Page 1 of 3
#1
While reading another thread here, I was wondering the difference between being serious about playing, and selling out? I love playing music, and I hope one day I can play in front of big crowds, make good music, I have high aspirations. But some people would say that that is just playing for fame. I would never play for the purpose of making money, I dont care if I get nothing out of it. What makes a band a sell out, playing for the wrong reasons, versus, a band with just high aspirations?
#2
Selling out is changing your style of music for the simple goal of making more money, as opposed to playing what you like
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#3
I think I might have used the wrong word. How about, not selling out, but playing for the wrong reasons?
#4
Thats a good question to pose, and all the time ive been doing it, i've followed that same philosophy, just for fun, never for a career, and sadly, i've seen all too many bands sell out, move further afield and lose all the creative flair they had, essentially, thats the reason why I left my last band.
We must stay passionate about the music we enjoy writing, selling out, would mean changing styles to become popular, not sure about you, I'd much rather be in a band with guys who all share the same idea writing nearly 3 or 4 new songs a week, than in a band that gets told what to write by a chief executive somewhere the other side of the world.
As many management companies and recording companies have approached me and the guys, we've never been tempted by cash to get popular and win tons of adoring fans for being something were not, we may only have about 50-70 fans, if that, but we know they like our music, because its what we enjoy writing and playing at shows, but the 100,000 lets say sell-out bands would have, adore them for being styled into shape by Deluxocorp Studios or something.

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#5
Selling out means changing your music in order to make money, in other words. Selling the right to make the music you want to make. If you go DCfC and become really popular then decide to go mainstream i wouldnt call it selling out. But if ur a no name rock band, and decide to go pop punk just to make money even though you dont really want to write that kind of music, you are selling out.
#6
Yeah, basically going from prog rock to pop rock is selling out. But it depends on the reason you're going from prog to pop. Do you actually like pop rock more then prog? Or do you actually like a full wallet rather then a half-full one?

Actually enjoying "sell out" music and playing for the purpose of making money are completely different.
#8
Quote by Loves Me Trike
There's nothing wrong with selling out, making money owns.


Why would you pick the ****ing music business if the only thing you want to do with your life is make money? Go be a lawyer or doctor or some ****, the music business has no guarantees; you're not the only one with this mentality and the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.

Music is a form of expression, IMO giving the people who express themselves the least the most money kills the magic completely.
#9
Quote by itstheman
Why would you pick the ****ing music business if the only thing you want to do with your life is make money? Go be a lawyer or doctor or some ****, the music business has no guarantees; you're not the only one with this mentality and the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.

Music is a form of expression, IMO giving the people who express themselves the least the most money kills the magic completely.


This world is so unjust
#10
Quote by itstheman
d the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.


Depending on your definition of "successful" that is far too nice. If you mean that you are successful enough to make a living off your money, you are suggesting that 3 out of every 100 musicians "make-it". This is not the case.

I don't see anything wrong with adjusting your music to be more accessible for the audience if you want a better reception, being offered to actually change your genre for money is a rare thing however, as a record company could easily choose a band which is already in that genre.
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#11
Quote by itstheman
Why would you pick the ****ing music business if the only thing you want to do with your life is make money? Go be a lawyer or doctor or some ****, the music business has no guarantees; you're not the only one with this mentality and the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.

Music is a form of expression, IMO giving the people who express themselves the least the most money kills the magic completely.



Because playing ****ty music is still playing music. I'd much rather make money playing music I hate than make money working a day job so I can play the music I love. Music is music. The only people who fear selling out are closed minded teenagers who have no idea what it takes to make a living. I would have loved the opportunity to make a living playing any music, but alas, that wasn't in the cards. Do you know how many guys would kill to be Miley Cyrus' touring guitar player? Know why? Because it's a paying gig, something I'm sure all those guys terrified of selling out aren't too familiar with.
#12
Quote by koslack
Because playing ****ty music is still playing music. I'd much rather make money playing music I hate than make money working a day job so I can play the music I love. Music is music. The only people who fear selling out are closed minded teenagers who have no idea what it takes to make a living. I would have loved the opportunity to make a living playing any music, but alas, that wasn't in the cards. Do you know how many guys would kill to be Miley Cyrus' touring guitar player? Know why? Because it's a paying gig, something I'm sure all those guys terrified of selling out aren't too familiar with.


Absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make money playing crappy music, but playing with the intention that you can easily "make it" because you're playing sell-out music is retarded. You won't make ANY good money in the music business for a while (original band wise,) regardless of what you're doing.
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#13
Quote by Brian 1.0
Absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make money playing crappy music, but playing with the intention that you can easily "make it" because you're playing sell-out music is retarded. You won't make ANY good money in the music business for a while (original band wise,) regardless of what you're doing.


Eh? What exactly is "sell-out music"? Is it anything that isn't metal?

Quite often I'll identify a niche in my local music scene and write music to fit it. I'm currently forming a funk band because there are no funk bands around and more people will watch us. Does this make me a sell-out? Nope. It makes me a strategist.
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#14
I hate the term sell out. Its lost all credibility because of 13 and 14 year olds throwing it around about every band they dislike, and it all amounts to them being jealous of someone elses accomplishments.

Like its a pretty popular thing nowadays to call Green Day sell outs, now in my opinion they play horrible horrible music, but thats just my opinion. But why are they called sell outs? Because they dont sing about jacking off and boogers anymore? because they grew up? Because they decided that a different kind of music is the kind of music that will move thier soul more?
#15
Quote by koslack
I'd much rather make money playing music I hate than make money working a day job so I can play the music I love.

faiir enough, not me though. given the option between the 2 i'd rather work a dayjob. if i had to play country and/or tejano/polka music for 6 hours a day i'd f#cking cry myself to sleep at night. i'd be all up in the shower trying to scrub the shame off.
#16
I'd gladly do a job playing awful music, but I wouldn't work for it. Unfortunately it takes a lot of hard work to get good gigs playing anything really, even boring yuppie music.
#17
How do you actually know if an artist has "sold out"?

The only time I really hear it, is out of the mouths of petty people who appear to be jealous of another artists success. It seems to be their way to excuse their own inadequacies, and lack of success. I've heard people say things like, "We're as good as they are, but we won't sell out". Rarely, if ever, have I found that to be a true statement.

Sorry, but this is a pet peeve of mine, not just relating to music, but the Arts in general. There are many reasons for people to make changes in their art. I'm not privy to all those reasons, so I don't judge the motivations of others. Advice from an old fart, neither should you.

Even if an artist has sold out, that's their business, not mine.
#18
Quote by Loves Me Trike
This world is so unjust


"You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe." --Ranger Marcus Cole
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#19
Quote by Loves Me Trike
There's nothing wrong with selling out, making money owns.


Quote from Gene Simmons: "To all the songwriters who have a point of view that money’s not everything. For every dollar you don’t want, would you mind sending me those dollars?” — On the question of selling out and maintaining integrity

The rest of the article is kind of an entertaining read too.... http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/music/2009/03/12/8730246.html

And of course.... koslack and AlanHB for the win again.

@Fly1990.... what kinds of offers? Listening to what it is in your profile, I hear more of a home-made ambient/textural approach to music - not a big commercial-ready production where labels and producers and managers would be falling all over themselves sending you offers.

CT
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#20
Quote by AlskiOverload
While reading another thread here, I was wondering the difference between being serious about playing, and selling out? I love playing music, and I hope one day I can play in front of big crowds, make good music, I have high aspirations. But some people would say that that is just playing for fame. I would never play for the purpose of making money, I dont care if I get nothing out of it. What makes a band a sell out, playing for the wrong reasons, versus, a band with just high aspirations?


Part of not selling out is playing music for your own reasons and not catering to what you think other people want. (or will say)

Your reasons may indeed be to make alot of money, or they may be more artistic in nature.... or somewhere in between. The point is.... they're your reasons.
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Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 10, 2009,
#21
Everyone has a certain passion for their music. Some people just like their music and don't want to change it for a few dollars. Others prefer to switch it up for some extra money. It depends how much you care about your music and how much you actually prefer to eat.

If your integrity makes you worry for your respect, then you can garantuee those guys selling out those ampitheatres get their asses kissed on a daily basis. Alot more than the smaller bands with less of a rep.
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Last edited by Banana Man at Aug 10, 2009,
#22
Quote by itstheman
Why would you pick the ****ing music business if the only thing you want to do with your life is make money? Go be a lawyer or doctor or some ****, the music business has no guarantees; you're not the only one with this mentality and the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.

Music is a form of expression, IMO giving the people who express themselves the least the most money kills the magic completely.

That all sounds good on paper. But let me know how you feel if a corporate suit throws 5 million bucks at you.
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#23
Quote by dmiwshicldply
Like its a pretty popular thing nowadays to call Green Day sell outs, now in my opinion they play horrible horrible music, but thats just my opinion. But why are they called sell outs? Because they dont sing about jacking off and boogers anymore? because they grew up? Because they decided that a different kind of music is the kind of music that will move thier soul more?

Green Day never sang about that stuff before, and i think you answered the question in your paragraph, people probably call them sell outs because they changed there music?
#24
Quote by Danmcn12
Green Day never sang about that stuff before, and i think you answered the question in your paragraph, people probably call them sell outs because they changed there music?



Ya, total sellouts. People should definitely be doing the same thing at 40 that they do at 20.
Christ, if I'm the same in 20 years as I am now, please just shoot me.
#25
As a long time Green Day listener, I actually think the progression through their albums is quite normal. Sure they sound different now from the Dookie days, but all bands go through that stage.

I remember people crying foul when Live released their "Secret Samadi" album, which was a huge progression, and then they reverted to their previous sound with "The Dolphins Cry" and the same people cried "sell-out".

Is Satriani a sell-out now that he's part of Chicken Foot?
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#26
People will tell you bands sell out when they change styles from a more obscure genre to a more popular one to make money.

Not true.

A band sells out when you don't like a band but you know a lot of people that do.

'Nuff said.
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#27
I wrote an article a while back about this very subject. I'll just copy and paste it:

Being in the music business I hear alot of people use the term 'selling out'. Mainly it is used to describe bands who get big and sign to a label. Which is the biggest load of crack I have ever heard. People who say bands 'sell out' when they sign to big labels are just hating on the fact that they actually made it. It aggravates me so much when bands make it big and people say they are selling out. They started off as nobody, playing in bars and garages and house parties, just like you and me.

Selling out is not that. Selling out is ditching your morals and self-worth to make money.

I remember hearing about an ancient chinese saying about how to survive you must be flexible. How a soft flexible plant will bend and sway in the strongest of winds, whereas a tall stiff strong tree can be blown over and broken in half, regardless of how splendid and amazing it may be in its hieght.

A band will not make it anywhere if they are not flexible and can't roll with what comes to them. If a label comes to you and says 'You have great music, great talent, awesome lyrics and vocals, but you need to lose some weight and clean yourself up because you are not marketable. Change that part and we will make you rich and famous.' Changing something about yourself, your music, or your image to reach a larger audience is NOT selling out.

If you want to stay the same and think that your talent is enough to not be signed or hire people on, go right ahead. It just might take you several years more to get where you want to be.

HOWEVER....

Should you decide to sign to a label, and they tell you 'sing this song, this way, arrange it like this and do this', and it is not your song, and you don't like it, but you play like you do. THAT is selling out. There is a point where you change yourself and who you are to fit the mold, and aren't ok with it. That is selling out. If you aren't honest about what you sing and what you play. That is selling out.

I am all about rockin out and having fun with my friends. That's all I care about. It's why I do it, because I love it. I am very business-minded but I don't let it get to my head and interfere with what makes it fun. Because if you don't love what you do and have fun, why do you do it?

But music is a business. As much of an art form as it is, music is based on math. To succeed in a business you need to be able to take whatever wind is thrown at you and not try to be a different plant than you really are. If I sign to a label and I make alot of money, enough to have music as my primary source of income, I would do it in a heartbeat. That would be the perfect job. Doing what I love for a living is not selling out.
Last edited by JackFlash19 at Oct 1, 2009,
#28
Quote by JackFlash19

Should you decide to sign to a label, and they tell you 'sing this song, this way, arrange it like this and do this', and it is not your song, and you don't like it, but you play like you do. THAT is selling out. There is a point where you change yourself and who you are to fit the mold, and aren't ok with it. That is selling out. If you aren't honest about what you sing and what you play. That is selling out.



I agree with everything but this part. This is simply not how the record industry works. First of all, if they don't like anything about your band, they won't sign you. They can get another band that more closely fits what they want, and skip a lot of headaches, not to mention time and money spent. Second of all, when you are a young band, and cannot guarantee to make the label their money back, plus profit, then you have zero negotiating power. None. A monkey would have more power, because hey, people really love monkeys. Monkeys are known to sell. You guys? Not so much.
So if the label wants to put in a clause saying they get final say in everything you do, and can essentially make you do whatever they want or you are in breach of contract (and this is a pretty basic and common clause in a recording contract), your choice is simple. Sign, and know that you have a shot at making money playing music. Or you can go back to the night shift at the 7/11 and hope some other record exec offers you a better deal (which won't happen). Do the Stones have to put up with this? Of course not. But you ain't the Stones.
In short: being a recording artist is like any other job; if you can't cut it, don't take the position. The real world isn't going to be any kinder to your impeccable integrity, trust me. So if an exec comes to you in that one in a million chance and says he likes your band, wants to give you a cash advance but there's just one small thing about your look, one small thing about your sound, one small thing after another that turns into something bigger, don't be an idiot. Sign the paper. Trust me, you can feed your family better using a pay cheque than integrity.
#29
Great article, JackFlash.

Koslack, I think what he's getting at is doing other people's songs that you don't even like in a style that you don't like and being made to look like something that you're not happy with - not merely tweaking for marketability.

The good news is, as you say, that probably isn't going to happen because if the label needs to find you different songs and have you create a totally different look that isn't you, and change your sound that really isn't you, then they'd probably just sign someone else who was already closer to their ideal.

The tweaking for marketability - we are all asked to do stuff in our jobs to help us get better at them. Why would being a musician be any different?

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#30

Koslack, I think what he's getting at is doing other people's songs that you don't even like in a style that you don't like and being made to look like something that you're not happy with - not merely tweaking for marketability.

The tweaking for marketability - we are all asked to do stuff in our jobs to help us get better at them. Why would being a musician be any different?


An example might be the offer the Chili Peppers got from Malcom McLaren - "You're a great band, but it won't sell. I want to make you popular. You'll play standard chords, root note basslines, and Anthony, you're going to be the frontman. The rest of you will be in the background playing the simplest rock and roll known to man."

I think we can all describe that as selling out. If you want a metaphor that works in day-to-day life, imagine a far-left activist and ideologue who gets a job working in an investment bank 'because it pays more money'. That's selling out in the 'real world' - abandoning your beliefs for money. It's pretty much impossible to sell out if you've always been focused on the money. So, unless your band is focused around a political or social ideology, you needn't worry. :P
#31
Kiss= sellout
Pearl jam= Serious about music
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#32
Quote by travs2448
Kiss= sellout
Pearl jam= Serious about music



How did KISS sell out? They never said they were all about the music. That is a band that has always been about making as much money as humanly possible. They never claimed otherwise. In fact, I'd say KISS has more integrity than any other band. They have stayed true to their vision of making insane amounts of cash throughout their career.
#33
Quote by AlskiOverload
I think I might have used the wrong word. How about, not selling out, but playing for the wrong reasons?


Are you suggesting that there is some objectively correct reason for playing music?
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#34
Quote by itstheman
Why would you pick the ****ing music business if the only thing you want to do with your life is make money? Go be a lawyer or doctor or some ****, the music business has no guarantees; you're not the only one with this mentality and the actual chance of you becoming successful within a reasonable time to work with your life is about 3.040501204012041204% if I can be nice.

Music is a form of expression, IMO giving the people who express themselves the least the most money kills the magic completely.


maybe... talk to me when you have serious bills to pay. there's nothing lame about making money, just like dude said earlier. besides, if you make enough of it, you call the shots.
#35
Selling out/playing for wrong reason TO ME is basically playing whatever is "in" not the music you enjoy. so they just make money.

Like metallica. They were metal then they started playing more alternative to sound metal.
System of a Down kinda did that. First album was heavy and every album after got less and less heavy.
#36
I feel like the majority of the people in this thread aside from alan, koslack, and chris, are dumbass 14 year old kids who whine and bitch about shifts in musical tendancies for their favorite bands.

The majority of us will never even have to ask these questions, becuase hell, we're a bunch of punks ranting on a forum. IF we were smart we'd be wailing away with our metronomes and writing music, and reading, and getting out of the house to enhance our writing. So now that it's known that we are all stupid- Let me just say, I don't think Greenday ever sold out. That doesn't mean I like greenday. TO this day I still consider them wanna-be ramones rippoffs who sound like weak whiny little boys. Does that mean that thier music should be frowned upon becuase of an intense focus of popularity surrounding them? Of course not.
So- taking that into a larger perspective- selling out is the concept of a band changing stylistically to achieve more money. Does that mean metallica sold out? No becuase i'm pretty sure they made way more money off MOP and The black album in comparison to Load, Reload, and St. Anger. They simply had creative proewss to do waht they wanted and started experimenting with thier hard rock roots. No problem there.

Money depends on consumer demand- and often times stylistic shifts break down consumer demands. Hardcore fans will spend more money- so if you really want to make money, get a large hardcore fanbase and market them every product under the sun- like Kiss (gene simmons is a brilliant business man.)

If you really love music you need to understand life is about compramise and you will have to do things you dont want to to support yourself. I'm learning jazz so I can hang tight and get calls from groups to do stand in gigs for cash. Alot of musicians write songs for money.
Some do wedding gigs- you just roll with the punches, get paid, than you can have time to focus on your real music.

Record companies these days dont have time to mold you into the image they want when they can find what they want elswehere- its not like the oldschool when people who play instruments are harder to reach- (internet man..).
SO
cut the ****...
Last edited by Highwaytohell at Aug 15, 2009,
#37
I'm not really saying anything that hasn't already been said in the thread, but I thought the following quote is pretty relevant:

“If you want to work in the entertainment business, the point should be to make great art. Every job that doesn't have "executive" in the title is ultimately about art, and art is not about hate or worship, it's about expression and appreciation. Some art talks to lots of people, other art doesn't, and if you want to be in the business of art then you need to focus on creating art that talks to a lot of people." - Tucker Max
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
#38
I have some pretty unorthodox views on economics and a lot of what the 'sensible' people are saying in this thread bugs me

Nevertheless there is no wrong reason to play music. As long as it's good who cares how much money they are or aren't getting for it
.
#39
Quote by koslack
Because playing ****ty music is still playing music. I'd much rather make money playing music I hate than make money working a day job so I can play the music I love. Music is music. The only people who fear selling out are closed minded teenagers who have no idea what it takes to make a living. I would have loved the opportunity to make a living playing any music, but alas, that wasn't in the cards. Do you know how many guys would kill to be Miley Cyrus' touring guitar player? Know why? Because it's a paying gig, something I'm sure all those guys terrified of selling out aren't too familiar with.


thats different
miley cyrus's touring guitar player
is a session musician not a composing musician

he doesnt write the music therefore isnt selling out
theres a difference between playing to make a living
and writing to make a living, if playing to make a living is selling out are you calling
every guitar teacher and guitar demoer(theres probably a correct word) a sellout?

writing music you like thats also popular isnt selling out
writing music you dont like to get money is
i personally think bands should write to express their feelings to put across a point of view and for the sheer joy of creating and performing your own music
#40
this is perhaps the most pointless thread I've ever read...

...and I once saw a thread about whether the TS should buy a whole set of strings or just the one he broke.

pointless guys, really. how 'bout this: if you feel like you're "selling out" then infact you are. Who gives a s*** what the other guy is doing? it's his life to live, not yours. Get over it.

"When people call us sellouts, I say 'YEP!'

...Every seat in the house, every city we play in!"

-James Hetfield
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