|ok, for the obvious one first:|
it being easier than any other point in history to get something recorded and out there is a double edged sword. there's both records that are great that may not ever have been made otherwise, but an ocean of crap to swim through to find them.
a more subtle effect:
i'm finding this most strongly in diy punk: being a record geek is easier than ever, especially with just prowling blogs for up to the minute free music. most new bands sound like a reductive version of their influences, and not like three to five people making music in a room. it's like you don't hear anything of the people who are making the music in the music. i think it's also significant that a lot of new bands are named after songs of older bands that they sound like a more reduced version of. it's getting like a civil war reenactment sometimes.
also, you can skip the awkward trying to figure out what you like stage much sooner and skip straight to whatever the cool kid record geeks like, and file sharing has destroyed the "well, we only made 500 copies so not everyone can hear this" limiting effect. the problem is that those awkward stages expose you to lots of music, and a better informed listener is usually a better musician.
anyway, the punks mostly just get cranky when i try to talk to them about this, and this seems like a more receptive audience.
it's probably happening other places too.