To some extent, the idea that rock 'n roll used to have this sort of free antediluvian identity, frolicking in the 1950s with Elvis or something, is totally wrong. It's insane. Elvis' relationship with Colonel Parker, his manager, was one of the most possibly corrupt, certainly lucrative, and intense business partnerships ever in rock n' roll.
Personally, I've realized that the tradition I thought of as too safe, too pretty, and too conventional is the space where women have been able to gain some practical ground. The area of music where we thought the status quo was really being upset - specifically hard rock - has actually remained the most male-dominated.
A lot of artists feel it's not worth it to sign with a major label, because if you don't have a giganto hit, then you're not going to get a video made. You're not going to probably get much tour support. You're not going to get promotion. You're certainly not going to get a publicist who's going to pay much attention to you.