LIke @glia I'm going to avoid Reznor directly.... I was going to avoid this whole thread entirely, but it has been pecking at me....
There are two viewpoints I have that seem relevant here:
- It's all good.
- The needed risk is personal.
The first is a lesson I came to from my teacher, Ivan Tcherepnin: "Oh, there's tape hiss on this deck... that's an interesting sound." "Why not play it through the speakers with the broken cones as well?" "How nice, scored for toy piano and oboe?" He was equally delighted and intrigued by any musical and sonic direction.
I've long since strived to make this my broader disposition to musical activity: "Playing fully composed music in an orchestra?" "Noodling on a a modular?" "DJing tracks?" "Play folk songs on ocarinas?" "Learn to skat sing?" "Use some iPad app with 'smart harmonies'?" It's all good!
The second is a recent viewpoint of my own. I've often heard various statements to the effect that "risk" is essential to good music. I used to chafe at this, taking it as a requirement to give the audience sort of vicarious thrill. "Oh, he might blow it!!!"
But I had a small epiphany and realized I was taking it the wrong way: The risk required is the risk you take in pushing yourself. And it is the pushing yourself that gets projected into the music. It doesn't matter if what is risky for me is much less technically difficult than for you. And sure, you might produce more lauded music than me.... But so what? As for the musical honesty of the activity - what's important is that we are both engaged in a challenge to ourselves.
So back to the thread: Why seek to rate or rank musical activities - as more legit or less, as art or not? Do I need to say that that 12 year old's violin is "less art" than the Philip Glass Ensemble? Do we need to fret that legions of bedroom producers are enjoying the crap out of music software and creating tracks that Mr. Reznor doesn't want to listen to? That the 4000th Reddit post of "here's my modular jam from last night" gets +1s? Each of these people is taking, for them, a personal risk in doing so, even if it doesn't represent the level of risk Mr. Reznor thinks "real" musicians should take. (Though how much risk is he taking, when he has the financial means to "take a few years off and find myself", eh? D'oh - didn't avoid Reznor, did I?)
I say, It's all good! People engaged in making music - in any way - is a good thing. What we need is more of it, not less.