The Washington Post has a good article about how the internet has rekindled interest in all kinds of niche music.

Music used to be pure performance: one or more musicians at a specific place and time. Each performance unique: POHO, Play Once, Hear Once.

With the advent of commercially available recorded performance in the 1880’s music entered a new world: POHM, Play Once, Hear Many.

Just as the advent of writing enabled the persistent storage of words, recording enables the persistent storage of sounds. And just as the writerly world borrows themes, styles and stories from earlier writers, we now see, with sampling, earlier performances intercut with new ones. Some groups, like Radiohead, even sample their own shows and use the samples during the show in real time.

Thanks to high fidelity recording and storage technologies, the world of music can incorporate the kind of sophisticated references the written world has enjoyed for millennia. With the advent of cheap massive storage we’ve just begun to see the impact on our modern new media.