I find this kind of attitude permeates a lot of areas actually, especially in media. People are hanging on to old publishing models in particular. Music, books, games, even movies, all of them can be published and distributed by individuals these days for a reasonable cost (or even no money up-front - witness on-demand product customization like CafePress
). It seems like people's outlandish goals and the stars in their eyes are often what stand most in their way. Musicians who are just hoping for that record contract that will surely propel them to stardom; authors who dream of being on the New York Times best seller's list; software and game developers who want to be the next Microsoft or EA, or at least get bought out by them. These are people who either A: have money on the brain and thus likely don't have the inherent love of what they do to really succeed in the long haul or B: do have that passion but have been conditioned to believe that traditional avenues of success are the only viable ones, or at least the only attractive ones.
What's really funny is, take celebrities as an example, a lot of them have serious problems! Musicians that make it big often seem to be worse-off emotionally than when they were small. You lose a lot in the transition from simple artist to super star, no matter what media you work in. A big part of that is the connection to your fans, users, clients, etc. And that connection can be one of the most powerful motivating and legitimizing forces possible. You can earn all the money in the world but if you're a real creator at heart it won't mean much unless you can really see that what you're doing is being legitimately appreciated and utilized. So you have to laugh - the success so many people seek can also be a very damaging and unhealthy thing.
Ok, I know all this sounds like an overly fluffy, impractical tirade. But people are out there every day proving that these alternative models work. Meanwhile every day you hear about a new hollywood meltdown/drug overdose/etc. Every week you can read a new story about how EA screwed over some up-and-coming dev house or one of their employees. Every month we see new pop superstars rise and fall. Having watched a favorite band climb that ladder to "success" and then fall slowly down it, I have seen how painful and damaging that can be. I can't help but think that if the climb hadn't been made in the first place, or if it had been made on more personal terms, things would be better off. I don't mean to suggest that the band would be better off had they not succeeded, I am talking more in terms of scale here. The lead singer has a 3 million dollar apartment in New York, but he's so depressed he hardly wants to leave his house. Whether his success contributed to that or not, it is at least obvious it didn't help! Plus their music was better before they went "big time".
So to all the aspiring creatives out there, remember that it is what you create and people's appreciation of it that matters. Find your venues and outlets and nurture them, support them with your creations. Remember that money is just a means to an end, not an end in itself. Ask for the compensation you really need and if what you are doing is good, you just might get it, or at least start to. You will have to work hard, but it will be honest work, and it should be work that you love.
Ok, rant over.