I remember, when I estimated myself being punk some time ago. Looking back always blurs reality, but what I remember is our quite sophisticated taste or better a sense of distinction we had.
We knew who we were rather by knowing who is not us, then by a deeper reflection of ourselves. What I mean is, that cultural taste-peer-groups are based on a common understanding of who is part of this group and who is not. The tools to draw this lines are provided by taste, by a subjective decision what I/my peer group likes, and what I/my peer group does not like.
This is not an assumption but a well described and very basic cultural technique in our society for at least a few hundred years. Upper nobility knew exactly the details that drew the distinction to the lower gentry, and both knew why merchants would never be peers, no matter how rich and educated they became. So our punk/not punk distinction was just the very same scheme then it is in every single culture.
If you break this down into the entertainment business the effects are quite obvious.
A peer group – call it fans – only can work if people have the chance to descried, choose, pick, and inversely can dislike stuff. So the act of buying music from one specific artist is not only an economical act, but also a cultural technique of affiliation / assignment.
Now there are a number of reasons, experts do see a music flat rate as the only way to earn any money, but I say it is the only way to get rid of fans too.
I’ll elaborate this the next few days…