THIS week sees two female pop singers visit Salisbury at opposite ends of their careers. Last Tuesday night at the Arts Centre, rising star Rae Morris brought her pop-tinged electronica to town. Then on Sunday, eighties pop star Belinda Carlisle plays a sold-out City Hall as part of the tour to mark the 30th anniversary of her Heaven on Earth album.

Both singers started out young: Rae Morris began learning the piano aged four and was signed to her record label aged just 17. Thirty years earlier, Belinda was playing in the all-girl band The Go-Gos by the age of 18. Both had their dead-end jobs to escape from: Belinda worked for Hilton Hotels, photocopying and ordering toilet paper for the hotel chain; Rae worked as a waitress for Blackpool Football Club, where she grew up.

But while both have enjoyed similar levels of solo chart success – Heaven on Earth hitting number 4 in 1987, Rae’s debut album Unguarded reaching number 9 – they’ve done so in quite different musical eras. Back when Heaven is a Place on Earth hit number one, the CD was still a relatively new format: most records were sold on vinyl or cassette. The singles chart was a national obsession and Top of the Pops was required viewing.

Today, most music is either streamed or downloaded; the only Top of the Pops on TV are the repeats on BBC Four; the Top 40 charts are repeatedly rejigged but fail to regain national interest. Some staples of the music industry hold firm – Rae’s current single Do It is the Radio One Breakfast Show’s tune of the week – but elsewhere, the landscape has changed. Where once artists toured to promote record sales, now the records are there to promote the tours, which is where the real money is made.

Increasingly often, it is the older acts who are making the big bucks. Belinda Carlisle isn’t the only artist on a 30th anniversary tour: in July, I went to watch U2 celebrate 30 years of The Joshua Tree. Next year it is Deacon Blue’s turn; Take That, meanwhile, are reportedly already planning their own 30th anniversary tour for 2022.

The festival circuit echoes this trend: the average age of a Glastonbury headliner has risen from 25 in the 1970s to artists in their early 40s today. This is partly because in tighter economic times, established acts are a safer bet. But it’s also because the next generation of musicians are finding it harder to cut through as household names.

Rae Morris has all the right attributes to follow Belinda Carlisle in enjoying a long career. Whether the way that music has changed will allow her to is another question.