Music is spread from person to person. Someone would come across an artist they liked and they would put the effort in to spread the word.
And once we got exposed from someone, we made it our mission to find another artist and talk about them and insist that people pay attention. It’s why music magazines became popular.
The true fans. They are the ones who will go ahead and spread an artists music and it’s not because an artist wants them to, it’s because they want to.
Algorithms try to do music discovery but they are nowhere near close to the human emotion of music. And the programmers have no idea how to write code that connects with the human curation.
And the labels are all about short-term profits which is a terrible way to build a proper and sustainable industry. There’s always a shortcut like scalping tickets or cooking the charts, a rule to be bent by being creative on the accounting and by not paying the artists their share. And when they don’t get their way, they pay politicians enough money to pass laws to give them their way.
So artists are on their own, building their small sustainable communities.