"I hate their new sound, I wish they would make more stuff like their old album."
"These guys never change their sound! What a bunch of stale skunks!"
If you have talked to people who are very much into music, or if you have read comments on music websites, you probably have heard versions of these comments. These comments represent the catch 22 that artists face when they need to decide to change their sound or keep their current sound.
Take a band like Nickleback, for example. One of the most common criticisms they receive is that all of their songs sound the same. Most of them are composed of gritty drop-d guitar riffs and lyrics about partying or sex. For the band, this works out well. All of their current fans will enjoy their 'new stuff' because it sounds like what they are used to, but like I said, other listeners will say "this sounds a lot like their hit a few years ago" and brush them off as boring.
Let's look at the other end of the spectrum, with the band Muse. Their recent single is very dubstep based, which is a one-eighty from some of their old songs, like "New Born" or "Sunburn". How is this received by fans? The older fans who have grown to love their sound might not like the new sound as much, because it's different from what they are used to. However, the change in sound opens the band up to gaining fans who like dubstep and music of that sort.
So what do you think? Do you prefer that bands stick to playing the same music, or is it okay for them to betray their old sound?