Seven years on, and the reason I refreshed this thread,
is this experience:
I had a fairly lengthy drive today, relying on my car radio,
where a whole lot of FM radio stations are programmed
at the touch of the right combination of dashboard buttons.
(No, I don't do Alexa. The heck with Alexa.)
The FM stations where I live and drive, have their parameters.
Some play more of the older stuff than anything else,
and those stations make a living, so they have their audiences.
Within the "pop music" category, and
within what is fairly current now and not from earlier generations,
I have noticed two distinct areas,
covered by two types of stations/programmers.
One is the corporate conglomerate mass media stuff. You know,
the names that EVERYONE has heard of
even if many of us never go out of our way to listen to the music;
the celebrities of the pop music industry.
The names change, the business remains the same.
And the other category?
"Alternative" is the term favored by writers who compare pop musics.
These radio programmers/stations tend to be
around universities and colleges.
Today's "Alternative" could be Beck, could be Sleator-Kinney,
many more names.
Some have got big contracts with big companies;
some work the student-concert circuit really hard and
manage to break even, even though they are not household names.
I spent the drive today
switching back and forth between the two categories of stations.
And ... yes, you can smell it coming ...
it really DOES all sound the same. It did to me, anyhow.