I think the past 10-15 years have just seen a vintage/retro inspired “cool” aesthetic. Much like how the hipsters were all wearing Buddy Holly glasses and Paul Bunion beards, and so it became mainstream, so too with small retro styled amps and vintage vibe guitars. Part of it may also be a bit of wishful nostalgia. Guitar music is a dying breed, so let’s all wistfully reflect on its heyday. Another thing I’ve noticed is that mid-century modern design has really come back in popularity, which may in turn be part of what’s fueling the rave around 50’s-60’s guitar and amp aesthetics. It’s being recycled and adapted into the zeitgeist of the current time. As for the return of singles? Well, why sell an album with only one big release date, when you can sell each song individually with release dates all year long? These days attention spans are short, and you need to stay relevant or else you fade into obscurity. Few people will sit through an entire album, but a 3-4 minute song is more manageable. Getting that 15 minutes of fame is getting harder and harder because people will only pay attention for 30 seconds. As for the pay injustice, the music industry is just that, an industry. The ultimate goal isn’t to put out quality art, it’s to make money. Not money for the artist, though they may incidentally get some, but money for the big businesses with stakeholders watching their bottom line.