In the music industry there’s a certain notion that musicians ‘sell out’ when they get to a certain level of popularity. In other words, when they get some serious buzz they begin to make music with dumbed down lyrics and a more generic sound in order to appeal to a wider audience that is the ‘casual listener.’ For whatever reason this is looked down upon by a lot of music listeners which is weird because ‘selling out’ makes a lot of sense.
Every musician starts off at the bottom (well most of them do) and they have dreams of getting their music out to millions of people and selling out concerts worldwide whilst living a great life (maybe not every musician). When musicians start off, they’re happy that they gain fans but the relationship between a musician and their fans is a business transaction, the musician puts out quality music in exchange for the fans money and attention and it remains that way throughout the musician’s career.
At the end of the day musicians look out for their best interests just like any other person and they know that if it involves ‘selling out’ then they’re more than prepared to do it. Fans should be accepting of this rather than critical of it. The critical stance that music listeners take towards ‘selling out’ shows that they don’t think about things from the musician’s perspective, the musician will do what they need to, to ensure that they achieve the goals that they set out and that can mean making music that doesn’t appeal to their initial listeners.
Some musicians stay true to the fans that we’re with them from the beginning and don’t ‘sell out’, this allows them to be regarded as the best by underground fans, however that is just a moral victory. Musicians can be hated for becoming popular (but every popular person receives hate for this) and it brings about a serious question, in the words of Jay-Z ‘would you be underpaid or overrated?’
In all honesty, ‘selling out’ and making more money to secure a living is in no way a bad thing unless ‘selling out’ means something else.