This article is all very interesting and all that, but surely it misses a massive gaping point? Which is that if a band really is popular with the general public/'troglodytes', then it doesn't matter a bit what the critics say, people are still going to buy their record regardless. You seem to think that a well-timed bad review in the OMM or similar will 'destroy' a band like The Enemy, but they still seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. U2 get regularly panned and for being popular with the masses, but that's the thing, they're STILL popular. The panning is water of a giant ducks back to them by now.
That's the dynamic of the industry, and thank fuck it is too. If every critic around lauded the stadium fillers above all else and ignored anything left-field then the net result would be that everything would sound the bloody same (even more so than it already does). which you can't possibly think is a good thing right?!
...I reject the idea that people are listening to a smaller variety of music thanks to the internet. Frankly in the days of Melody Maker (good) NME et al, anyone narrow minded enough not to seek out new and different music probably wasn't even going to buy the magazine in the first place, because they weren't interested enough by it. Therefore the magazines weren't likely to convert many people from their one-genre ways by featuring this variety of acts. It's sort of preaching to the converted (which is not to say it's a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination).
The fact is that it's always been the case that the majority of people, whilst they might profess to being generally keen on music, aren't in love with it in the same way as that small minority of people who used to read Melody Maker and who now read sites such as DiS or or whatever their current favourite music blog is. For the majority, all the blog/twitter stuff has practically no impact on their listening habits - it only really has an impact for the technically savvy, forward thinking, die-hard music fan, and those guys by their nature are always going to be seeking out something new no matter what.
Meanwhile, I actually believe that because of the internet in general, people are listening to a relatively greater variety of music. It used to be that you were 'into punk' or 'into hip-hop' or 'into new wave' or whatever, and that informed not just your record collection but your fashion sense and choice of friends. But can you seriously think of a 'scene' so all-encompassing that has made it's way into the national consciousness since Brit-Pop? Grime came close I suppose but it was quickly appropriated by other genres and the mainstream, whilst New-Rave was a joke no-one even wanted to be associated with.
Since the real rise of the internet people have been able to share and experiment with so many genres, cross pollinating them along the way, that now you can't really look at a person and 'know' what they're into straight away - they could be into any number of things because the divides between all our little mini-cultures created by genres of music have been falling down.
The idea that the internet somehow stops your average music fan from listening to anything new or different is honestly quite baffling to me...