During my panel at DMAC on Saturday, I was disappointed to hear about how so many independent artists still strive to be signed to a major record label. When I asked them why this was, they struggled to come up with a response that wasn't some form of "What other options are there?".
Of course, our discussion was focused around artists and the music industry, but everything could be translated into a general principle of life. The principle is that being different is risky and selling out is easy.
To many of the artists in attendance, being a mainstream success was the most important thing to them. Little do they know (although they should), you can't become a mainstream success without giving into "the man" and molding your ideals around someone else's. You really do have to sacrifice your individuality along the way.
At the end of the day, you aren't going to be able to have both. You're not Radiohead. You're not Tool.
You need to reset your goals and decide whether you want to become Nickelback or would like to build a sustainable niche following gradually by creating art that you'll always love.