Many songwriters confess that they write songs which they themselves would like to listen to.
But any marketer would say give the audience what they want.
At the first extreme you end up with the horrible obtuse Radiohead of later years whose success has seemingly brought contempt for the mainstream audiences.
At the other extreme you end up with Nickelback false macho soft rock fully ramped for the FM market. As Chad Kroeger himself said: “‘ Any guitar player knows that sitting there playing the same riff over and over and over again for 20 minutes is fun, but it’s not fun to listen to. It’s like golf — golf is a lot of fun to play, but it’s no fun to f**king watch, and you have to be very, very aware of that. You’ve got to know when you’re losing your audience, especially in this day and age when people are used to sucking in information from four different places at a hundred miles an hour.“
You could say there’s a spectrum from the complete self-indugence to fully market-researched and somewhere along that line there is a sweet spot where you respect your particular audience and balance your authenticity.
And because your audience and their tastes are forever changing all you can do is your best and adjust when you get it wrong.