Why do you find this shocking? Of course I am the ultimate arbiter. How else am I to evaluate music if it isn't purely on the basis of how it sounds to me?
Because you've eliminated this whole complex emotional pallete which music can affect. Do I like it? Cool. Success! It seems so binary, but it also reduces music to just another commodity. There's actually some music I'm not sure if I like that I think is spectacular. It feels like you're arguing for hedonism and mindless enjoyment. Some things make me think, if I'm not a huge fan of it.
Should I do a survey instead? Should I ask pitchfork.com what they think? Should I ask my 4 year old niece what she thinks? Well perhaps I will...but their opinion will have no bearing on my own. Does this make sense?
No. You like what you like. I agree with that. But we're talking about the "value" of art, and at this point the values of society DO sort of matter. Even if the music is expressly rejecting those values and society rejects it. But i wasn't arguing for collectivism, I was arguing that your personal valuation of art should be more than just "Did I enjoy it?" The question, I believe, is more complex than that. Not everything is, as Graham Green would have called it, entertainments.
Music is to be listened to and enjoyed. I either like something or I don't. If I'm asking questions about why I like something, or whether I should like something, that makes me a hipster, and I better go buy some skinny jeans and an ironic t-shirt or eight.
See, this shows that you put more value on music than just the sound of it and whether you enjoy it. Remove yourself from the statement and read it again. Look at that reflexive hatred of "hipsters", despite no one having brought it up. Look at the details you provided to this Other. There is obvious resentment of this fictional construct, and it is based on his presumed musical preferences. That's fascinating to me.
The above doesn't make discussing music less interesting. Sure, I'm interested in hearing why people liked Dirty Projectors when I hated it. Will their opinion make me un-dislike it? Nope. But it's still interesting to talk about.
But what is there to discuss other than: "have you heard this?" Why does their "Why" even matter. It won't change how the music sounds to you. You've already made your arbitration and it seems like you're trying to get someone else to defend their worldview to you. In your world, the Dirty Projectors stink (actually, I don't like them either), someone else's different evaluation cannot affect yours. Music can have no quality, as it differs by the person. You are the ultimate Relativist, except in your own world, in which you are a godlike arbiter of quality. So is each other person. That is so cool.