I watched the Harold Budd interview that Bill posted on this forum and it reminded me of the fickle nature of the arts. In general, you can succeed in the arts if you get a call from somebody like Brain Eno. But that rarely happens in real life. You have a better chance winning the lottery (two million dollar winners every week in Canada) than becoming the next pop star household name. So how do you increase your chances for success? I think you need two things: money and contacts. And it is better to have money than to have contacts because, in the end, you can always buy the right people you need for your project.
Harold was very lucky getting a call from Brian Eno. And so was Daniel Lanois lucky to meet Eno and work with him, because that led to producing U2, Robbie Robertson, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan. So luck is a great and unpredictable ingredient. But if you are unlucky and don't know people, it is great to have money to buy the right people. The music industry runs on money. In fact, there is a pecking order where the best producers will work with the best artists. Why? Because there is a big monetary return. This doesn't mean that Brian Eno wouldn't work with an unknown. But that is usually the exception.
So artists are usually ranked based on money return. Bill Nelson, Roger Eno, Harold Budd, etc. are not equal to a Taylor Swift or Elton John. Artists are defined by their niche and drawing power. And it is hard to break out of the niche the industry puts you in. Bill certainly gave it a go trying to write film scores and getting the producer of Crowded House. Roger Eno, Brian Eno's brother, will never do what his brother does. And many times the artists realize they just don't want to play the game or want to be in the higher money bracket. And so it goes...
But this just comes back to the original point of having money and contacts. Contacts may or may not work: e.g., Bill through knowing Roger Eno and Harold Budd, could try to get Brian Eno to produce his work. But if you didn't know Brian Eno and had a lot of money, then Brian Eno services may be bought straight out. So there is a pecking order in the arts and people rise and fall... and some rise again (think of Neil Young in the 90s). There is a pecking order everywhere in life. To break out of it you need two things: cash and contacts... preferably cash in the long run.
Please put this in the right forum if it isn't already.