Picture this. An artist is gifted with a particular set of skills, insights, and approaches. They put to work allowing those gifts to be pressed through a particular form (music, dance, visual, etc). Their particular combination of gifts and work contributes to the tradition of whatever form they have pursued. Then they enter the world of commerce. And their gifts are pressed into another pursuit, engaging an audience, finding a novel sales pitch, earning a living, and ultimately our artist reaches a choice. Either continue on the path of contributing to the tradition from which they now come, or break under the pressures of the market and just do what the market wants.
This is not restricted to artists. Every person is part of a tradition that comes from a culture that has a set of values, and those very values are what is so often pressured in the market. The choices aren’t always black and white. Sometimes it’s a spectrum. But at the end of the day, the simplest way I’ve found to look at things is this.
How is the choice I’m about to make an expression of what I value most?