Basically, and I’m venting here, I feel like we’re at this weird point in music where we all worship and adore these musicians of old (The Beatles, Stones, Dylan, Bowie, James Brown, Stax, Motown) while forgetting that these people were trying to write hits. They were trying to write songs that would move people, trying to craft popular songs while still sneaking in artistry and bits and pieces of themselves.
Nor were they the only ones: all the obscure people were trying to write hits, too. The MC5, Iggy, Lou Reed (see Loaded if you doubt it), Gram Parsons, the New York Dolls, even the self-consciously artistically motivated ones like Patti Smith, who did not hesitate to accept "Because the Night" from Bruce Springsteen, and for whom the royalty checks from that song made possible the quiet 15-year period of her life with her (late and lamented) husband, all did so as well. So also novelists and filmmakers: no one wants to be poor. T.S. Eliot didn't work at a bank because he didn't want to make a living as a poet, but because he couldn't for a large portion of his productive life.
Oddly, it occurs to me, the only people who may understand this correctly are academics: I want to research and teach the things of interest to me pretty much exclusively for the rest of my life. But to do this, I need a job, which will provide the money and the platform to do what I want. Therefore I must compromise and work with an institution, and become successful there, in order to have the freedom and ability to do the things I want; the courses I teach have to be a mix of what must be taught and what I would like to teach, etc.