12.06.2006

Why Everyone Should Sell Out

by Nick Pitas

I have a confession to make: I am tired of pretending to hate music that is really popular and overexposed. Selling out has many benefits to offer, for almost everyone involved. The consumer, artist and producer all benefit from this kind of arrangement.

Why should I, as the consumer in our self-proclaimed “service economy” have to search for the best music to listen to? I wish that all the good musicians would simply sell out to the large music labels and have their songs played on the radio ad nauseum.

For example, I heard the Fray seven times on the radio, once on two stations simultaneously. Why is that wrong? If their work is the best, then why shouldn’t it be played at the exclusion of other artists? The reason that the Fray are the best is because they sold out, so everyone could hear them.

Furthermore, artists who refuse to sell out are simply being selfish and narrow-minded. Because they feel some anachronistic, knights-of-the-round-table type of moral code they place themselves above the rest of the country. This elitist attitude is what makes so-called “indie” bands unpopular with the general audiences that would allow them to start raking in the big bucks.

Great examples of how selling out can be a wonderful career move can be found in some classic rock and roll acts. Some people were upset when Bob Dylan first played with an electric guitar in 1965, but I look back and see it as a great move. Before this, it was just too hard to hear his quiet, accousitc sound.

Also, when I hear the Beatles during a commercial (another one of my personal interests) for a truck or a television, I silently thank Michael Jackson for showing them the light and buying the rights to so many of their songs. Simply imagining if Yoko and Paul hadn’t been outbid by the prince of pop makes me shudder.

(Publicity photo of the Fray, courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment. If you'd like to "sell out," please enjoy a bit of the Fray and the group's hit "Over My Head (Cable Car)" in the video clip below.)








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4 comments:

Jeff Siegel said...

You poor deluded young man (and if your tongue is in your cheek, you need to do a better job of poking it out). Joey Ramone died a wealthy man, and the Ramones were almost never played on the radio. I don't even know that they had a Top 40 hit. Their loot came from selling vinyl, and they did that the old-fashioned way -- playing loud, hard and fast as often as possible for people who are still glad they didn't sell out.

Nick Pitas said...

Don't tell me where to put my tongue...plus, I've never heard of your precious Ramones, so I don't think they're a good example. If I can't turn on the radio and hear them at any given time of the day or night, they're obviously not a worth band.

Jeff Siegel said...

Sadly, one of my jobs in life is to teach the young people about rock n roll. Ramones -- first, and maybe the greatest -- U.S. punk band. Rock uses three chords, but the Ramones rarely bothered with more than two. Best album is Rocket to Russia, with Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Rockaway Beach, and Teenage Lobotomy. But I'm also partial to the singles I Wanna be Sedated and Rock n Roll High School.

Rick Rockwell said...

I'm sure the both of you can sort this out...

But I do feel compelled to note that if you look up and to the left... yes... in the lefthand sidebar... you'll see the Ramones listed. They are nestled right between the White Stripes and Jimi Hendrix... and they have been there for the past two months or so.

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