"With pop music now, it sometimes feels like the end of history. You can shuffle and reconfigure continuously. But it's interesting that in the midst of all this technologically-driven creativity there is a surge towards performance. In a way, we're going back to how it was before there was recording technology, when the song or piece of music existed only in performance and reinterpretation. People seem to want the communality of the live experience. They want to get out and be together as opposed to sitting alone, looking at a screen. The neurologist, Oliver Sacks, says that music is something that is never an isolated thing. You can organise a group and play and it can make you feel better in all sorts of ways. It can spread out into your whole life. That's an incredible thing."
from an interview at the Guardian about his new book How Music Works
I have a review of it in the new edition of Bookforum and one of the threads I draw out of the book is a semi-buried one about the conditions that encourage innovation in music
That Jonathan Lethem book on Fear of Music is ruddy excellent, let me tell you.
Here's a podcast he did with Andy Zax for LA Review of Books
And another interview, in Pitchfork's Paper Trail series.