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 Princess Stomper

Is there really such a thing as selling out?

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Sometimes a band’s change of sound goes beyond more polished production values. For example, I used to quite like 30 Seconds To Mars, when they sounded like this

and stopped liking them when they started sounding like this

but can I really accuse them of selling out? They were enormously popular before, making a type of music specifically geared towards ‘misunderstood’ teenage girls (and older women who used to fancy Jordan Catalano). All they did was change from one intensely commercial sound that I coincidentally enjoyed (Linkin Park-esque complaint rock) to one that I coincidentally didn’t (sub-U2 bollocks).

Their popularity was fine with me. I don’t mind commercially-oriented or even cynically commercially-oriented music. Much as Wallace Wylie might object, licensing is fine with me – just so long as the band’s brand is a good fit with the product being sold. Jared Leto’s band was a great match for ‘Dragon Age’ – my objection was simply that the song was awful.

CanI even accuse Linkin Park of selling out? All they did was go from this

to this

but, let’s face it, they did choose their name specifically to be placed next to Limp Bizkit in the record store racks. There’s almost nothing about them that wasn’t designed to appeal to a particular market.

So if it’s not just fancy production or just changing to a sound you happen not to like, does ‘selling out’ exist at all?

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