As mentioned in other blogs, how dead on was MacDougald (1942). If you look at the big pop music stars of today, almost all of them have zero talent. They are completely produced and manufactured. Katy Perry and Ke$sha quickly come to mind as two artists who cannot hold a note, but have been expertly packaged by the music industry.
I was really struck by Hokheimer and Adorno's (1969) views on success becoming viewed as chance as opposed to hard work. They state that it is blind chance on what song becomes a hit, or who becomes a movie star. The culture industry strives to show how we are all alike, and in this "sameness" we lose individuality. "[G]iven men's equality, individual success and failure-right up to the top-lose any economic meaning." (p. 146). I see this thought of chance or luck throughout all aspects of society. This person got this job or that promotion because of who they know as opposed to hard work. That person achieved fame because they were in the right place at the right time (the golden voice homeless guy). Success is based on "who draws the winning ticket (p. 145). That line summed up their whole argument for me, as it made me think of the short story, "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson, and it's modern day South Park remake. In the story, the tradition and importance of the ritual and all it's art has been diminished. The town goes through the motions of the ritual because they always have. The townsfolk go along with the ritual even forgetting the reason behind it, and happily stone a person for the sake of the town. South Park updates this story for today, and it eerily reflects the lottery of becoming successful that Adorno speaks. A higher power of someone in the pleasure industry, as Adorno puts it, chooses someone to represent the ideal of average. That person is then used up and tossed away for the next ideal representation of average. As in the original "Lottery," a person is sacrificed for the satiation of the townsfolk. You can watch the South Park episode here.