One Saturday in 1994, Bennie Lydell Glover, a temporary employee at the PolyGram compact-disk manufacturing plant in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, went to a party at the house of a co-worker. He was angling for a permanent position, and the party was a chance to network with his managers. Late in the evening, the host put on music to get people dancing. Glover, a fixture at clubs in Charlotte, an hour away, had never heard any of the songs before, even though many of them were by artists whose work he enjoyed. - Stephen Witt, The New Yorker
The author of this article wrote a book about the download-culture of the nineties, which, if I can judge it based on this article, should be an interesting read.
I grew during that short period where P2P MP3s were the de facto way we discovered music. And although I do appreciate the modern legal convenience of a one-click purchase in iTunes or unlimited streaming a whole lot more, there's a touch of nostalgia to that time where it would take an entire afternoon to download a song.