Mainstream and Art

Where is the line drawn between popular culture and fine artistic practice?

Due to my current work in repurposing electronic/electronic dance music with concert/rave imagery I can't help but wonder what it is about these works that reject the art world? What aspects leave us conceptually yearning for more with the works?

People argue the legitimacy of pop music as "Real" music... 


And some argue whether music is art altogether...






And this is where my musings in and around the subject, including, my current art work comes from.

I distinctly recall being told by another student during my time in GCSE music that we have to use sheet music and musics traditions, and we cannot use music artistically without it fitting into the exact tradition of how it's done. "That's just how it's done." 

Why do we use 3/4, 4/4, time signatures etc, and why do we use such specific keys within our music.? These are but a few of the music legacies continued centuries on from the formalisation of music (as I see it).

Why do the aesthetics of music have to be so tied-up in logic and math, for something which (as I see it) should be creative and experiential?

Although, it could be viewed that the masses are attracted to the music that is based on the mathematical and pattern based music creation process, "The Cream always rises to the Top" and surely that makes my arguments invalid. The contrast to this is if we look at Edward Bernays, inventor of consumerism. Bernays believed that the masses were sheep that could be easily swayed by popular opinion (see more. Google also this amazing BBC Documentary). My thinking in relation to the Bernays is do we enjoy this style of music because we've been mentally conditioned to respond positively to it or is there something hardwired to us that makes us enjoy a specific tone and beat progression? 

The differences of music tastes from culture to culture would lead us to believe so. A very interesting development being in South Korea where their look towards becoming more of a Western Culture has brought about a parallel to 90's UK popular boyband and girlband music.

Who is directly in charge of the influences  on our music culture? Do they do this to continue the drive of sales similar to fashion?