Rachel Rosenfelt and Jennifer R. Bernstein from PopMatters wrote an incredibly detailed analysis of Lady Gaga's fame, calling her "he first democratically elected pop star."
"Web 2.0 has dissipated any paranoia that the sales-driven music industry might exert total control over mass culture—and although market forces retain their power in cyberspace, we have gained greater independence and flexibility in consumption than we have ever known. The radical increase in consumer agency licenses even the most skeptical highbrows among us to take pleasure in Gaga’s audiovisual spectacle. She has not been chosen for us; rather, we have chosen her."
Of course, you could argue that pop stars have always been chosen by us -- by the records we buy and the concerts we chose to see (as some of the commenters have pointed out). It's only the tools that are different.