Stop Calling Other Artists Sellouts. They Don’t Need Your Petty Bullshit.

Do you hate it when that super heavy band you used to listen to becomes more accessible and all of a sudden more people want to listen to them? Does it drive you nuts when that rapper you like starts including *shudder* female singers in his choruses? Does it just grind your fucking gears when someone prefers a four-chord pop song over your favorite 25-minute jam that you know for a fact has more scales in it?

If you or anyone you know display any of these conditions, you may suffer from a severe case of being a petty asshole. The cure is to shut the fuck up and put on your headphones if you don’t like it. Guess what? Every musician – whether they used to make music you like or just came out of the gate pissing you off – is an artist.

Artists evolve.

The best artists are not content to just regurgitate the same tired schtick over and over again. They push themselves. They look for new avenues. Sometimes those avenues may include sounds that are softer, simpler, more subdued than what your tastes or expectations of them may allow for.

Artists collaborate.

When artists meet other artists, this weird thing happens where they, like, want to work together to make something different. So fucking weird, right? How your favorite metal band decided to work with some top 40 rapper just because they happened to hang out in a studio together one day and click creatively? I swear, the nerve of some people. All of my sarcasm is sarcasm.

Artists support each other.

Or at least they should. And that’s the whole point of this, isn’t it? If you’re too angry/upset/jealous/whatever negative toxic-ass fucking thing you’re feeling to actually feel happy for another artist who – successfully or otherwise – challenged themselves to explore new facets of their artistic identity, then that’s on you. Or maybe they just felt like writing a dance tune. Whatever, shut up and be happy for them. There is no valid reason for you to feel anything negative toward any other artist creating art unless it supports Nazis or incites murder.

Now, look, I’m not saying that there aren’t artists I stopped listening to because of a huge shift in their sound towards a more commercial space. Sometimes artists go in a direction that just isn’t my thing. I won’t name any names here, but I gave up on Maroon 5 a long fucking time ago. But hey, you know what? I’m happy they’re as successful as they are, because I happen to think that they’re all great musicians who deserve the platform that they have to lift other musicians up. And whether or not you like their new music – which I think I’ve made pretty clear that I don’t – they do that on the daily.

And if you need proof of the negative impact of being called a “sellout” can have on an artist, especially one whose music comes from a place of real pain despite whether or not you personally can feel it, look no further than Linkin Park. A so-called “heavy” band, and one of the most popular recording outfits of all time, they had the audacity to attempt to release a pop rock album. The music community at large labeled the as “sellouts.” We all know what happened next. Give it a fucking rest.

Written by Syd Ghan
Edited by Dominic Abate

About Syd Ghan 205 Articles
Syd Ghan is a Montreal media man, born and bred. After spending his formative years playing music on stages big and small across the city, he transitioned seamlessly into a career as a full-time writer, editor, and content manager. He has reviewed numerous bands both in concert and on record, written for a number of different blogs and online publications, been both a host and featured guest on various local podcasts and radio shows, and has even logged time judging live music competitions. In his spare time, he enjoys engaging in spirited debates over the finer points of pop-rock radio and he’s never met a chicken wing he didn’t like.

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