My input for the first 16, 17 years of my life was AM radio, FM radio - pretty mainstream stuff. Rolling Stone was probably as edgy as it got.
I do remember my first purchase: the Partridge Family's 'Greatest Hits.' I got it for $3.99 at a failed chain of pre-Wal-Mart-type stores called Jamesway. God, I'm old.
I lived a fairly average, anonymous small-town life till I got the idea to do Nine Inch Nails. Then I locked myself in a studio for a year, and then got off the tour bus two years after that, and I didn't know who I'd turned into.
Today, if you do put out a record on a label, traditionally, most people are going to hear it via a leak that happens two weeks - if not two months - before it comes out. There's no real way around that.