The Internet Underground Music Archive was launched in 1993. It was created to democratize the music distribution business and give thousands of unknown bands a direct path to fans. The concepts of: social or peer to peer influence, long-tail marketing and direct to consumer distribution were all a part of the original model.
The site was salvaged by Jason Scott (textfiles.com) and he has a nice write-up about the project.
Glad to see IUMA alive and hopefully kicking.