To every pretentious know-it-all (this isn’t aimed at anyone here) who keeps talking about which musicians have “sold out”, at least learn what that means before you talk.
Just because a formerly obscure band suddenly finds fame without compromising their style or values, this does not mean they have sold out. It means they have become successful. I know you’re very happy to be able to easily rattle off the names of ten bands no one’s EVER heard of before when someone asks you what music you listen to. But this doesn’t make you special or superior to everyone else. It just makes you pretentious and annoying.
Just because a band or artist appears in or lets a company use one of their songs in a commercial, this does not necessarily mean they’ve sold out. Now, if they have come right out and said that they hate commercialism and would never stoop so low as to hock crap on T.V., then they’ve probably sold out to make that Ford commercial. And if you hate commercialism so much, what do you say when your record label wants to promote your album? “Sorry, we’d prefer to remain penniless and keep our day jobs at Cinnabon so we can stay true to our ideals and not sell out.”? Yeah, that’s nice. I’d try to get some exposure so maybe being a musician could be my only job some day.
Keep in mind here that professional musicians do this for a living. They get paid to make music. How is that so different from saying, “Sure, you can use our song we’ve already recoded in that Mitsubishi commercial. More exposure for us!”?
If a band that used to make their own kind of music, ska for example, decides they want to be super-rich and starts making crappy pop because that’s what sells, they’ve probably sold out.
If a sweet young girl lets her record label dress her up like a crack whore to sell more records, she’s their puppet and while she may have a soul, she certainly doesn’t have a spine.
It doesn’t count as selling out if they started that way. The Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, and any other fabricated-by-a-record-label band is incapable of selling out. You have to have ideals to abandon in the first place.
If you use “sell out” as a shorthand term for any band or artist you don’t happen to like, stop that right now. You’re only embarassing yourself.
Thank you for reading and have a lovely day.