Successful artists typically fall into two categories: passionate art and commercial appeal. A third category, between the two sweet spots, is a gap where artists can fall into and have a hard time working out of.
Seth Godin explains in his blog:
“A delta blues guy who plays for tiny audiences in Memphis is in the sweet spot of the passionate. John Mayer is in the sweet spot of pop. Both are great guitarists, neither is too edgy or too trite. Both made a choice. But there are a thousand guitarists who are neither. They’re afraid to embrace one curve or the other and end up with neither.”
I’ve witnessed it only occasionally where art and commerce converge in an ultra successful union. Typically artists will either be in one of the sweet spots (some sweeter than others) or they will fall through the cracks within the gap because labels, radio, and retail don’t know what to do with them. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with how talented they are either.
Read the rest of Seth’s article which is spot on applicable to what happens often in the music industry. Check it out here.