« Motley Crue Will Guest Star on 'Bones' This Week | Main | Atreyu Does Bon Jovi = Epic Win »

Sellout: Definition Needed

Posted on Monday, May 11, 2009 at 12:01AM by Registered CommenterAllyson B. Crawford | Comments48 Comments

So the past few days I've been pondering the curious case of "selling out."

I've decided no one knows what the term means and therefore, the saying must be completely irrelevant.

When word broke that Slash was doing American Idol, everyone in Metal world shared a collective gasp and went into "sky is falling" mode. Oh my Glam! Could it be! An original Gunner doing a crap show like American Idol? Blasphemy.

The crap show, by the way, is about the highest rated program on television, so clearly Slash made a horrible decision. I mean, how dare he promote his new solo record on a platform that would reach 100 million people? What a moron.

Apparently it's worse if you actually watch Idol and are a music fan. I mean, clearly, if you do that = sell out. How dare Americans (and people all over the world for that matter) want some happy, music entertainment in the evening? How dare millions of people think (know) Adam Lambert can sing just as well as or better than Axl Rose? I mean, it would be far better for young Adam to toil in obscurity than be discovered on American Idol because that show is selling out.

Liking modern Metal is a sure sign of selling out - but only if those bands are on a major label and don't list Motley Crue as their first and main influence. It's ok to like Dirty Penny because they dream to be Motley but they are certainly not. It's ok to like Black Tide because Iron Maiden are their heroes. It's ok to like Freakshow because that band features members of classic Glam bands. Pay attention now: it is not ok to like Avenged Sevenfold or Slipknot because the lyrics are not 100% melodic. It is not ok to like bands that have beaten the digital age and sold enough units to go platinum. It is not ok to get in the pit and rock to one of these new bands because this support is somehow hurting Styx and Queensryche and therefore = sell out.

Let's see. I'm pretty sure if you shop at Hot Topic (or Torrid) you are a giant sell out because it's not ok to like band T-shirts that are not officially vintage. You also can't go to Hot Topic to buy Manic Panic for your hair, but it's ok if you find the dye at any other store. I cannot emphasize how much of a travesty it would be to support a chain that Fortune magazine called one of the best places in America to work. I mean, I know I would hate to have the title VP of Music for Hot Topic. Hell, if I ever landed that job I'd probably just slit my wrists. Talk about selling out.

See a theme here? I'm not sure selling out exists anymore. Does success = selling out? I don't think so. How can we begrudge anyone happiness or success? When I start writing for Rolling Stone, I hope I'm called a sell out. I'd wear that "insult" like a badge of honor.

Reader Comments (48)

Ya people who are closed minded about things are the reason why theres problems getting good old RNR back, its the same as people who like new age music saying glam sucks. Words are useless and people need to broaden their musical horizan thats how good bands like ac/dc come about (they took blues and put their twist to it). Otherwise there'll never be anything new or inovative.
It would be nice to hear about bands like Panzer Princess again tho too....they just put out a new album!
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDanny
I think you're the smartest person I've ever read.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLady Stardust
Adam Lambert better than Axl? Not!
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlooksthatkill
A 'sellout' for me is, when a band or a musician stops making music he really believes in and changes his style to attract the masses to sell more albums, to earn more money. A true musician makes the music he believes in, not caring how many albums he will sell.

American Idol is just nothing real music stands for in my opinion. A true band or musician should start small and work their way up. They need to earn their success by working hard, writing their own songs, getting known by lots of touring. That's what makes success last.

BTW Dirty Penny are an awesome band! They deserve all the support they can get. Would be cool if you could spare some time to talk more about them. They are just one of so many cool bands out there.

I don't know, everyone says good music is dead, but it's not true. You just have to keep your eyes open. I found that the music scene is better than it ever was, you just have to be selective and stop rely on the radio and TV and think for yourself.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
The last poster hit the nail on the head. Stop relying on ClearChannel's brainwashing and find the great bands yourself. I did and thats obviously what other peeps are doing. Now let me respond to your blog.

"I've decided no one knows what the term means and therefore, the saying must be completely irrelevant."

Um , pretty much 'selling out' doesnt mean squat in this industry anymore although I can see bands like AX7 and Slipknot considered as 'sellouts' since they started writing more radio-friendly songs.



"Liking modern Metal is a sure sign of selling out - but only if those bands are on a major label and donlist t Motley Crue as their first and main influence"

Liking ClearChannel's hype could be selling out , but more importantly it's turning your back on talented Hard Rock acts.


"It's ok to like Dirty Penny because they dream to be Motley but they are certainly not. It's ok to like Black Tide because Iron Maiden are their heroes. It's ok to like Freakshow because that band features members of classic Glam bands. Pay attention now: it is not ok to like Avenged Sevenfold or Slipknot because the lyrics are not 100% melodic"

It's ok to like who you want - nobody dictates who you can and can't like. Just try and support the bands who matter.


"It is not ok to like bands that have beaten the digital age and sold enough units to go platinum. It is not ok to get in the pit and rock to one of these new bands because this support is somehow hurting Styx and Queensryche and therefore = sell out"

There are some bands out there who have a few good songs and have earned their platinum status but let's face it Allyson , compared to 1987 this 'popular' music fucking blows. Until we get the 'scene' and 'atmosphere' back to where it was during the mid-80s , the music industry will constantly be a turn over for countless flavor of the week acts. It's up to guys like me to promote my bands and get in the A & R department at Capitol or Atlantic so I can shake things up.

"See a theme here? I'm not sure selling out exists anymore. Does success = selling out? I don't think so. How can we begrudge anyone happiness or success? When I start writing for Rolling Stone, I hope I'm called a sell out. I'd wear that "insult" like a badge of honor"

If you start working for Rolling Stone you need to kick out as many of those bonehead ignoramus writers as possible - they don't know jack-shit about music. I would hope that you would promote good music for them.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRetrospect Records
i totally agree!
I love Dirty Penny and Avenged Sevenfold and i could care less what other people think.

i honestly think selling out would be to totally change sound and look for major success but still "success" means people like them so who cares!
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
oh yeah adam lambert IS way better than Axl Rose
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
Allyson you don't see the problem Slipknot is just sh*t,I mean if you want to listen to harder music, try Mayhem,Shining,Silencer or Bemoth, that's hard.
I listen to glam because of the Melodic sound. And please Adam Lambert and Axl Rose, har ju fucking kidding me? "Yeah, Jay Z and Ray Charles is on the same level, they are both black..."
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiamGallagher
is this due to the comments about 'idol'? not everyone will agree - me myself i cant stand that crap but if someone wants to watch it thats up to them - just dont expect me to agree that its NOT killing music as we know it.

I try not to follow the crowd - isnt that what liking glam is all about these days.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterred6ixx
<i>I try not to follow the crowd - isnt that what liking glam is all about these days.</i>

That's what was it all about in the old days too so to speak. Glam was never huge here in Germany and people laughed at me and hated that 'damn' posers. ;) It's actually a lot more accepted nowadays. Everybody just freaks out at the moment because Mötley Crüe will play in Germany the first time in 20 years. XD
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
In a lot of ways, I think people use the terms "sell-out" and "successful" interchangeably. There is some serious hipster cred that goes along with supporting a small band that toils in obscurity. But if they start getting popular, suddenly it's not so cool anymore: the fans are seen as being part of the brainwashed masses, and the band has sold out because they had the nerve to write songs that get played on the radio. Even though both the fans and the musicians are doing the exact same things they were before they became big.

Did Slipknot sell out by writing more "radio friendly" music, or has the general public slowly come around to see their music as more mainstream? Probably a bit of both. I'm pretty sure that Dead Memories would not have received any radio play 5 years ago -- it's still a damn heavy song, even though there are some melodic bits in it. Hell, Wait & Bleed would probably be considered a sell out if it was released today.

The Slash thing on American Idol initially bugged me, and I still can't quite put my finger on why. But the more I thought about it, I don't think it's a whole lot different than anything else he has been doing his entire career. Hell, he performed with Michael Jackson when GnR was still the biggest rock band in the world. I don't see the idol thing as being much different, and I think that anyone would be capital-S Stupid to turn down an opportunity to promote your work to 100 million people.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
I agree with Bryon's comment. Doesn't everyone that is in a band want there music to be heard?
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric
Gotta say, that was one of your best, Allyson.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
'it's OK to like who you want, just support the bands that matter'. Matter to who ? Bands matter to me, because I like them. Oh, I can tell what's pop or bubble gum ( i.e. Motley Crue/Poison ), but I still *like* it. I've been told by the media that bands matter, but if I think they suck, then they suck, for me. re: selling out, I agree that selling out means trying to do things for the money. Like Warrant going grunge. That was a sellout, even if it didn't work. Metallica probably didn't sell out, although it felt like it, they just kept growing and grew in a different direction to their fans. Sometimes a band grows, and the result they WANTED, sounds more commercial. Much as I hated it, I had to admit, Metallica didn't need more money when they did it. So, it's hard to say who is selling out, and who just has a vision that happens to sound commercial. I prefer just to say 'I like that', 'I hate that', or 'That's OK, it may grow on me'. I don't care if it's commercial or not. What annoys me most, is people who hate stuff BECAUSE it sells, and think it's some badge of honour to stay in the underground. Aren't YOU 'selling out' by letting the market dictate what you're allowed to listen to ?
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Xandra73; Mötley played at Rock Am Ring 2006, so it has been like three years?
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiamGallagher
The crowds not booing ... They're shouting "Allyson, Allyson!!!"
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdmark
promoting a solo record? the one he's recording right now and he has said won't be out until 2010? I would've waited to be on Idol during the week it was released as artists in the past have like Neil Diamond & others.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterkerridestruction
Christian I think you posted the most to the point comment yet. But that doesn't surprise me as you have an uncanny ability to cut through the bullshit. You nailed it, buddy.

I'll second and third the concept of "bands that matter"... Like Christian said, "Matter to who"... If *I* like a band then they *matter* to ME. End of story. That doesn't give me the right to say that someone elese's opinion sucks because they don't like the same band... Seems like it keeps going back to this same point over and over.

I think the most acceptable definition of selling out is changing your sound or style with selling more records being your only influencing factor.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
Thanks, Valentine, and yes, I agree with your definition of 'selling out', although, as I said, sometimes a band seems to sell out, and they just liked being more commercial. Def Leppard are a good example of that, although I do get angry every time he gives a 'we were never metal' interview.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Oasis would never sellout. I mean if the music is good enough you don't need too. Mötley did never Sellout in the 80's they did their own thing cause the music was good.
May 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiamGallagher

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.