When the band you love becomes famous, how do you feel?
April 9, 2006 11:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an essay posted somewhere that was a response to cynical music fans who were "put out" when their special underground band hit the mainstream and became sellouts.

I believe it may have specifically addresses bands like U2 and R.E.M but I can't be sure. It was challenging the assumption that you can no longer respect or like an artist who has become successful.

Any thoughts?
posted by dhacker to Media & Arts (16 answers total)
 
Was it this, by Dave Eggers?
posted by ludwig_van at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2006


http://www.armchairnews.com/freelance/eggers.html
posted by godawful at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2006


Yours by a whisker, Ludwig.
posted by godawful at 12:11 PM on April 9, 2006


Muahahaha!
posted by ludwig_van at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2006


bingo, thanks guys
posted by dhacker at 1:11 PM on April 9, 2006


I enjoyed that essay right up to the point where he says "Will I keep this money? Very little of it. Within the year I will have given away almost a million dollars to about 100 charities and individuals..." Had to work that in there, didn't you, Dave?

I've actually never read anything by Eggers I was able to enjoy all the way through. One too many swerves of the Solipsist Express.
posted by languagehat at 1:31 PM on April 9, 2006


Well, I think it's a pretty lame rant that completely avoids addressing any actual issues relating to commercialism/art/integrity in favor of attacking straw men, but what can you do.
posted by ludwig_van at 2:11 PM on April 9, 2006


Yeah, I'm with you LH. I would have respected him a lot more had he said something to the effect of, "I will do whatever I want with that money," which would have been just as true, and not nearly as pretentious.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:15 PM on April 9, 2006


That was a beautiful rant. Thanks for bringing it to the attention of those who might not have read it (like myself).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:26 PM on April 9, 2006


Those who bestow sellouthood upon their former heroes are driven to do so by, first and foremost, the unshakable need to reduce. The average one of us - a taker-in of various and constant media, is absolutely overwhelmed - as he or she should be - with the sheer volume of artistic output in every conceivable medium given to the world every day - it is simply too much to begin to process or comprehend - and so we are forced to try to sort, to reduce. We designate, we label, we diminish, we create hierarchies and categories.

What a bizarre argument. I disagree totally. People aren't obsessed with their favourite artists selling out because they don't have enough time or money to consume their product.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:00 PM on April 9, 2006


He lost me at "All of this is long, but you can't edit without my permission. So let me know if you want to, though I hope you don't." What a self-important twat.
posted by reklaw at 4:39 PM on April 9, 2006


I count myself as an Eggers-liker, and I agree that he totally missed the boat. The notion of sell-out and why we don't like sell-outs is a fascinating one, and he just reduced it down to some kind of defensive screed about how he can do whatever he wants and we shouldn't look down on him for it. Yes, but then?

Too bad. So much to explore here about selling out and the need to fit in to a group and be seperate from another group at the same time. I felt like he was coming at this from the perspective of a producer of product, not a consumer of product, which completely skewed his argument. Dhacker, l_v, and godawful, thanks for bringing this up.
posted by incessant at 5:06 PM on April 9, 2006


I felt like he was coming at this from the perspective of a producer of product, not a consumer of product, which completely skewed his argument.

Exactly. It sounds totally defensive, and just sweeps the whole issue under the carpet, pretty much the same way most artists seem to do these days at the first accusation of "selling out." I can't stand this "There's no such thing as selling out, nobody in the world has sold out ever, there's nothing to see here" stuff.

But this discussion probably belongs somewhere else.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:15 PM on April 9, 2006


I think you need to define what you mean by selling out.

My understanding is that a sell-out is someone who does something initially because they have a passion about it, then later because they can make money from it. Thus, his example of the Flaming Lips not being a sell-out because while they can make money from their music, it has not replaced their original motivating reasons. Someone is not a sell-out simply because they can make money from their art.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:09 AM on April 10, 2006


it's a rant. and if you think of the "90210 comment" he gives, he has a point. that kind of snide dismissal happens all the time.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:44 AM on April 10, 2006


and if you think of the "90210 comment" he gives, he has a point. that kind of snide dismissal happens all the time.

Yes, obviously foolish remarks are made frequently, but that doesn't mean it's necessary to spend a whole rant refuting them while leaving the substantial issues untouched. It's like if I wrote a 3-page essay about how wrong it is to write "its" instead of "it's" or something. Educated writers already know which one is proper and won't be interested, and those who don't know won't need that many pages in order to be corrected. You know what I mean?
posted by ludwig_van at 2:03 PM on April 10, 2006


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