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Selling Out. Is it the only way for a new band to survive?

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Selling Out. Is it the only way for a new band to survive?

Old 09-12-05, 09:23 AM
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Selling Out. Is it the only way for a new band to survive?

Ads make money for rock band Mooney Suzuki
By Michael Paoletta

NEW YORK (Billboard) - New York rock band the Mooney Suzuki can thank Madison Avenue and Hollywood for keeping its music alive when the going got tough.

Despite being a casualty of the Sony-BMG merger, the Mooney Suzuki's music remained front and center on large and small screens. Now, after months without a label to call home, the Mooney Suzuki has inked a worldwide deal with Richard Branson's V2 Records, home of the White Stripes.

The band's manager, Lisa Barbaris, said the Mooney Suzuki would not have survived were it not for creative executives at agencies and film and TV music supervisors. "The band would have had to break up," she said.

But by having its music placed in TV ads (Coors), TV shows ("The Osbournes") and films ("School of Rock"), it was able to keep going, Barbaris noted.

After making more than 10 "appearances" -- most recently in a TV spot for American Eagle -- the title track from the Mooney Suzuki's second and last Columbia Records album, "Alive & Amplified," will next be heard in an ad for, appropriately enough, Suzuki.

Jedd Katrancha, creative manager of Spirit Music Group, which handles the band's publishing, credited the Mooney Suzuki's popularity in the film and TV communities to its arty style of songwriting. "Their songs translate well to visual images," he said.

This could be due to the band members' backgrounds in art and design.

"The people we're having meetings with at the agencies are the same people we went to art and design school with -- literally," lead singer/guitarist Sammy James Junior said. "So, it felt good to work together -- and it helps to pay our bills."

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So, what do you think? I hate the idea of "selling out" and I cringe when I hear my favorite bands hawking cola or sneakers (anyone see the ad with the Stephen Malkmus tune in it? ). That being said, it's a tough time to be an up and coming band. They're a dime a dozen and have bills to pay. Is "selling out" the only way to survive? Discuss.
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Old 09-12-05, 10:34 AM
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i have always hated the term "selling out" Also, it also depends what defines "selling out" some might say that its when an indie band goes to a mainstream label, or hell when a hair band cuts their hair.
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Old 09-12-05, 10:42 AM
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It does seem like the idea of "selling out" has become a thing of the past for the most part. I tend to think it's something fans care about a lot more than the bands do. My most recent experience of it with a band I like was hearing the Kinks' "Picture Book" on a photo printer commercial. Never mind that the song doesn't quite fit the concept (except ironically), I just find it distasteful to see things I equate with some level of art being used to hawk products. But for the bands in those situations, if it comes down to being able to eat, pay rent, and continue playing, I guess it's a compromise they have to make. I'd prefer it didn't happen to bands I like, but it's a fact of life. When it comes down to it, the majority of bands want a high level of success, and will take whatever road they have to take to get there, be it commercials or what have you.
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Old 09-12-05, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Shiv Shankly
It does seem like the idea of "selling out" has become a thing of the past for the most part. I tend to think it's something fans care about a lot more than the bands do. My most recent experience of it with a band I like was hearing the Kinks' "Picture Book" on a photo printer commercial. Never mind that the song doesn't quite fit the concept (except ironically), I just find it distasteful to see things I equate with some level of art being used to hawk products. But for the bands in those situations, if it comes down to being able to eat, pay rent, and continue playing, I guess it's a compromise they have to make. I'd prefer it didn't happen to bands I like, but it's a fact of life. When it comes down to it, the majority of bands want a high level of success, and will take whatever road they have to take to get there, be it commercials or what have you.
I think there is a fine line. When it is done right, the results are astounding.

Solid Results:
Van Halen's - You've Really Got Me to the Levi's commercial a dozen years back.
the Who and C.S.I was a perfect match
Tainted Love in the VW commercial

Poor Results:
Anything Zep. Buick? Yikes. Puff Daddy & Godzilla

The only "selling-out" issue I have is when a band/artists completely change their style to suit the mainstream to bring in the scratch. a couple offenders:


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Old 09-12-05, 12:17 PM
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"Selling out" to me is when a band completely changes their sound to be what is contemporary. Not a contemporary sounding band that always sounded like that.

An example would be Kelly Osbourne doing a techno album. Or if the White Stripes put out a Britney Spears pop type of album.
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Old 09-12-05, 02:46 PM
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I agree with others, Metallica sold out, Moby and/or Mooney Suzuki did not sell out. I think it will help smaller bands find fans, that they would not have back in the day. I really like the Flaming Lips (seeing them locally for years helps this) and I liked the commercials they used their music in, and it has helped them get more fans and help them stay together. My favorite local band (Chainsaw Kittens) was unfortuante to be able to "sell out" and have since got on to regular day jobs to be able to eat.

When you hear a Fugazi tune in a commercial then you can talk about a group selling out.

I would also consider a band ont remaining true when they allow their song to be bastardized for a product/commercial. The only ones I can think of are The Doors (from the movie - too young to know for sure) and Sir MixAlot (I know rap is a synonym for selling out). Both songs were taken and lyrics rearranged or the tempo and song completely changed, just wrong.
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Old 09-12-05, 03:02 PM
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God forbid I should ever be in a position to sell out. Many, if not most, aspiring musicians dream of 'making it big'. Or, as someone much more eloquent once put it

Originally Posted by The Clash
Every gimmick-hungry yob digging gold from rock and roll
Grabs the mike to tell us heíll die before heís sold
But I believe in this and itís been tested by research
That he who fucks nun will later join the church
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Old 09-12-05, 03:07 PM
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I would think a band sold out if they had a style and sound they liked and they decided to change it to something they did not like to become successful.

Making a change to become successful by itself would not be selling out if they liked the new sound and style also. IMO.

Real people do this all the time. They like one job , but it does not pay enough. So they move to another job they also enjoy that has more opportunity and better pay.

did they sell out? Should they have kept it real at the old lower paying job

People just need a reason to seem cool. So turning on a now successsful band makes them feel better. IMO.

They may even like the new sound although they would never admit it since they would have sold out also by liking the new sound

They move to the new IN band who has not made it till it does then the cycle starts again.
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Old 09-12-05, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by gcribbs
I would think a band sold out if they had a style and sound they liked and they decided to change it to something they did not like to become successful.
A lot of the original punk bands were accused of selling out as they softened their sound and branched out into other genres. The Clash and The Jam are two excellent examples. Now, one could accuse them each of selling out, but in many cases it was more about the members of the bands getting better at their instruments and not wanting to be tied down to a rudimentary form of music which might stifle artistic expression. Also, what of, e.g., The Police, a band that intentionally aped an 'indie' style merely to gain popular and artistic notoriety? Did they sell out? An arguemnt could be made that many 'indie' bands were more sell-outs at the beginning of their careers, and as time passed, became more true to their genuine artistic aims.
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Old 09-12-05, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
A lot of the original punk bands were accused of selling out as they softened their sound and branched out into other genres. The Clash and The Jam are two excellent examples. Now, one could accuse them each of selling out, but in many cases it was more about the members of the bands getting better at their instruments and not wanting to be tied down to a rudimentary form of music which might stifle artistic expression. Also, what of, e.g., The Police, a band that intentionally aped an 'indie' style merely to gain popular and artistic notoriety? Did they sell out? An arguemnt could be made that many 'indie' bands were more sell-outs at the beginning of their careers, and as time passed, became more true to their genuine artistic aims.

True people get better at instruments plus they hear other instruments they never heard before. As people get older what they like often changes so of course a band would change over time. It is a small group of fans who see any change as selling out.

I hated The Police the first time I heard them so any comment I would make would probably not sound objective

I remember being given a police album in 1980 I think. I hated it. I gave the album away.
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