When I was a kid I assumed the radio could play any song from any CD, and they only chose not to because they're cowards. Why wouldn't they have every CD? They're the radio, it's their job
I was like "How come the only Beck song they ever play is Where it's At? I already have [a copy of] Odelay, I've heard that song a million times. How come they never play any of his older music? I wanna know if it's any good." I heard somewhere that radio stations do requests, so I'd look up information about bands on the internet at school and call the radio station requesting that they play something from Stereopathetic Soulmanure and was shocked that they didn't know what I was talking about. How do I know about an album they don't? It's listed right there on his website, and why don't they have all of his CDs already, they're the radio!!
If I managed to squirrel away enough to buy a tape or CD, an amount of money I might not see for months, I would agonize for weeks over what to buy. I was clueless. I had a small handful of albums I'd copied from friends and family, so I'd usually default to buying another album by a band I like with no idea of it'd be good or not. It was a huge gamble that rarely paid off.
MTV and the radio were almost no help. When a new album by a band I liked came out, they would just play one song over and over again. What the hell, that's not enough to go on. I understand MTV is limited, they can't make videos for every song, but the radio could play anything! Why don't they?
It turns out the purpose of radio was never helping people discover new music to buy. I don't know what it's for. I guess before my time the point was for people to hear a song they like and go buy the single, but by the 90s, that was an absurd notion. $3 for one song? Fuck off
I'm glad Bandcamp has solved music
Okay everything wasn't worse, that's hyperbole. But my perception of things now is better because of what I have access to. There was good stuff when I was a kid, but growing up nowhere with no money and no internet, I didn't have access to much of it.
It's true that there's a much higher volume of garbage now, but thanks to my ability to filter and curate, a much higher percentage of the media I consume is good. I'm not limited to just watching whatever's on at the moment. It's not 27% ads. It's close to 0% ads. That alone has had such a profoundly positive effect on my mental health