Depending on which generation or social rank people are from and eventually what niche market they belong to, it's always sucked: this argument has been made over and over again, and the reasoning behind it is always the same - we'd be supposedly witnessing the dawn of an era of total corruption of art and all things valuable to mankind.
That's what was tought and written by some of the best musical minds when the Beatles came up - some of the greatest composers and musicians from the 20th century thought that the very experience of listening to a recording was "invalid" or "unauthentic" - that disc running in circles and playing produced a surrogate of music at best. So the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and many bands you probably love have all been targeted for having destroyed the spiritual heritage of humanity. Not even Jazz, which people think nowadays is something sophisticated, was spared: influential and prolific German Philosopher Theodor Adorno famously bashed jazz as barbarism in music on one of his essays - and he was one of the most bright and fierce critics of capitalism in his own time: he thought that Beatles, Rock and Roll and all that was just one step further towards the abyss. He was himself a brilliant pianist and had studied under Alban Berg.
But when Alban Berg teacher came up, Arnold Schoenberg, his arrival was met with the same charges: he had damaged and destroyed music; there came someone who finally wiped out all the classic beauty in one of the few areas which people deemed protected - music.
And you can go on back in time and find this kind of criticism all around.
There's nothing more anachronistic, more 19th Century secular millenialism-sounding as the idea of the "end of history" and the "end of art".
By the 70's, it was said by people who related to different kinds of sound that rock music and all its branches were nothing but meaningless noise designed in such a way as to appeal to people's irrationality and herd instinct.
The same argument about the age of technology - one is tempted to think of Heidegger... - and consumption destroying all the spiritual heritage of mankind has been made ever since the middle of the last century.
What would one do? Throw all his cds and his computer out the window?
Humanity has been mostly harmed in a very material and straightforward sense through unbridled violence. From the European blood baths which went on for centuries and culminated in those totalitarian regimes of the middle of the last century up until the genocides and wars of our own time, humanity has been threatened in a much more material way.
People who ruled Germany back in the 1930's up to 1945 used the same language as they carried out the one, if not the, most shameful chapter in the history of humanity - the systematic and barbaric wipping out of millions of innocent human beings justified by a racist and disgusting ideology. They too condemned both capitalism and communism; they thought that everything which deviated from the classical heritage was "Jewish art", "bolshevik art", "degenerated music". All the modern artists - from Schoenberg to Picasso - were dismissed this way. Later on, the "Beatles" were deemed so dangerous that to some regimes their music couldn't even enter the borders of its respective countries.
There's brilliant music throughout. Brilliant music being listened to by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world at a fair cost for the first time. People from all over the world getting in contact with each other and sharing their tastes and experiences.
And there's, of course, the very real threat of weapons, as always - the fear that not music or art, but entire populations might be wipped out from the face of the earth is fully justified.
It's even possible to kill hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, for instance, and preserve the "spiritual heritage" by bringing to American museums some of the most ancient pieces of art we know of. In a very ironic sense, if it were not for the destruction caused by the war, I'd probably never have seen those pieces. The art, with all the scholarship and museums surrounding it, is still preserved.
But what about the lives of those people?
So, relax, enjoy yourself and open up your mind for all kinds of wonderful music being done by artists from all backgrounds.