When bands sell out

So I was thinking of this cause of Fall Out Boy.
They used to be pop punk, and loved by rock and pop fans alike in the early 2000s.
Then, with their album "Save Rock and Roll" they (ironically) became sellouts, clearly just trying to chase the pop scene and forego a lot of their musical/instrumental talent.

And recently, Linkin Park has really shown that they have sold out, and the band members are denying it, even the guitarist, who probably showed up to the studio for 30 minutes on a Tuesday to record his...samples.

When bands do this, there are usually two general groups of fan reactions:
-The long-time fans who hate that the band is selling out
-The fans who think the band should still be supported because "every band changes" (a.k.a. the fans who listen to pop anyway)
Of course, since pop is mainstream, I find the latter group to be more prominent in real life. Maybe not in the YouTube comment section, but in real life.

But my argument for why I hate when bands sell out is that I like them for the music they have made. I don't simply like the band name, or the band members. So when they change their sound to become a genre I don't like, there's no reason to support them.

On that note, how come bands don't become more experimental or heavier or less poppy over time? Do ALL successful bands just follow the money?

What do you people think

May 18, 2017

18 Comments • Newest first


Led Zeppelin never sold out and is the greatest band that has ever existed on Earth and the greatest in the Solar system and the second greatest in all of the Milky Way galaxy and possibly the Andromeda galaxy too though I heard they have some pretty good bands.

Reply June 4, 2017

Not all bands sell out and not all bands that start making bad music are sellouts. I really dislike people who defend bands that sell out or start making crap by saying something like 'bands evolve, what would be the point of playing the same stuff over and over'. Like eff you and your stupid comment, I'm not complaining when a band evolves I just complain when they change it up to some generic pop or electronic thing. Best example is coldplay, they just threw their career out the window, I mean coldplay has always been disliked by a lot and it has always been more mellow alt pop rock but now it really went to sheet. Some bands turn bad but I don't necessarily think they are selling out, a good example is paramore. Some just follow trends like the mentioned FOB and linkin park. I stopped listening to linkin park after new divide and save rock n roll was crap to me. Don't really know if they sell out for money or popularity though. Most bands do change their sound though although some more than others. Radiohead has always changed it up, and while I don't like a lot of what they did in the 2000s decade they have never sold out. Muse hasn't changed much but to me I can tell how they change some things from album to album and drones was pretty good. Green Day kind of looked like they were selling out with American Idiot but in my opinion they have experimented some and I think they do okay even though a lot of people say they are trash. Really what I'm saying is I do agree with you about how some bands do sell out, but not all and people are wrong when they say generic things like bands evolve because no sheet, but that is not the point.

Reply June 3, 2017

radiohead's career trajectory is a good subversion of what you're describing (got popular riding the altrock/britpop wave in the 90s, then made an "anti-commercial" record that ended up being one of their biggest)

linkin park were always unabashedly suburban radio rock. if they stand out, it's because the *more* embarrassing bands have been forgotten

Reply May 31, 2017

@fradddd: It's tricky though because in the case of Linkin Park, it's not apparent that they've maintained the same kind of mainstream success and profit that they did from their older albums. It's weird to say that they've "sold out" when their older music probably did more for them money-wise than the new material. They're also a band that tends to catch on to the trends of the day (initially nu metal during the era of Korn & Limp Bizkit, then the alternative rock of the 2000s that was often played on the radio, then the EDM craze of the early 2010s, and now they have a sound more closely associated with contemporary radio pop, � la Imagine Dragons or Twenty One Pilots), so you could say that they've been a band that has always "sold out", logically speaking.

Even assuming they did sell out, I think selling out shouldn't be that bothersome if the music were actually good. However, from the stuff I've heard and from what many others seem to have heard as well, it isn't so.

Also their lead singer doesn't seem to like being called a [url=]sell-out[/url], though judge how you will.

Reply May 26, 2017 - edited

@readers I mean, if a band makes a bunch of albums that added something to my life, then they purposely switch genres to make more money, it's kinda bothersome. They could have made something else that helps me (and millions of others) get through life, but they choose selling out. Linkin Park, at the moment, have no legitimate reason for why they would suddenly switch this far into electro pop territory, besides attempting to get more radio play and more money.

@duzz but it wasn't saving rock and roll...

@neveraddaplayer what age were you when your daddy left?

@staplemory yeah the cartoon issue is probably even worse, cause there is almost nothing quality being released anymore. inb4 nostalgia argument

@mrsatan me too thanks

Reply May 25, 2017 - edited

Music is trash these days, nothing but low beat soulless whisper singing and garbage ghetto rap

Reply May 21, 2017 - edited

@neveraddaplayer: y cant u see that some people dont like listening to polish people shart into microphones

Reply May 21, 2017 - edited

Some bands can become mroe experimental over time--you just haven't heard of them.

It's hard to be a fan of a band when they keep releasing lame music; that's relatable. I can like them as before, but just not like them as they are now.

That being said, I haven't been following Linkin Park since 2010 but that hasn't affected my life.

I am, however, sick of the horrendously lame cartoons and kids' shows being aired these days.

Reply May 20, 2017 - edited

>pop punk
>musical/instrumental talent
kill you are self

>become more experimental
ur just not looking hard enough

Reply May 19, 2017 - edited

save rock and roll wasnt even that bad, but the next one.... blech

Reply May 19, 2017 - edited

I just pick what I like and put it in my list, never cared for who sang or composed it. It's like picking flower instead of grudging over a dying rose.

Reply May 19, 2017 - edited

wHeN BAndS sELl oUt

Reply May 19, 2017 - edited


Reply May 18, 2017 - edited

@fradddd: Oh well. There's always something else. You don't want to be an old grandpa who doesn't like anything on the radio.

Reply May 18, 2017 - edited

Would you prefer if the band continued to make the same kind of music over and over again? There are certainly those rock bands that do keep the same formula for many years (from AC/DC, to Disturbed, to Breaking Benjamin), of course with at least some kind of change given that music is always changing and you're never recording the exact same music twice. Regardless, such an approach will satisfy their core fans, but probably will not attract in many new listeners. It also makes such bands quite the product of their time and somewhat out-of-touch or outdated compared to today's music; whereas at least a group like Linkin Park or Fall Out Boy tend to make the effort to follow current trends in music regardless of whether or not they actually succeed.

The argument can be made that Linkin Park has always been pretty "poppy", especially if you look at a song like 'In the End', 'Numb', 'Breaking the Habit', etc. where the guitars are less heavy and less layered in comparison to their other music. Fall Out Boy certainly has always been 'poppy'. Some of these songs have also had widespread appeal; many of them continue to get constant radio airtime to this day, and some of these types of songs also attract the most amount of people to their music. So it only makes sense for them to continue down that path and to make more electronic/pop music to attract another core group of fans.

I think a few other factors come into play for such change: it's easier to find stuff to get mad about when you're younger and hungry for success but struggling in your life. It's a lot harder - and sometimes kind of awkward - to try to retain that earlier sound if you've already attained a certain level of success, you're probably happier in your life now that you've gotten some issues out of your chest (that either money can solve, or you've expressed in your music already), you're older so your perspective is going to be different from when you're younger, etc.

To not argue semantics here (since I know what you mean by experimental, even though technically what groups like Linkin Park are doing are considered 'experimental' in a sense), in general you have groups like Faith No More or musicians like M.I.A. that have transitioned from the mainstream to the experimental. There are bands like Dir En Grey that do go from a lighter sound to a much heavier sound in their music. It really depends on the musician - but overall I think there's a more complicated case to it than just "selling out" should a rock band or musician choose to pursue some kind of lighter or poppier sound.

Edit: Would also like to say that there's things in the world worth getting annoyed or sad or angry about, but to me certain bands changing their style isn't really that thing.

Reply May 18, 2017 - edited

@wellness well with FOB and Linkin Park, among others, when they become pop they become less niche, so they pretty much always gain fans because...pop. Just bothers me.

Reply May 18, 2017 - edited

When you suggest they record things and mix the sounds, perhaps we must consider if they have a different sound because they're being more efficient or are streamlining with new technologies rather than going for pop sounds.

Perhaps you can only take so many 24 hour jam sessions (I don't know the actual amount) for however many days or weeks for a few years before you start wanting to hang out with family and work on other hobbies or business opportunities.

That's being optimistic, though. They could have just sold out or had their personality change with fame.

That aside, you can let them do what they want. Perhaps they like the pop genre, and if they make appealing music, they will keep fans. If they don't, they will lose fans and may go back to their old sound.

Reply May 18, 2017 - edited