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Pitch, Please!: Musician meets sell out, enters mainstream

28 November 2012 By Kristopher Jones, Columnist One Comment

I always seem to be using terms out of context until I’m educated about them. One of them is the term “selling out.”

Every time I would mention selling out, it would be if an artist went in a different direction with their music that I didn’t agree with personally.

A great example is with Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.”

I was in an uproar when I first heard that they had went hardcore mainstream pop for their next single.

Not Maroon 5, I thought.

They worked with Benny Blanco, swapped their drums with synthesizers and enlisted that one pop singer for one of last year’s biggest hits, all because their last album “Hands All Over” failed to garner the same chart success as their previous two releases.

Now before people begin going at my throat for just whining and complaining about things I dislike about contemporary music, I do have a point.

It seems like in today’s music industry, an act can’t switch up their style, change or gain some newfound popularity without them having the harsh sell-out label attached to them.

Yet the same people whose inner hipster is rearing its head fail to understand what it really means to sell out.

If you are making music to appeal to a certain audience, doing questionable television ads or promo spots on large scale television shows in order for you to make your keep and survive, that is selling out.

If you decide that you want to add Flo Rida to your next single so you can appeal to a wider audience, potentially gather more sales and have your record do well, that is not selling out.

The fact of the matter is that every single person in the industry is in his or her line of work to do one thing: make money.

Yes, you have those people who get interviewed who say they do it “for the music,” but in all reality, if they weren’t getting a paycheck for cutting that record, few people would become musicians in the first place.

The idea of selling out is simple capitalism: your favorite artists supply you with what you want to listen to and you demand more and more. If the product begins to grow old and dated, you rebrand it and make it more appealing.

If this wasn’t true, Cher wouldn’t have Auto-Tuned her voice, hopped on the house trend and released “Believe” back in 1998.

Why I may be disappointed that Maroon 5 went extremist mainstream and I can’t connect with their music anymore, they aren’t at fault.

They have to make the money somehow so why not release catchy ditties like “One More Night” and “Payphone?”

More power to them, keep gathering those No. 1 hits and platinum certifications.

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