It has been said so many times by people around me that it is beginning to sound unbelievably repetitive. "You like _______? I used to like them, but they sold out." Why are so many people against people who suddenly can find themselves succesful?
First of all, what is "selling out?" From what I gather, from a long time of hearing people biyatch about music, that selling out is when a band goes against what they originally began as, and changed in order to appeal to the masses, in other words, the people who get their music from MTV. Selling out is apparently a bad thing. But think of it this way, when a band signs to a record label, they don't do it because the label represents what they believe, they do it because they want to make it their career. In other words, they want to make money from it.
Now, lets take for example the band Good Charlotte. Now, they released 2 albums. The first, frankly, got them a huge "underground" fan base, and they were idolized for being punk. Congrats to them, unfortunately, since they weren't really mainstream yet, odds are they weren't making too much money off of that first album. Then comes "The Young And The Hopeless," their second album. Keep in mind that they recorded the music on that album before it was released and before they really hit big on MTV (not counting MTV using one of their songs for a theme on some cartoon, the name of it escapes me right now). The video for "Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous" shows and becomes a hit. They sell boatloads more albums than they did with their first CD. Congrats to them, they got more recognition, and they were selling out in stores.
But does that mean they were selling out to their fans? Listening to the first and second albums, I think they kept the same basic music, of course some ideas evolved as did the band and their lyrics, but that should be expected of a music group. They recorded the whole album before any real mainstream recognition, before there were millions of girls blabbing about how Benji is cute and guys all of a sudden spiking their hair like in the Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous video. The music which they released after becoming mainstream (The Anthem, Boys & Girls) were all recorded before their success. So how did they sell out?? Granted, their videos do appeal to the MTV audience, but wouldn't you like to make a video for YOUR song that appeals to more people after you realize you can reach so many more?
My point is, most of the time when people go "pop" or "sellout" they do so with prerecorded material. Of course, there is a chance that the dreaded Music Execs and Label Management did influence them somehow, but no matter what the music that comes out on that CD has to be something that the band is proud of and is happy to share with whomever wants to listen. If they are lucky enough to get a hit with one of their songs, and then become a recognized name and ride the fame for a few more hits, whats the problem? Remember, when they signed on the dotted line with the Label, they signed to make money, and to make music by doing what they love, which is making music, and performing that music for their fans. If a band sells out, then that should be a good thing. Remember what Selling Out really is, selling out is when you sell so many copies of your album that the stores don't have any more to sell because there is such a demand for it. That is what selling out is.
Now that i got that out of the way, let me just reference a few other things that I am sure is running through your head. Yes, some people do change their image or lie to appeal to a "target audience" (remember Milli Vanilli?) and they are the real sellouts. They really sell themselves to the company for the label to do with them as they wish. But those who still do what they always do and still manage to appeal to everyone deserve recognition.
And yes some people do change after becoming famous, but then again, put yourself in the artists shoes. If you were under so much pressure to make another hit after going pop with a hit, and if your whole career was on the line, hanging in the balance and depending wholly on whether or not you can sell out the stores again, won't you try to appeal to as many people as you can?
Alot of people only see the videos of the groups which they think sold out. Many don't realize that what they see isn't the whole album. Yes, some artists do make a few songs to be radio-friendly, just so they can sell their albums. But if you look at some songs on their album, they are exactly like what they did before exploding into the mainstream. Many tracks are exactly what you want from them. I myself like alot of Good Charlotte, and Nickelback, and many other artists who have "sold out" but the thing is i give the whole album a chance. Many times i will skip over the current video single, but sometimes i won't.
So please, if you see someone trying to be successful, don't bring them down by saying you hate them and what they are doing. Don't stop listening to your favorite band just because you aren't their only fan anymore. Appreciate that they are succesful, and respect their choices to stick with what they are happy doing, whether it be appealing to as many people as they can, or appealing only to themselves or their hardcore fans. Because no matter what, someone, somewhere will listen to their music, and someone will appreciate them, and you making a stint about them selling out will not stop them from getting a few hundred other fans to take your place. So be happy for them because they are supposedly your favorite band, be happy that they are successful, and be proud that you can say "I loved their music before most other people even heard their name."