Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

Just another weblog

“Sellout”: The Sin of Music

with one comment

Top Ten Sellout Moments

Perhaps there is no sin bigger in music than the painful label of “sellout”. What is a sellout? I believe musicians can be categorized into two categories. (Keep in mind that this doesn’t happen in 100% of cases, I’m just generalizing) Some bands make music because they love it. For them, it isn’t about selling records or making money. They wouldn’t care if no one listened to their music because it matters most to them. On the other hand, there are some artists who only make music to make money. They create manufactured hit singles and will pawn off any of their materials to the highest bidder.

The problem isn’t whether a band is in it for the money or the music. Instead, the term “sellout” originates when a musician crosses these lines. Selling out happens when a previously independent band has their song featured in a cheap commercial or when an artist changes their sound/style just to sell more records.

Music is one of those areas where people become emotionally invested in certain performers. For a true fan, there is no length too great you will go to defend your band to the end. But imagine when a group you have treasured for so long has gone and sold out to a McDonalds commercial or perhaps gets a line of accessories at Hot Topic. Soon, everyone “claims” to be a fan but they only say that to seem in the loop. Selling out comes down to giving up what made you great in the first place: the amazing music.

In summation, an example may best highlight this theory:

Green Day is the biggest sellout in the history of music.


When they released their album “American Idiot”, it was a vastly different sound for all their previous works. Green Day had established themselves as an anti-establishment, down with society type of punk rock group. They were known for doing what they wanted, even if the majority of people disagreed. However, this new album was punctuated by pop rock songs that had been written to sell singles. After Green Day milked every last bit of money out of song sales, they went ahead and had those songs featured in tons of commercials and movies. They even had a Rock Band game (which didn’t sell all that well) and a Broadway musical! Wow, they really sold out…


Written by shaunjennings

December 6, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Green Day’s music delivers strong-headed, significant messages about our world. So why not get their music out there in every avenue possible so that more people will hear their music and their messages? I saw the Broadway musical American Idiot twice this summer, and since then I’ve felt a deeper, more meaningful connection to their music and messages. It shed light on new insights, perspectives, and intentions behind their album. Plus, the Broadway play appeals to a much greater and diverse audience, pulling in even more people to hear their music and messages.

    Liz J

    December 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: