I agree with your thoughts there Mike.
I feel sorry for some of the big guys though, like McCartney, Stevie Wonder, maybe not so much Rod Stewart because I could never stand him in the first place.
They make all of their mistakes in public, and there are massive expectations on them- some of the expectations are to sell a lot of albums, and some of the expectations are to 'lose it' as an artist. So you're sort of damned if you do, and damned if you don't. So, McCartney releases a more 'experimental' album "Memory almost Full" and it's considered hopelessly out of touch with contemporary music. So Bowie goes all noise and industrial with Tin Machine. He gets roasted, because he can't attain the same level of brilliance as Low and his German period of the late 70's. And then if they try to go all out Hit parade, they get roasted for doing that. If they get charitable, they are seen as trying to do it as a publicity stunt. We can be thankful for our relative obscurity I think.
One of the artists who has coped best I think, is Sting. Even though he is considered past his prime, he diversified enough, and in a credible enough way, to maintain some semblance of respect from the general music listener in a way that doesn't seem overly artificial. And of course, I haven't even mentioned Elvis Costello, who, like a fine wine, has outlasted most of these suckers with absolute style, and with a massive audience that still waits on his every release.