I'm not an expert either but if you want to see a band achieve commercial success and garner some air-play record sales are an important component. Clear Channel won't play what record companies don't have sales of. Believe me I don't support records sales because of companies; most companies suck. They could care less about the artistic value of a group's creation only asking does it sell? Just look at the fact that in order to please the conservatives in this country (and to be available at Walmart) they have "radio" versions of songs and edited albums.
The good bands get money from their sales; although they derive their primary earnings from tours and t-shirt sales from what I understand. Unfortunately (although the paradigm is shifting) the labels are needed to get the exposure. You got to make the playlist if you want to be heard.
Couldn't possibly be because the music industry hasn't found a band worth a damn since the 90's. Couldn't possibly be because everything played today is vetted by Clear Channel lacking any soul, depth or correlation to "music". The music industry died when rap went mainstream and actually started calling that shit a musical album and the crap they arranged (or should I say rearranged) songs. The industry would do well to focus on finding "musicians" and "songwriters" as opposed to suing people who refuse to pay for their crap. I've never once downloaded music from any band that i didn't buy the album first if I considered them to be musicians. Most of the bullshit out today doesn't even qualify as commercial-worthy (read ad). Much less good enough to warrant spending money on. If the band is worth it though most of us support them by buying. Assholes.