Isn’t it a shame that sometimes genius is accompanied by arrogance and intolerance? Richard Wagner comes to mind. In fact, if you read the biographies of many composers, a common thread is a lack of social graces, i.e. Beethoven, Brahms. Luck certainly is a major component of “success”, but I really respect the ability of people who can write the ravishing melodies that delight so many of us. It’s an interesting point that you feel a record contract can be detrimental. I feel that a great artist won’t let them push his/her art in the wrong direction. Prokofiev managed to create great music while staying clear of the Stalinist regime, for one amazing example. A greater threat is faddism. I feel Copland lost his way by getting into the atonal stuff, because that was what everyone else was doing.