Mark Bernstein just blogged about the need to avoid the "temptation... [of] the mass audience" and the promise of hypertext to help us do just that. I think I was trying to get at something like that when I called Yo la tengo my heroes, because I think they have succeeded in finding a middle ground between mass appeal based on compromise and a purity that yields only irrelevance and isolation. In any case, this is, I think, what the Indie music scene is about: creating the means so that musicians can work and record without being controlled by the demands of mass appeal. What worries me (and this would apply also to Mark's comments on hypertext) is that people keep missing this point. Many people, it seems, would rather beat the system than change it. The enduring rock and roll dream is not to be on an indie label that allows you freedom to pursue your musical vision and to have a small but ardent fanbase interested in sharing your vision. The dream is to Make It Big, whatever the cost. Likewise, the 90s dot-com bubble was fueled by people who wanted to cash in on a craze rather than really revolutionize the way people conduct business. I would like to share Mark's optimism about a brave new many-to-many world -- I agree that the potential is there -- but I find it hard to believe that it will ever overcome the din of broadcast.