously like it enough to buy it. but if you're a good band/artist/producer/DJ then people will buy your shit too!
i may have missed the point/your poin entirely, but whatever, i felt like i needed too.