Bollocks?: “Sellouts”

I hate the word sellout, or rather I hate the way people throw it around at anything or anyone they dislike. And no one else gets called a sellout more than bands and musicians. If someone changes their beliefs or lowers their standards in exchange for money or a similar personal gain then the term sellout would be appropriate. But now it seems after a band or musician gain a certain amount of success they automatically get branded a sellout.

Now as I said earlier if they start to care more about money as opposed to their music and fans then I would agree that the statement sellout would be a valid one. However just because a band starts playing bigger venues doesn’t mean they are different from the band you saw in a dingy basement.

What would be the point of a good band sticking to small clubs and a small time record label? Surely if you like the band then you would want more people to hear their music, and by playing bigger venues and signing to a bigger label more people will hear there music!

Take for instance Green Day. Once upon a time they were just a small local band with a small but strong following. Then they released Dookie and they became huge. The kids that once went round school frustrated that no one else had heard of them now feels angry because everyone now has. Surely its a win for these kid? They can now talk about their favourite band and have the pride of saying “I knew them before they were big”.

You’ve also got to keep in mind that musicians do have a life out side of their band. They have flats, houses, families and bills to support and pay. Being in a band that just scrapes by is great when your a twenty something but if you want to keep doing what you love and pay the bills you’ve got to see your music as a business. Its great to love what you do but at the end of the day its a job.

If someone came to you now offering to pay you well to do something you love would you really decline? I wouldn’t. If that makes me a sellout then so be it.


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