In fact, having been born a packrat, I actually own a great deal of primary source material from the pop press of the late 70's, though usually in the TeenBeat milieu, admittedly. (Tiger Beat, 16, and Bananas were also favored reading, but cut me some slack; I was a little kid.
But recently, I've been trying to get my hands on vintage issues of Bomp! and other magazines from the period. This selection, however, comes from the Contemporary Music Almanac 1980/81, written by Ronald Zalkind, Published by Schirmer Books in 1980.
The book is mostly a reference book (helpfully reminding me that I share a birthday with Glenn Frey, a fact I'd blacked out, as Sally Field and John Philip Sousa tend to consume the birthday-sharing part of my brain). Sections include: a Who's Who of Musical Artists, a Directory of Record Companies and Hot DeeJays, a section on rock travel (necessary information if you're on the road in, say, Detroit, including local drinking ages, a guide to local marijuana laws, and a VD hotline), that sort of thing.
It also includes a long chapter on New Wave Music, a sort of on-the-ground analysis of the movement.
What the new wave amounted to, in brief, was a violent short-circuiting of the normally slow process involved in bringing new groups and new music to the record-buying public. In place of the long and ardurous trek from garage band to album deal, the new wave created instant records, by groups that were new enough to be fresh, innovative, and unencumbered by the usual commercial considerations required to make it in the music business. By making the young groups appear to be an asset to the record companies, the new wave shifted the focus of the industry away from the older, stagnant performers and towards the radically different groups, sporting a new look, and playing a music that captured all the missing excitement of the unsophisticated early days of rock. The new wave broke all the establishes rules of the rock world, created a whole flock of new ways of working, and brought to the fore an amazing assortment of people and ideas that brought rock 'n' roll out of its doldrums. In England, after some initial resistance and problems, the movement proved thoroughly successful, and was ultimately adopted and institutionalized by the very forces it sought to evade. In a sense, the idealism of new wave was lost as its commercial aspects took hold, but the resulting changes brought about more than justify whatever sense of failure there might have been.
Now, there are obviously some generic distinctions here. Power pop was coined as a "softer" term for punk, so initially it was kind of a marketing term, like, well, "Greenland," I guess. But then new wave came in to replace power pop, presumably distancing it from punk one more degree. (Worth noting, in the excellent film SLC Punk!, these various tribal distinctions are noted, and our protagonist calls new wavers "the new hippies.") Synthesizers, as a poster noted below, probably also influenced this transition.
I'll be ruminating a lot on these various distinctions over the coming weeks: help me out!