Back in the day, all this cheap multi-track technology (and computers, I am completely serious my younger readers) did not exist. Watch any movie from the 70's and even early 80's that has an office in it and look at the desk. No computer. There may possibly be a typewriter but trust me, you could not record on it. Perhaps that fancy Dictaphone but it was a one track mono recorder and even the Beatles used a four track for Sgt. Peppers.
Getting some product was a different beast. In 1984 I looked into recording a single. I contacted a recording studio. The rate for x amount of hours (14 maybe including mixing and mastering) and 100 copies of the 45 was around $2000.00. I worked out my song on a cassette deck (actually two by bouncing back and forth, so muddy sounding) until I had all the parts down so essentially could go in there and record it as quickly to tape as possible. Minimum wage, which is what I worked for back then was $4.25 an hour so meandering in the studio was out of the question. At the end of the day minimum wage kept me out of the studio period.
Fast forward and a really superior home recording studio, one better than the place I would have went to record my 45 can be set-up for around $500.00. Multi-track software ~$35.00 for Reaper, a controller ~$200-$300, a midi converter $60.00 and a decent microphone $150-five hundred billion dollars. That is all there is to it.
I'm not sure if this has made the music world a better place or not because really, any idiot (i.e. me) can easily plunk their terrible little songs on the world, without any effort, all from the safety of their own home.