Perhaps it's a thing that we all find ourselves thinking when we first try setting foot on that unstable and perilous landscape that is the music biz. If we follow in the footsteps of another artist, then we too might find a way – grab a hold of the comet's tail of their success, so to speak.
It might be that this is the thought process which has fuelled the abundant 'tribute band' scene. The would-be clones have found themselves a home, satisfied to rent the applause from their audience without ever really owning or truly deserving it.
It troubles me, though, I have to say. It's not just prevalent in the music business, either; next time you go into a book store, check out how many titles on the shelves are obvious clones of 'The Da Vinci Code'. Even the covers look similar...
Maybe this actually answers my own question: people copy successful artists and writers because there's a living to be made from doing so. But if the results are just super-diluted facsimiles of worthy originals then, to me, there's no point.
Of course, we have to question a marketplace that actively encourages style piracy – but the morals and attitudes of publishers and record companies is another thing entirely!