Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Volume I, by Charles Mackay
We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.
And then we have Tin Pan Alley – ‘find out what sells, write it till it stops selling, then find the next thing that sells.’ (uncredited – can’t remember where I read it).
The basis of Popular Culture. It’s not what you like, it’s what the herd like – hence Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, Ministry of sound.
To paraphrase Frank Zappa – people don’t want anything new, they want a beat they can dance to and a melody they recognise – What they want is a beat and melody that everyone else recognises.