I believe in any era there are people deep into stuff, who have the time and money to really collect and listen to music deeply, or are dj’s and it’s more of a necessity to be up on stuff.
Today there are way more sub-genres and a lot of them have have consumer appeal, so anything from Punk to Country to R and B have their own fan base but also share common production elements and contain similar song structure, just produced or arranged and instrumented to suit the genre. So, I believe there are way more releases across the board then there were back in the day and they just come all year long. Add independent artists and mid level artists and underground artists as well as re-issues of everything in the past and there is a deluge of stuff to choose from.
I suppose I’m mostly looking at the main stream in my previous response. I’m thinking of a time when you had a diverse set of music in the mainstream, it was good for a minute right at the very beginnings of MTV and right before Hip-Hop became a thing and crushed everything. You would have a batch of releases by, for instance Prince. Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, MJ, Lionel Ritchie, Hall and Oats, David Bowie and more and these are albums people still talk about, by iconic artists. I sometimes look at current artists and wonder will they still be relevant in say 40 years? It’s different now, way more voices out there.
I was into everything but my focus was ‘Skate Rock’ aka ‘Hardcore’ and/or ‘Punk’ music as well as Hip Hop when it was just crossing over, so like 1982–83 or so. It wasn’t too hard to keep up back then.
Bit of a ramble, hope that clarified a bit!