Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from newman09. Show newman09's posts

    Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    You here this a lot whenever you start talking about music in depth, be it here, or just with a circle of friends. Recently I read a post here where they thought Bruce Springsteen sold out when he made "Born In The USA". Grant it the entire album was not given the "sell out" label, but in large most consider this Bruce's big commercial album.

    So what's wrong with that? He recorded a few songs (Dancing In The Dark for instance) that would appeal more to the masses, people that might or would otherwise not hear him, i.e expanding your fan base. I don't consider every album he made since then to be sell outs. But now he has their attrention, a larger base, a much larger group of people looking for his next release. Maybe these fans never would have discovered him otherwise, and are now looking back and buying his stuff pre-1984. I'm using Springsteen as the example but there are lots that get the label thrown at them, and rarely do you hear an artist regret any of the work they have done. 

    The Red Hot Chilli Peppers were hated by original fans when they released ''Californication'' cause it was such a change from their funk music. Others embraced it, recognised that the band was evolving. Selling out & popularity are often confused, they can be related. This also/usually leads to making money, lot's more money in some cases, and what's wrong with that. This may allow a band to continue on further then they ever though possible, putting out music they never would have otherwise for years. I'm fairly certain if you asked Springsteen and The RHCP, they woulde'nt change a thing. 

    Lot's of good bands out there not being heard, stubborn in their ways. Try working with a totally different producer, so what if he or she is the brain child of a few well known pop artists, it dosen't mean that's where your headed.

    The band owes very little to some indie-snobs to keep producing the same music so as to appease a small fan-base when they want to expand and let others listen to their music. Let's face it, you're in it for the fame, money, and of course the girls...RIGHT!

    Now, I know this will get some flack here, it's just my opinion. I too was in a small local band back in my twenties, and I wish we got big enough for a label to come to us, liking what they hear and offering some advise and the resources to make it big, really big. Of course it would have been hard for them to find us in the run down commercial space we rented.

    Sure there are the horror stories out their where lesser bands get ruined by it and never recover. But for established acts like a Springsteen or RHCP, I would take that chance and make that move every day of the week and twice on Sunday. 
     


























     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from phsmith8. Show phsmith8's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    there comes a point in most artist's or band's careers where they are not able to adequately maintain their lifestyle to the degree that they would like to, especially if they have had a taste of the bigtime.  this is when *some* would argue that they compromise their artistic integrity by creating what they feel will have mass appeal rather than the type(s) of music they love to do, and that their fans have grown to expect.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    I guess it goes to intentions.  What's the primary reason you're making this particular music?  Because you think it's good or because you think it will make a bundle?  If you can only answer yes to the second part, then you're probably selling out.  If it's a case where you really need the money, I wouldn't condemn you for it.
     
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    I think "selling out" is a term that people use too frequently and often without thinking that these musicians can do what they love for awhile , but at some point they  have to make a living out of it or it all comes to an end.

    I will use Yes as an example.The wonderful earlier Yes used extra long prog-rock songs and they built a strong reputation as an "artistic" band. They sold a lot of albums in the "album era." When they changed their style to make more radio accessable, shorter songs on 90125 and Big Generator, they were "selling out" according to the long time fan base that came to love the "old" Yes. I liked both the old and the new Yes.

    I will also use the Jefferson Airplane /Starship as another example. The Airplane was a psychedlic / hippie group that flourished during the psychedlic/hippie era of the late 60's. When the hippie culture started to fizzle out , the group was in danger of losing it's identity as they couldn't really write "hippie" type songs anymore. So, they became the Starship and wrote more radio accessable rock and they sold alot more records...."selling out?"... or "adapting?" Paul Kantner (leader of the group and only member to survive til the end) is no fool, he was adapting to changing times in order to keep the band afloat into the 70's and beyond. I liked many of the Starship songs, "Jane" is one of my altime favorites....and I am a big Airplane fan too.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from newman09. Show newman09's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?:
    [QUOTE]there comes a point in most artist's or band's careers where they are not able to adequately maintain their lifestyle to the degree that they would like to, especially if they have had a taste of the bigtime.  this is when *some* would argue that they compromise their artistic integrity by creating what they feel will have mass appeal rather than the type(s) of music they love to do, and that their fans have grown to expect.
    Posted by phsmith8[/QUOTE]


    That's a great definition of a sellout. To me, I don't see a whole lot wrong with it. I'm not talking about a complete overhaul from one extreme to the other. I'm just talking about taking your sound your lyrics and making more appealing for a much greater audience then you otherwise would have reached. To me it's smart! 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from p-mike. Show p-mike's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    I think the term itself is not only over-used but also mis-applied quite often.

    It's more an indicator of a type of fan than a particular direction of a given band, if you ask me. There's a certain type of person who identifies himself through his "eclectic" taste (another frequent misnomer) and can't enjoy music if more than three or four people know about it.

    I think it might have been James Hetfield who answered this charge, once upon a time by saying, "Sold out? Sure . . .  we sold out. We sold out Amersterdam, we sold out London, we sold out Brussels . . .   "





     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    Speaking of selling out, I could easily say the same thing about yoga.  Ever since yoga hit the mainstream ... oh, don't get me started.  :D  Yoga is such big business now, people who don't know or understand a thing about yoga are spending big bucks for classes, equipment, clothes, not to mention those yoga "retreats" in Costa Rica and "spa weekends" to the tune of thousands of dollars.  Seriously.

    Now where was I?  Sorry, I got a little carried away there.  :D

    All this to say that "selling out" is now applied to many industries.  In music,  it's a label that is more often than not applied selfishly by people who are idealistic, and who slap the label on because they don't like the direction the musician is taking, especially if they're re-branding or following a new trend.  I've been guilty of saying it myself when I become disenchanted.   As I've gotten older and hopefully wiser, I see music as a profession; musicians need and to 'reinvent' themselves to stay in the game, similar to the rest of us in our own professional circles.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from phsmith8. Show phsmith8's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    exploration is a very good thing in music, exploitation is not. i think so, at least.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    As said here and elsewhere, it depends entirely on the artist's intentions and what "selling out" is in aid of.  If it's strictly on the artist's terms, and their artistic conscience is clean, then it's not "selling out".

    However, if the artist compromises their integrity to put out an inferior or mediocre product merely to appeal to a mass audience, then yes, that might be "selling out".

    And for those who might wonder about such a thing called "artistic integrity", it does exist, but given the pervasive nature of the business side of art, it's so amorphous as to be extremely hard to pin down.  Ultimately, an artist must take a stand for a set of principles, even if those principles are petty and facetious.

    As you may tell, I have rather strong opinions on this subject both in music and art contexts.  I should probably shut up now before I get too didactic.


    P.S.  "Eclecticism" is a well-defined term that does NOT just mean "a little of everything".
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    "Selling out", in my opinion, entails a reduction in the quality of the music.  Sacrificing artistic integrity for the sake of appealing to a broader audience.

    Genesis is the ultimate sellout band.  They went from art rock to bubble gum rock.

    Making music that is more accessible is one thing.  Making music for the sole reason of selling more albums is different.

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    The interesting aspect of the concept of "selling out" is that there are people who believe that a truly great artist continues to transcend their own influence, someone who is constantly bringing the listening audience to a new world and a new experience.  Somone who makes each album different, sure with some of the signature sound, that's inevitable, but with a new challenge not only to themselves, but to the fans.  They're presenting their music in a way (sound, production, etc.) so that it's actually prompting the listeners to evolve.  Perhaps there is a fine line between evolving and selling out, depending on whose interpretation you follow.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from yogafriend. Show yogafriend's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?:
    [QUOTE]As said here and elsewhere, it depends entirely on the artist's intentions and what "selling out" is in aid of.  If it's strictly on the artist's terms, and their artistic conscience is clean, then it's not "selling out". However, if the artist compromises their integrity to put out an inferior or mediocre product merely to appeal to a mass audience, then yes, that might be "selling out". And for those who might wonder about such a thing called "artistic integrity", it does exist, but given the pervasive nature of the business side of art, it's so amorphous as to be extremely hard to pin down.  Ultimately, an artist must take a stand for a set of principles, even if those principles are petty and facetious. As you may tell, I have rather strong opinions on this subject both in music and art contexts.  I should probably shut up now before I get too didactic. P.S.  "Eclecticism" is a well-defined term that does NOT just mean "a little of everything".
    Posted by MattyScornD[/QUOTE]Well, when does art veer into the definition of a "trade" -- and does that denote sacrificing ones' artistic integrity, or does it mean combining your creativity with a way to make a living? (think graphic artists and web designers, for a couple of quick, easy examples -- often have art backgrounds which lend themselves beautifully to a practical way of making a living).  That's not selling out, is it? 

    And for that matter, let me just say ahead of time, I consider professions such as medicine and law, trades.  :D
      
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing? : Well, when does art veer into the definition of a "trade" -- and does that denote sacrificing ones' artistic integrity, or does it mean combining your creativity with a way to make a living? (think graphic artists and web designers, for a couple of quick, easy examples -- often have art backgrounds which lend themselves beautifully to a practical way of making a living).  That's not selling out, is it?  And for that matter, let me just say ahead of time, I consider professions such as medicine and law, trades.  :D   
    Posted by yogafriend[/QUOTE]

    The artist has always been a tradesperson at core, even allowing for the distinction-without-a-difference between "artists" and "artisans".  It all depends upon the product and the intended audience.

    Historically, art and music and literature were about communication, telling stories, or documenting events for posterity.  Even in the middle ages and renaissance, when work was produced at the behest of the church and/or wealthy merchants, the work was commissioned in advance, but the artist still needed training and skills in their respective media.

    Back to your point, let's look at the hobbyist - someone who creates an art object for their own satisfaction or even as a gift.  There's a conscious decision when the hobbyist says, "I'll start selling these to make a profit."  In most of these cases, the market determines the direction of the work, not the other way around.

    With graphic/web designers, they're creating work based upon a client's specs, not necessarily what the artist wants to make at that point.  They can certainly inject some of their style and skillset to make it unique, but the decision of whether it's shown or seen is up to the client, not the artist.
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from southpaw777. Show southpaw777's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    Sometimes a bands' music will  "mature" so to speak. While keeping with their main writing style, sometimes being a creative being we tend to veer off and try new things while still trying to be true to what we love to do. Metallica is a perfect example. The expericences that band went through also added to the musical direction. Kirk hammet went all over the world and has incorperated new guitar styles into the songs..When they hired Bob Rock to produce their 5th album "Metallica", he brought a whole new way of thinking and ideas to them that seemed to appeal to a some of their fans, a whole new audience, and...THEM. Now they lost some of the "hardcore" crowd, but gained a whole lot more. I dont believe they changed that dramatically. Rather just grew musically. Jason Newstead said it best--"Yes, we sell out...every seat in the house, every time we play, anywhere we play."  Now isnt that the whole idea? Some fans are going to abandon a band they have enjoyed for years because the band wanted a slight change of pace in a good direction after 4 albums I guess. Your not going to make everyone happy.. IMO the reward was much greater and they didnt have to "sell out".
    Just my thoughts...from a musicians point of view..
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    Selling out is when the artist does things more for money than for the art.  Are they trying to make good art or are they trying to sell more albums.

    Another example of selling out is Journey.  Former members of the original Santana broke away to start a Jam band like the Grateful Dead except without a singer.  They got talked into hiring a singer because they were gping to lose their record contract (no sales), and started writing songs intended to be commercially successful.  Most of the original members dropped out of the band as they didn't want to put out that type of schlock.  Commercially, they were very successful.  But artistically, not so much.

    Springsteen never lived up to his hype.  He was supposed to achieve commercial success without sacrificing his art.  But he couldn't do it so he did the solo thing and put out dance music. 

    Some bands will try to put out an album aimed at being commercially successful and then go back to their roots - Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood come to mind.  They both had the ultimate sell out, Phil Collins, produce an album for them and then went back to putting out good stuff.

    I can't listen to that over-simplified stuff.  It's boring.  Mind numbing.  It's like bad TV or a bad movie.

    It's like Hiedi Watney on the Red Sox games.  She's terrible.  She knows nothing about baseball and was hired only because of her looks.  Absent any substance.

    That's it - selling out means the absence of any substance.  That's the problem with a band selling out.  It's like watered down gravy - no substance.  It's like strawberry shortcake made with cool whip and frozen strawberries instead of fresh strawberries and real whipped cream.  It's like cake made from a box instead of made from scratch.  It's like regular old syrup on your pancakes instead of real Maple syrup.  It's like scrambled eggs made from powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs. It's like Ragu instead of homemade sauce.  It's like switching to high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar.  It's like a puppy from a puppy mill instead of one bred by a champion breeder.

    Actually it's worse.  A band that sells out had the talent and ability to be really good but chose a short cut to wealth and fame.  I can understand some no-talent hack like Britney Spears being a sell out from th get go.  But a band that has success seliing out to get more fame and money.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from phsmith8. Show phsmith8's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?:
    [QUOTE] And for that matter, let me just say ahead of time, I consider professions such as medicine and law, trades.  :D   
    Posted by yogafriend[/QUOTE]

    this is confusing to me, because i always thought that a "trade" is generally an occupation where one has to work with their hands...carpentry, plumbing, construction, etc.

    irrelevant, but it piqued my interest.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from AGUY1. Show AGUY1's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?


    I thought the “sell out” tag often had to do with endorsements and commercialism and was quite selective.

    Probably the first person I remember being tagged a sell out was Eric Clapton when he did that commercial for Michelob.  Maybe it was partly because he was a reformed alcoholic.  But it seemed as he immediately did that commercial he was called a sellout.  What I found odd about the whole affair is that around the same time, Ray Charles was doing commercials for Pepsi but no one called him a sellout.  And the thing with Ray Charles, his endorsement was on a much larger scale.  He did the commercial, then he had his life sized picture on the front of Pepsi Machines and even performed his “You got the right thing Baby” Pepsi song at a concerts yet, not a word was mentioned that he was a sellout.  That’s what I mean as selective.

     

    No one called the Stones sellouts either even though “Start Me Up” was used by Microsoft, yet another selective call.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    In Response to Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?:
    [QUOTE]Springsteen never lived up to his hype.  He was supposed to achieve commercial success without sacrificing his art.  But he couldn't do it so he did the solo thing and put out dance music.
    Posted by DirtyWaterLover[/QUOTE]

    ???
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    I disagree slightly about the money thing.

    Just because a song or album becomes popular, that doesn't make it a sellout necessarily.  Some of those things are simply beyond the control of the artist.

    I would bet that "Light My Fire" was never intended or written as the smash hit it finally became.  It was really just a coincidence mixed with a pretty good song. 

    Sometimes recognition takes years; sometimes it happens almost literally overnight, but the latter is much less common.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    All musicians have goals when they set out - play in a club; have people see you play in a club; have people pay you to play in a club and so on and so on. Your goals change as you progress in your career and your life. I think once you start seeing the possible end results (financial security, etc.), you see what you can do to achieve it. If crossing over to sell 5 million records is a sell out, please tell me where I board.

    I would doubt very seriously that a band like Sonic Youth who is known for their artistic integrity ever sat down in a room and said we will purposely never try and write a cross-over tune that will get us to the promised land. I am sure they tried annd it just never materialized. Anyway, that is just my opinion.
     
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  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from leafswin27. Show leafswin27's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    When the Clash sold out like 5 nights at the Bond in NY back in the day. there was that press conferecne where they were asked about selling out.. Mick Jones said something to the affect of.. selling out is when you play 5 shows.. and people by up all the tickets where there are no more left. That means you have sold out..
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from newman09. Show newman09's posts

    Re: Why Is Selling Out A Bad Thing?

    You guys are making my argument...well said!
     

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