Generally speaking, you don’t have to sell your creative soul, but there is a thing called “reality,” which can roughly be translated as “What your audience wants.”
In other words, if you want to make your art a business, treat it like any other business: find a need and fill it.
And when you’ve made a name for yourself, then you’re free to be a bit more of an auteur. Until then, play to your audience because they’re the ones who pay your bills.
I never understood the shame in giving people what they want. It always seemed to arrogant. And then–here’s the kicker–these auteurs dump all over their audience, convinced that their work is good precisely because regular folk don’t like it.
If you’re propped up by rich benefactors, you can get away with this. The rest of us? Embrace the power of design thinking, i.e., rapid iteration. Find what works and what doesn’t, do more of the former and less of the latter.
You can still make good stuff doing this! You can still make great stuff.
Have a “formula,” so to speak. I think of that more like your voice. And then . . . tweak it here and there. Or do a drastic change after you’ve built up your audience’s trust.
It’s a two-way street. You give something worthy of the audience’s time and money, and they give you their time and money.
And everybody is happy forever and ever. The end.
(I ended my post like this because my research shows that blog readers like happy endings.)