I guess it's a fact that music will always eat itself to some extent. Musicians will always be influenced by other musical styles and this will have an affect on the material they produce. Nothing will ever sound 100% new and if it did it would probably alienate the audience anyway.
However, in the past few years there does seem to have been an influx in bands that "sound like X" or genres which are called things like 'Nu-X" or X-revival". There is a preoccupation (it seems) that artists remind us very directly of music we are already extremely familiar with and studios are on the look out for bands they can describe as the "new X".
Now I'm willing to accept that the reasons for this are complex and varied but the increase in this kind of 'culture' does seem to have coincided with the 're-boot' culture in movies.
You'll know about that - there are always films these days which are bringing a well known and iconic brand back from the past in order to cash in on it or there are sequels which try to resurrect beloved film brands from the past too.
One very interesting theory for the 're-boot' culture is that it's happened as a direct result of media saturation creating hyper-competition.
In the past the number of sources of media in which people could see a film was very small and that had a big impact because no matter how much creative output there was, only a small amount of it would make itself available to a wide audience and make a real impact. The theory goes on to explain that as media and entertainment has become progressively more and more complex and wide spread, this has saturated the market and made it more and more difficult in order to get recognised and make a wide impact. It helps if the film is good but it does it no harm if the audience is focused on it because there isn't anywhere else for them to go. This means that in the past brands in the movie industry tend to be more established - they have a had a bigger impact and are more recognisable to a wider audience than they would have been if they had been released today.
It kind of makes sense and it made me think that this same theory works just as well when you consider music too.
New bands and new 'scenes' tend to have a very tough time making an impact in a world where you can download like ten bands a week (whether we like it or not, you probably aren't restricted by your ability to pay either). So due to this, those bands which remind people of other more beloved bands from the past or musical scenes from a time when they had a bigger impact because there just wasn't an opportunity to hear that much stuff anyway, tend to do well.
Calling someone the new Michael Jackson is a good sell for a studio because the audience recognises that brand - it will be music that will sell because it's a powerful brand that's recognisable. But a band which is using a very radical and experimental new musical style won't make as big an impact or sell as well to a wider audience because it's drowned out by a market filled with a thousand others like it.
Now I accept a few people will have patience to hunt out something obscure like 'core-punk', 'Hyperdub Blues' or 'Thrash Jazz' (I've made those names up) but a band which is described as sounding like 'Joy Division' or an artist which is sold as being a new 'Dylon' will instantly tap into very established brands from the past when it was much easier to make an impact because the market wasn't as saturated.
So that's it - are we in a period of obsession with rebooting genres and resurrecting well known artists/ bands because the music market has become super-saturated?