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Sell Out Police: “Selling Out” The Stereotype and Perception

Originally Published: Friday, July 15, 2005
Written by: Jabby Alexandria Bah

Understanding “Selling Out” in Hardcore

Selling out. When anyone deliberates this term, most immediately think MTV. An underground band or musician who’s sold their soul to the mainstream. But why is it such concern amongst music fans? Personally, I don’t know. When I find a musician I love is being picked up by the media, I become nothing but happy for them. Why not?

Doubts and Fears of the Fans

Some may begin to think that the band was out for money and the Hollywood life the whole time. Others may fear that the music the band may make after getting media coverage won’t be the same as before, that record execs will force the band to change their sound.

The Role of Media and Audience Preferences

This may be true as far as a chosen few, but for a lot of bands that simply is not the case. When MTV or any other media pick up or sees a trend moving amongst its target audience, you can hear the pitter-patter of them closely following. Their career revolves around catering to those who watch or listen to their broadcasts. Ultimately, YOU make the choice about what is put into syndication. It may not be what you as an individual want, but it’s what the majority of their audiences appreciate.

Local Success Stories and Fan Reactions

That local band you loved so dear throughout high school, just signed with a major label and their video is playing late at night on MTV2. Do you yell at the screen that their sell-outs or smile and think ‘I always knew they’d be big.’? What’s so wrong about supporting an underground band about to go platinum? If the music remains the same and you still enjoy it; as in your friends may conceive it horrible, but you still love it; then why not continue to? Afraid others may think you’re becoming a conformist or unfaithful to the scene? The question I’d ask here is, “Were you ever a dedicated fan to the band?” A real fan will stick with a band through just about anything if they can still groove to the music, no matter how fast or how high they rise to the top.

Real Fans vs. Fair-Weather Fans

Now, while some think the band is selling out because the music has gone a bit Pop, from another viewpoint the artist is simply expanding. Experimenting; growing; maturing if you will. People change throughout life and musicians are no different. Now, not all may blossom so beautifully, but that’s exceeding the point. Music is an expression of them. If you’re a real music fan, you’ll find their souls on every chord and beat played; so when they change, that B flat could change into a B sharp. Now, I grasp the fact that some bands are, yes, sadly changing the music as a marketing scheme, but a bona fide few can still keep their fans panties in a bunch.

Rethinking the ‘Sell-Out’ Label

So, next time you and your comrades are having that weekly conversation about which band sold out, think about it. Did they really give into the money devil himself? Or are they exercising their talent and hoping to keep devoted fans and gain new ones? How about this: don’t become a sell-out to the music. If you revel in it; say so proudly, and if not; that’s cool too. 

Written by misanthropy on 2005-12-31 02:05:55I admire that you can be happy for bands that get big,try as I might I can’t find it in me, because without fail whenever a band gets big the kids at school who last week were spending their dads money on GC shirts from hot topic are buying their shirts and going around name dropping them. It’d be great if people really liked them for their music and what they had to say, but unfortunately alot of people just like what TV tells them to like because TV tells them to like it.
Written by alright_bitchface on 2005-09-17 13:01:02jesus christ. 
i love the way your brain works.
Thats my girl!
Written by Guest on 2005-07-19 16:05:38 yes, indeed i have created a genious. i’m so proud of you…geez, i sound like your mother. Great Job Jabbs.
you are amazing
Written by Guest on 2005-07-19 12:54:03And again you wrote another awesome article!
selling out
Written by stagedives_hi5s on 2005-07-17 00:13:08is so kewl!

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