Your story gripped me! Well written because it was honest, (which is admittedly really hard).
I think we often forget that honesty isn’t simply telling the truth, it’s more like being true in intentions. It’s definitely a virtue.
This reminds me of Seth Godin’s idea of the Minimum Viable Audience: You can’t please anybody, if you’re trying to please everybody.”
Also, Gary Vaynerchuk has great work on how building an audience takes years and years of good (and sometimes bad) work. In other words, he’d say it’s f#%* hard work.
At the end of the day, I agree that I’d rather not compromise my art for popularity, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a need to be heard. That’s the tough thing — don’t be a snob and don’t be a sellout. Just be honest. It’s hard.