The major labels have marketing strategies for breaking in new acts, that involve some form of making people think that they themselves have *discovered* someone new and cool–that they then can tell others about. The marketers know that they have to get a critical mass of people to feel that, so that the *discovery* spreads to a mass market, and doesn’t just remain the “secret” of a select few dedicated fans.
The marketers play a manipulative role (and, from my second-hand experience, I know that they can be really devious), but we, the people, tend to embrace that manipulation because, I think, it helps us maintain our social status. We need to affirm that we aren’t alone in the music we like, and that we like “cool” music, etc.
The thing is that the marketers don’t and can’t _create_ cool. What’s cool is obvious the instant you, the potential fan, hear it. And coolness always entails genuineness in one way or another.
At its best music marketing is a holistic act with fans, musicians and culture businesses bouncing references, new ideas and money back and forth to create a virtuous circle. If the fans dig it, it’s not fake.