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Selling Out?

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What do people on these boards regard as selling out?

I see a lot of people who instantly say a band sold out when they release an album that appeals to a wider fan base. I would disagree with that whole heartedly.

Its just something that interests me, because so many people have so many different reasons for saying a band have sold out.

Me personally, would happily go and play as a session bass player for any pop star if it meant getting to see the world and play music, sure it may not be what I'm really into, but at least I'm getting to play music, and I would be getting paid for it.

Is that selling out?

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It is a difficult judgement call on what is "selling out" as sometimes bands get labelled this way just for getting more popular even if musically they haven't really changed. Sometimes bands/singers like to branch out and try other things while sometimes certain acts will court a fad audience for a quick buck but I think it depends a lot on the original core fanbase of the particular act and how tolerant they are to change in "their" band.

is, Metallica gained a wider fanbase with Load/Reload but alienated a lot of the original core fans. Was this done purely for gain and not because of musical experimentation or growth? (with Metallica obviously for the money but I would still going and see them live if they played Aberdeen as a couple of the best gigs I have ever seen were by them).

On the issue of being paid to jaunt across the world, great if you can get it! I applied as Kylie's tour masseuse but no reply yet.

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I think you can't sell out if you never bought in. Only bands that harp on about DIY or keeping it real or being true to their roots etc can sell out, and to do that they have to in some way turn their back on whatever values they've espoused.

If a band just happens to change their style or decide they want a good living and have never made any promises about not doing so then I don't think it's possible for them to sell out.

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Guest Savant

Fletcher from Pennywise defined selling out as 'Changing what you do, for money'. I think that's a pretty good definition to go by.

Over the years, good bands will get popular, but that doesn't mean they sold out; a band can't help if they explode. For example, Nirvana got big and hated it...

But that boy from fightstar who insists he's into hardcore or whatever, and played in Busted... I doubt he listens to that shit as well...

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Guest Savant
(with Metallica obviously for the money but I would still going and see them live if they played Aberdeen as a couple of the best gigs I have ever seen were by them).

Interesting you say that, as they were already multi-millionaires after the Black album was released, and the Black album isn't a HUGE departure from some of their earlier stuff... And they weren't doing too badly off of Puppets & Justice.

I wouldn't say Metallica sold out by releasing Load / ReLoad because despite changing their style; they didn't change it to something widely popular at the time - THAT would be selling out. People moan if a band don't change their style or experiment, and I think bands do become stale if they don't experiment - take Pennywise for example - their last two albums seem like they're going through the motions.

One of the most interesting things about Thrice is that they change their style on every album and explore new sounds, but they aren't selling out because they're not writing poppy 'hits'.

Me personally, would happily go and play as a session bass player for any pop star if it meant getting to see the world and play music, sure it may not be what I'm really into, but at least I'm getting to play music, and I would be getting paid for it.

Is that selling out?

Not if you don't say you hate pop music and pop 'stars'. :p

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i would have tended to just see it as a band simultanously getting 'bigger' and their music getting shitter (and i guess more commercial). i'm not really precious about such things though, i could always listen to older albums or other bands.

now that it's been mentioned though, i think the definitions given by savant and chris are probably better.

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Guest Jake Wifebeater
Fletcher from Pennywise defined selling out as 'Changing what you do, for money'. I think that's a pretty good definition to go by.

That's it in a nutshell, really.

That's not the same as changing the direction of your musical output, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that.

And as has already been said, you can only sell out if you "bought in" in the first place.

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Selling out is a phrase used entirely by amateurs and niche acts who have absolutely no chance of selling a record or getting paid for playing. It is never used in professional circles and is, frankly, rather akin to calling people who wear glasses, specky.

Play for fun musicians are sometimes known to trot this meaningless phrase out, but, if you genuinely play for fun and really, truly don't care if you make money from music, then why throw this childish taunt at anyone else, because you shouldn't care if they do. Or does just a tenny weeny part of you hate the fact that other people achieve success and you haven't? Go on, be honest.

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Metallica gained a wider fanbase with Load/Reload but alienated a lot of the original core fans. Was this done purely for gain and not because of musical experimentation or growth?

Metallica were apparently selling out when they released the black album though. some fans just want thier bands to sound the same and if they change or progress they get shunned.

If you dont progress you'll just end up sounding like ACDC or obituary,"Hey everyone, the new ac/dc albums out"..."So what? Who cares?"

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Guest Jake Wifebeater
Or does just a tenny weeny part of you hate the fact that other people achieve success and you haven't? Go on, be honest.

Nah, not really. Some people get understandably pissed off when those you thought were in it for the same reasons as yourself suddenly fuck off to "bigger and better things". It's not a nice feeling to have i.e. that you've been used.

Hasn't happened to me and probably never will. I used to get pissed off about it, like when Napalm Death turned into just another shit metal band, but it really doesn't matter.

Just follow the simple rule: If you don't like a band's music or actions, don't buy their stuff.

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What do people on these boards regard as selling out?

I see a lot of people who instantly say a band sold out when they release an album that appeals to a wider fan base. I would disagree with that whole heartedly.

Its just something that interests me, because so many people have so many different reasons for saying a band have sold out.

Me personally, would happily go and play as a session bass player for any pop star if it meant getting to see the world and play music, sure it may not be what I'm really into, but at least I'm getting to play music, and I would be getting paid for it.

Is that selling out?

I would pretty much view that as selling out. It depends on what you want to get from music...Music is entertainment at the end of the day, if you enjoy it - brilliant who cares if it's on the radio or if they sold out, they made a nice song that makes people happy.

BUT I can understand the other point of view. To contradict myslef completely if I like a band for a certain sound and then they go and incorporate a sound that is 'flavour of the month' that pisses me off cause I personaly like to hear people try and do something imaginative and rise above the temtation to write something purely to make money.

that probably makes no sense.

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The thing is I think that Metallica deliberatelty tried to water their sound down to make even more money even though they were millionaires already but it backfired to a certain extent and they lost a lot of credability and core fanbase. They have been spouting about how they want to make their new album more like Master Of Puppets and for the last couple of years have ignored the bulk of the Load/Reload material live. Still some good tunes on those albums but they were very week in comparison to the previous material (including the Black album).

As for the blokey from Fightstar/Busted well I think he does actually listen to metal/hardcore etc. He was making a mint in Busted and had loads of addolation but decided to walk out and start up a metal/metalcore/whatever band from scratch and get back to touring pubs and toilets which they have been doing these last 2/3 years and are actually getting reasonably successful. I remember an interview with him when Busted were flying and he said that he was into metal. His wee brother is in Brigade whom I like, nice and heavy live and I have had a bit of a listen to the new Fightstar album and I think it is actually pretty good. Will go along to Moshulu next Tuesday and give the lad a chance to impress me.

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i actually wouldn't see turning into a mercenary session player 'selling out'. i mean in that situation you'd just be payed a wage/fee and stand at the back of the stage/play some small part on the album amidst all the samples.

most fans of 'pop stars' wouldn't care about the bassist for that particular tour, your name doesn't go on the cover of the record, you don't get paid anything like the pop star themself... besides i'd think that most session players, even for pop music, would be seriously formidable musicians and if someone works to get to that level, surely you can't grudge them making a living from it in some capacity.

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Guest Savant
The thing is I think that Metallica deliberatelty tried to water their sound down to make even more money even though they were millionaires already but it backfired to a certain extent and they lost a lot of credability and core fanbase. They have been spouting about how they want to make their new album more like Master Of Puppets and for the last couple of years have ignored the bulk of the Load/Reload material live. Still some good tunes on those albums but they were very week in comparison to the previous material (including the Black album).

As for the blokey from Fightstar/Busted well I think he does actually listen to metal/hardcore etc. He was making a mint in Busted and had loads of addolation but decided to walk out and start up a metal/metalcore/whatever band from scratch and get back to touring pubs and toilets which they have been doing these last 2/3 years and are actually getting reasonably successful. I remember an interview with him when Busted were flying and he said that he was into metal. His wee brother is in Brigade whom I like, nice and heavy live and I have had a bit of a listen to the new Fightstar album and I think it is actually pretty good. Will go along to Moshulu next Tuesday and give the lad a chance to impress me.

I was meaning the pop stuff when I asked if you think Charlay listens to that... Doubtful. The point with that is that he acted as a puppet, doing something he wasn't into, for money. I fucking hate pop music (in part, due to the fact that it's written by one person, 'performed' by another and profiteered by another) so there's no way I'd be in a pop band.

As for Metallica, perhaps you just don't like Load, but personally I think it's one of their best albums! ReLoad is a little weak on good songs, but the sounds on the two albums are way more diverse than anything on any of their previous work and I think that the song is more central than riffs on these albums too (don't get me wrong, I love tech and I love all Metallica's stuff, esp Justice but excluding St Anger). I didn't like Load/ReLoad when they were first released but I came around to it eventually.

I wouldn't say their 'plan' to get more money backfired because bands always lose fans when they change style/develop, but as Jake says, it's usually people who want them to write the same album 10 times. Don't you think Metallica would get bored writing Kill 'Em All riffs for 20 odd years? And that their fanbase would get bored listening to it?

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Me personally, would happily go and play as a session bass player for any pop star if it meant getting to see the world and play music, sure it may not be what I'm really into, but at least I'm getting to play music, and I would be getting paid for it.

Is that selling out?

Beats an office job... tenfold.

I'd use the money to make music i was really interested in.

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' date=' post: 427603"']Beats an office job... tenfold.

I'd use the money to make music i was really interested in.

Interesting point. What if you're not using the money to make music you're interested in though, and the sole purpose of the band is to make money? What about covers bands, function bands etc. Are they selling out right from the start?

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I personally don't see selling out as a completely positive thing for a band. I imagine the fame and faceless could-move-on-to-the-next-big-thing-tomorrow fanboys and fangirls would be quite hollow compared to playing to people who connect with and truely love your music.

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Guest Jake Wifebeater
What about covers bands, function bands etc. Are they selling out right from the start?

Not sure about selling out, but I wouldn't even consider them bands. They're as much a band as the pissed-up Leannes/Gemmas/Natalies doing karaoke down the pub.

The musical equivalent of mime, utterly devoid of merit.

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I was meaning the pop stuff when I asked if you think Charlay listens to that... Doubtful. The point with that is that he acted as a puppet, doing something he wasn't into, for money. I fucking hate pop music (in part, due to the fact that it's written by one person, 'performed' by another and profiteered by another) so there's no way I'd be in a pop band.

As for Metallica, perhaps you just don't like Load, but personally I think it's one of their best albums! ReLoad is a little weak on good songs, but the sounds on the two albums are way more diverse than anything on any of their previous work and I think that the song is more central than riffs on these albums too (don't get me wrong, I love tech and I love all Metallica's stuff, esp Justice but excluding St Anger). I didn't like Load/ReLoad when they were first released but I came around to it eventually.

I wouldn't say their 'plan' to get more money backfired because bands always lose fans when they change style/develop, but as Jake says, it's usually people who want them to write the same album 10 times. Don't you think Metallica would get bored writing Kill 'Em All riffs for 20 odd years? And that their fanbase would get bored listening to it?

This was actually the standpoint I had originally with Metallica and I do actually like Load & Reload (if not as much as their other albums excluding St Anger) but during that whole period their actions in other areas and general behaviour led me to a position of mistrust on where Metallica were and their viewpoint on what they could get away with. I wouldn't want them to release the same album over and over and the the albums they did up to that point were suitable different with their own "spin". Their live performances also dipped sharply in quality in that period and they looked like a band in terminal spin. Current performances are very good and they seem to have found a bit of their mojo back so I am looking forward to seeing what the new album will be like. My general opinion is that Metallica had a ten year blip where they believed their own hype, thought they could milk the fans and had a combined booze/drugs/stress breakdown where they forgot that they were musicians in a metal band. I am hoping that this period taught them a thing or two and they are now better and stronger for it as I found in uncomfortable watching them in their near death throws.

I do like it that the Busted geezer decided that being a puppet wasn't for him and started from scratch. He was young and got his head turned by money and chicks (easy to do) but in the end at least he had the bottle to go back to what he believed in (even if it did mean at first he got bottled in pretty much every gig). Roll on Tuesday when I will get a chance to see if there is anything there live though it will probably be me and a few hundred very young whipper snappers.

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I'll take a plunge and say I don't believe a band can sell out.

I see bands as a business, and what does a business do? they change what they do in order to maximise profits. ie a band changes what it does to maximise profits.

I'lll no doubt get slated for that statement

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Interesting point. What if you're not using the money to make music you're interested in though, and the sole purpose of the band is to make money? What about covers bands, function bands etc. Are they selling out right from the start?

Not at all. Playing music professionally is simply a job like any other. You provide a service and are paid a fee depending on the quality or desirability of that service.

I make all of my income from music and also play for my own pleasure but I never let the two collide.

I play from 200-300 gigs a year playing weddings, corporate events, functions and even pubs. Lots of crap covers but it's for the customers, who get what they pay for. It's a job. This income funds my own songwriting gives me the chance to play my own music to thousands of people a year who then buy my music. It also generates a useful income from PRS royalties as well.

Being well paid for this lets me offer my studio for very low prices, because I firmly believe that there should be a facility available for young bands and artists to record to a high standard for a reasonable price, which is 100 per day. I run my record label and music publishing side of things in the same manner. PRS is awash with cash and the bands that are playing their own music are entitled to a share of that cash and we do it for them.

(And we backdate the claims for 3 years!!)

It's not selling out just good business practice.

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Guest Steven Dedalus
I'll take a plunge and say I don't believe a band can sell out.

I see bands as a business, and what does a business do? they change what they do in order to maximise profits. ie a band changes what it does to maximise profits.

I'lll no doubt get slated for that statement

One would almost think you're being deliberately provocative...

If you wanted to be in business, why don't you get involved in the oil industry or something? A musician can never be a businessman - the two worlds are mutually exclusive. The function of the musician is to create and express themselves. The function of the businessman is to take what the musician has done, and market that to an audience. If music is art and not product (as I truly believe it is), then the businessman can never make art because he has one eye on the profits and will never express himself creatively. The musician cannot be a businessman because the role of the musician is to express themselves honestly and creatively, and if one is altering what they do in order to make their art a product, then they are no longer expressing anything other than a desire for money.

I'm not saying that a musician cannot make money, but what I am saying is that it's not really why they should be doing it if they want to make art. Which is the highest goal music can accomplish.

However, picking up on something someone said earlier on, you can't sell out if you never bought into it, and knowing the music you play and listen to (from a while back, anyway), I don't think you ever bought into it in the first place. Integrity isn't something I associate with manufactured emotions and business strategies.

I also want to point out that I am not having a personal attack on you or your music. There is a space in music for people who want to make money, and you do that very well. Your musical projects have always catered for a need that has been there, and you've always done it well. It's just that I don't respect that way of doing it, and no-doubt you'd have little time for my way of doing things, which involves refusing payment for gigs, giving away cds for free, and generally having absolutely nothing to do with product of finance. Someday you could make a lot of money from music, whilst I never will.

And also, most of my favourite artists have sold out at some point, but a few didn't, and they're the ones I respect and keep coming back to.

To round things off - In my opinion, if you write a song for any reason other than to express something within yourself, you are selling out, and "turning rebellion into money" as Joe Strummer once sang. That's a simplistic view, but I'm standing by it.

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