Caught between a rock and Her Majesty
Sasha, mon frere: we (we United Statesians, that is) aren't just "missing out on grime"; we seem to be missing out on virtually any music that's not sung in English, or indeed, not sung at all. Rave culture — and not just the "descendants of rave" that Richard X may shoehorn into his productions — is alive and well on the Continent, if not selling at poptastic levels. (Here is one place where record sales fail to tell the whole story, because I'd wager there are tens of thousands of clubbers routinely dancing to rave music, but not actually buying the stuff.)
Re: grime: I'd also like to know how its "three or four fantastically energetic singles every month" — though I would guess, not charting like Dizzee did — fit into a discussion of pop. Is it pop because you, a (relative) popist, like it? Or are there structural reasons that make it pop? And if it pops structurally, how might we articulate that structure, in order to determine what other countries and cultures create pop music that's also ignored by the U.S. public?
Please note that I'm not merely bitching and moaning that "my" music seems invisibler than ever in the U.S. (although that it does); I'm genuinely interested in how we might formulate a definition of pop music (because ultimately I do believe that techno is pop music, albeit in pop's most elastic sense) that would allow us to address why, say, heavily percussive, computer-based, instrumental, eight-minute tracks — that may or may not carry many of the same sonic thrills as snap music — aren't just unpopular Stateside, but deemed unworthy even of critical attention, as social phenomena (the "only Euroweenies like them" dismissal I've heard from more than a few editors/writers) and musical productions alike.
Is it because internationalism has no identity politics to back it up?
P.S. I do remember that you charted DJ Koze in yr year-end thingy in the New Yorker, and I'm still glad about that. I mention this only as a way of reiterating that my query isn't personal.
P.P.S. Does anyone know the actual origin of the "50,000 [X] fans" (or maybe it's 50,000,000) "can't be wrong" trope came from? I always assumed it was Elvis, but just the other day I saw a similar conceit dating from, I believe, the '20s (sadly, can't remember what it was), leading me to believe it's been around much longer. Anyone? Beuhler?