I think that things have changed to the point now where the approach is completely different. I think certain artists can begin to enjoy success without going through the whole music/band/collaboration/gigging/touring thing.I don't really have any experience playing in a band, but I have an opinion on them. I think visual artists who make money selling their art are extremely rare. Athletes who are able to play professionally are like one percenters. Musical bands that have members who collaborate well with each and maintain creative relationships over an extended duration are about as common as lottery winners. You can spend your entire life looking for the right combination of band members. My uncle tried for about half his life and finally gave up. It's one of the reasons I would only play in a band for the fun of it. If I were to get serious about music, I'd do it solo or with a creative partner. Just my two cents.
Being an individual who writes, records, and puts their music out there to producers, performers etc, now seems to be as viable a method as anything else. And the best part is, one person has complete control over the whole deal. If you need a band, you hire one to play your material "as recorded."
But wait, would that make me a "cover band" player because the process would then be pretty much identical to playing in a good, solid cover band? LOL. The only difference would be, a good leader won't tolerate deviation from the music as recorded, and he wouldn't have to fight over "creative differences."
All quite interesting and amusing. The perfect blend between cover band and original band, and everyone wins!