For instance, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, an underground music revolution was taking place in Seattle, aptly called "grundge" due to the unkempt, unshaven, and slovenly appearance of the band members who were producing this "new" type of music. Independent bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana, were known locally on the Seattle club scene, however, the rest of the country was not aware of this independent movement in music. However, it would not be long before the popularity of this new sound caught the eyes and ears of commercial music labels, which signed many of these bands to recording contracts. Once this occurred, the public was given a taste of grundge and Nirvana and other similar bands became superstars and commercially successful throughout the country, and even the world. This culturally unique music, once only played in the underground clubs of Seattle, was now commercially viable and its authenticity was somewhat lost in the process.
Although authenticity may be lost by virtue of commercialism, the authenticity of a product or practice may actually increase its commercial value (Szekely 93). ...
Once those in the public get wind of the latest trend or the newest "authentic" music, they too want to be part of the experience or the movement. Therefore, more of the music is sold, which increases its commercial value tremendously.
What Are the Implications When Commercialism Destroys Authenticity, Yet Increases Commercial Value
One major implication of these two phenomenons working together is that authenticity is lost and commercialism is increased, however, it is the authentic nature of the product or practice that propelled it into commercial popularity. Furthermore, this would suggest that authenticity is a fleeting thing, and is stripped once commercialism takes hold and.
Authenticity and commercialism are not mutually exclusive as, ironically, it is authenticity that can propel a product or practice to commercial success. Therefore, commercialism is only detrimental to a product or practice in the destruction of its authenticity, but is instrumental in giving an authentic product, success and notoriety.
Szekely, Michael. "Pushing the Popular, or toward a Compositional Popular Aesthetics."
Popular Music and Society 29.1 (2006):