The thing that has from the beginning fascinated me about pedals is the freedom it gives the player to make tonal (in the broad sense) adjustments and manipulations and enhancements that formerly were only possible in post-production, at great expense. Now you can do it in real time, on your own dime, in the practice room or the gig space, and at a relatively modest outlay for the pedals themselves. Need a little mid-boost? Klon (or clone) or Tube Screamer, depending on where you want it, or both, at your feet. Reverb/delays, chorus, etc? Right there, try it now.
Simply more colors and textures on the palette, to be mixed at will. And whether or not these tools are used to perform or record with is immaterial if a given combination of gizmos sparks the creation of a new melody or pattern that can then stand on its own apart from the embellishments. It is all part of the process of creating conditions that provide a stimulus to creative imagination.

Just what I tell myself every time I open my Sweetwater account, card in hand.