Re: Could the tide be changing?
I'm not a fan of Adele at all, but I can see that there is something refreshingly different about her music when compared to the likes of Rhianna. I think this article pretty much nails how I feel about much of this. I'm not sure yet that the worst of it is over - but I'm starting to see grass roots musicians changing the way they think of production values (which I think is the most important part of the way things have to change) because the smaller labels are starting to clock that commercial music aesthetic (and the 'commercial sound') are a complete dead-end. It's just taken ten years of throwing their heads against the brick wall in the dead-end alley to make them realise this.
Now, with a commercially-successful singer like Adele demonstrating that sometimes it can be more than simply (as the article puts it) 'faux-pornography', you'll likely see the suits in the bigger record companies dropping what they're currently doing and chasing after the 'new' money. That might finally open the door again to something different (like Adele has shown) and we might just see a few exciting artists breaking through the inevitable cash-ins.