When I finished work this evening the first thing I did was put some music on. I was the last one leaving the office so I put my headphones on at my desk, selected my punk playlist and turned the volume up as loud as it would go.
Ultimately it is no different from all the crap churned out by all the other big corporations. Like the kinds of art you see in the 'home ware' section of Wilkinson's (high street chain store), mass produced generic pictures of some flowers or city lights to hang on the wall, copies of which will hang on the wall of ten thousand other homes. There might not be anything inherently wrong with them but you don't enthusiastically buy them all up and call yourself an art lover.
By censorship I'm not talking about an individual radio station refusing to play a song or a band drawing public criticism for their message or their actions. These things don't matter, they're simply a fact of life in a world where people have differing values and notions of what is acceptable. What matters are actual attempts to use force to shut people up.
Censorship of music can be official and organised, like a blanket ban on certain artists, (the kind of thing countries like China are into) or any form of official state enforced planned censorship. Rage Against The Machine once stood on stage naked for 15 minutes in protest against the 'Parent's Music Resource Center' (PMRC) who had successfully campaigned for the introduction of 'parental advisory' stickers.
It can also be much more unofficial and ad hoc, like police harassing a band with a revolutionary message, or turning a blind eye to assaults on them or damage to their stuff whilst providing free security at the gigs of 'safe' popular musicians. The anarchist punk band 'Crass' reported being constantly harassed by the police during the 1980s in the UK. Musicians are also often banned from entering some countries to play if their message is deemed to be too disruptive. In an increasingly authoritarian society, where anti-terror laws are used to silence all kinds of dissent self censorship is a genuine concern. If you are choosing to never record a track in the first place for fear it could get you into trouble you are still being censored.
How does this contribute to the popularity of crappy music? Crappy music, which is safe and promotes things that are making capitalists rich and has their stamp of approval simply does not get censored whilst things outside the box often do.
Solution - The liberation of creativity
It could be said that punk was supposed to be part of the solution to all this. It popularised the kind of music anyone with a bit of energy and talent could make, it came with the DIY ethic (write it yourself, play it yourself, record it yourself, produce it yourself, promote it yourself etc.) and a determination to be independent.
Smaller labels like Epitaph, run by musicians and for musicians may still be making money off illegitimate IP laws but they represent at least a step in the right direction, towards artistic integrity and the liberation of creativity. Even better than this are the small musicians co-ops and labels like 'Copyleft' (you see that they've done there?) whose tag line is 'no rights reserved'.
In general though if there is a solution here it is to try to support artists with integrity who love the music for it's own sake, go and see gigs down at the pub, go to a battle of the bands or whatever it is people do these days, start a band yourself if you want to. If you can abandon the big labels completely I think it is a worthwhile thing, although I think it's worth really trying to avoid the "punker-than-thou" asshole stereotype that usually comes with taking this course of action. Try to remain calm when someone says they're really into punk because they listen to New Found Glory, or whatever the punk-pop equivalent is in today's world. We're all allowed to have guilty pleasures.