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bands that "sell out"... how do you feel about it? (1 Viewer)

Ted Lee

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the u2 thread got me thinking about this.

how do you feel about bands that use their name/songs/image/whatever to sell a product?

it seems a lot of people consider this selling out. so, what exactly is the definition of selling out?

why does it bother you (or not) for a band to do this?

just curious. to me, a band should be allowed to do what they want with their creative work and not be slammed for it???
 

Zen Butler

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theted, did you notice the weird links? Messed up huh?

I have a problem with the "sell out" term. I have no reponse to this thread. :)
 

Brian L

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I agree completely. In fact, there are cases where maybe an artist sells a few extra records because of it.

I had never heard 20th Century Boy by T-Rex until I heard it in a Mitsubishi commercial. I thought it was such an ass kicking tune that I did a search, found out what it was, and bought it on CD. Were it not for that commercial, I would never have heard the track.

BGL
 

John Milton

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I'm sure some will disagree but I don't think most would accuse U2 of selling out. The fact is their records are going to sell regardless of them doing an ipod commercial. I define a sellout as someone who does something strictly for financial gain. U2 is a well established band who has sold millions and millions of records over the years. They certainly aren't short on cash or attention. Every time they put out a new album the music industry takes note. IMO they can do anything they wish, they've earned it!
 

Carl Miller

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It does annoy me to hear Led Zeppelin music being used to sell cars. Initially my reaction to hearing a Zep tune on TV was to look up to see why it was there.

Same goes for Hendrix tunes and whatever other rock music is being used to sell stuff.

For me, it's kind of like an assault on my memories...I used to hear Led Zep's Rock and Roll, and I would think back immediately to high school and some very good times.

Now I hear the same song, and instead of going down memory lane, a car commercial goes through my head...Only not a very good one, because I have no freakin idea if the commercial is for Cadillac or Lincoln.

Having said that, artists have every right to do whatever they want with their music...And I'd just call it maximizing profits.
 

cwhite

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With some bands or acts, I expect them to sell out. It's a double edge sword. My prime example would be the Rolling Stones who have had corporate sponsorship to every tour since 1981(I have a Rolling Stones concert poster with the Jovan perfume icon on it) and they sold "Start Me Up" to Microsoft in 1995. Biggest offender: "Fortunate Son" by CCR used by Wrangler Jeans. Wasn't this an anti-war song? I know John Fogerty has no control over his music and that's unfortunate. On the flip side, you have Springsteen, Neil Young and others who refuse to sell their music for ads and they are canonized for their efforts. Why hasn't Levi Jeans get "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix A Lot for its low rise jean?
 

Eric Peterson

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Can you explain this? I didn't realize like that people who are anti-establishment don't exist anymore.

Personally, I loathe any and all TV commercials. I do my best to mute them when they come on and if there's an overly annoying one, I go out of my way to buy product from their competitors, and I do the same for commercials before movies in the theater.

As for holding it against the musicians, I take it on a case by case basis. I don't object to the U2 selling IPods for several reasons
1. They're backing a music related product
2. They're supporting the Underdog (Apple vs. IBM/Microsoft)

As somebody already stated, it's not always the musician making the decision. Often, the record company owns and sells the rights as they see fit for profits.

It also depends on the content of the song. If it's a happy pop-song, then I generally don't object, but when a song is taken out of context or worse yet, when the lyrics are changed or reordered, that pisses me off!

Another criteria is the product that is being sold. If I truly believe that the artist supports the product and uses it personally then I don't have an objection. However, if you're selling your song to Coke/Pepsi, Ford/GM, then in my opinion it's a sell-out.

In general, I have a bigger problem with acts that change their music in order to be more commercial and to increase their bank accounts, especially when they used to be anti-establishment ;)

When it comes down to it, I respect the artist for arts sake. I understand that all artists have to make a living, but if anyone who enters the arts in order to make a fortune I would argue isn't truly an artist as much as an opportunist.

What can I say, I'm an idealist at heart?
 

Shane D

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sellout to me is someone who changes thier sound/music/image to cater to the mtv crowd to sell records. main example; incubus.
 

Mike Broadman

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Why are you limiting it to a specific audience? A lot of acts "sell out" to nostalgia audiences as well.

And I don't see why Incubus would be included. They believe in what they do. Any artist that does that is not a sell-out.

As for selling products: we live in a commercial society, this is a fact, and to slam anything and everything regarding advertising is naive. We as the consumer can take measures to make life a bit more tolerable, like Tivo.

I believe Zeppeling used to be adamantly against using their music for commercials. I wonder what changed their mind$.
 

Simon Basso

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But this is hardly selling out since Mr Bolan has been dead for thirty years.

I don't consider product endorsement to be selling out, but I wouldn't be able to respect the political views of any artist who sees fit to take corporate money, be it direct sponsorship or through the licensing of tracks for commercials. Bill Hicks was right on this one.
 

Philip Hamm

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The concept of "selling out" is stupid. Especially this statementThe thing people don't seem to be able to grasp is that once a band has a record contract, they've quit their day jobs for good, have no future in the "regular career world", and are in hock to the record company, often for millions of dollars. No matter where they came from, "anti-establishment" (whatever the hell that means) or not, they have become professional musicians at this point. What that means is that they do this for a living, just like you or I do our jobs for a living. This is what pays the mortgage and puts food on the table. This is what pays for their children's college fund. This is what they have to save for retirement. Very few band and artists make a decent living in the music business.

It doesn't take much of a leap to go from "being true to your musical roots" to realizing that this is a business and if you don't want to be financially ruined (like most professional pop musicians end up being) you need to sell records. Opening up the apppeal of your records to a wider audience is a natural progression.

So my question for you Eric Peterson is would you be willing to stay at your current salary and position forever in your career? Never learn new facets of your career to keep to your objectives as they were when you first started? By having the attitude you've typed that's what you're demanding of musical artists.

Which is IMO unfair.

Two great examples I like: Talking Heads and B-52s. Both started their careers as edgy quirky New Wave acts, both ended their careers as mainstream pop acts. The difference being that in the case of the B-52s their later pop stuff is significantly better than their original sound. "Love Shack", "Roam", and "Tell it like it T-I-is" are musically fantastic much more compelling than stuff like "Rock Lobster". With the Heads the reverse is true. They had commercial success with stuff like "Creatures Of Love" and "Wild Wild Life" but we remember them for "Psycho Killer", "Life During Wartime" and "Once In A Lifetime".
 

Mark Murphy

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I agree with that statement up until the Incubus example. I think, and I've heard them say that they just naturally progressed to a different sound. All their albums have a different sound to them, in my opinion. Staind, on the other hand, completely took the sellout route. Listen to Dysfunction and then Break the Cycle. Its like two different bands. I don't think U2 sold out. Over the course of 25 years, a band's sound will alter. Sometimes for the good, but most of the time for the bad (see Rolling Stones, Aerosmith). I think bands who "sellout" by completely changing their sound over a short period of time are destined to fail in the long run. They may sell a ton of records in the short term to their new found fans but end up alienating their core audience in the process. Eventually (more sooner than later) the pop audience will move on to someone else and they are left with no fans. I am not of the belief that a band is a sell out if they become popular by playing the same music. Everyone starts out small. Its when you actually try to cater to the masses when you get yourself in trouble.
 

Eric Peterson

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Thank you for bringing up Bill Hicks. I don't have the quote memorized but it's along these lines.
"Once you do a commerical, you are off the artistic rollcall forever, unless you're Willie Nelson."
 

Matthew Brown

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As for commercials and stuff, it depends on a band and product. For a band like THE CLASH to end up in a TV comercial is plain sad. Maybe the death of Strummer let others go for money over ideals.

The Dead Kennedys had a bitter dispute amongst its band members about the use of "Holiday in Cambodia" in an commercial. The singer wanted nothing to do with this. They were as anti-establishment as any band could be. The other band members wanted the money. That is selling out.

I have no problems with The Buzzcocks, Descendents, and even Stiff Little Fingers appearing in commercials. The Stiff Little Fingers song was for a video game. Maybe if it was for a car I would think differently in their case.

Iggy Pop in commercials is just plain amusing. Of course the song is edited, but I laugh everytime that thing comes on.

If somebody wanted a song from my band for a commercial, hey, where do we sign? We aren't that idealistic and it wouldn't go against any of our lyrics.

I guess Billy Idol is a sellout though. One of his early Generation X songs had a line about "never selling out" and he became the spokesperson for early Mtv with his "Rock and Roll forever" line. I still respect him.

Matt
 

ElevSkyMovie

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Van Halen didn't want "Right Now" used for the Crystal Pepsi campaign. They said no, and Pepsi said, "Ok, we'll just get studio musicians and re-create it". Eddie said something along the lines of "What should we do, say no and have them use the song anyway and us not see any money from it? That would be stupid. If they're gonna use it anyway, we should get paid." (paraphrased).

I think a lot of times, the artist doesn't have a whole lot of say in it, and even if they do, big $$$ talks.
 

Chris Lockwood

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> As for holding it against the musicians, I take it on a case by case basis. I don't object to the U2 selling IPods for several reasons

I'm sure the band is relieved to have your approval. :rolleyes:

Some of the placements in ads are pretty funny, like Zeppelin being used for Cadillac, which was considered an old person's car when the music was new.

I'd much rather hear a good rock song in an ad than some crappy jingle, especially if it's the original recording with the real lyrics.

If you really want a laugh, listen to "The Who Sell Out", which is supposed to be against this practice, then look what they did years later with their music.

If it's the actual artist or songwriter making the decision to use the music, the public really has nothing to complain about. As others have said, this is how musicians and writers earn their living. I don't see it as any more wrong than them selling T-shirts and programs at their concerts.

A worse accusation of selling out that I really hate is when an obscure band starts getting popular and selling records (i.e. earning a living), without changing their sound, and some fans get upset that they are "selling out" just by the fact that they sold a million albums instead of 20,000.

What are the rules on using songs in local radio ads? I hear that all the time, and I seriously doubt they negotiated deals for all of them.
 

Rob Gardiner

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She should have used Odorono. :)



Back when I was in high school, R.E.M. were accused of selling out. Not for putting their songs in commercials, but for moving from an indie label to a major label (IRS to Warner Bros, I believe).
 

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