No, this is not an Aprils fools joke. I wish the state of modern music was though.
I think there is a serious difference between getting exposure and selling out. For one, exposure is simply the act or strategy of putting yourself in places where lots of people can see/hear you, with the intention that this action will get you fans, record sales, Facebook likes etc.
Lets try and dissect some of the concepts discussed above in the video.
In my mind, selling out entails changing, cheapening, or altering yourself, your music, and/or your image to hop on a bandwagon, or attain success in the short term. Selling out, in my world view, is getting cheap and crappy because you know it can get you somewhere quickly, cheaply, or on the back of a movement. It is the total the opposite of what art is, in that it is really the pursuit of success or fame for success or fame’s sake.
And to further back this idea up, I 100% agree with the comment in the above video, on music being the only art form where the idea of making money is selling out.
Rembrandt van Rijn is by far one of the most famous western painters. In fact, I actually got to see a lot of his art at the De Young museum in San Francisco two weeks ago (I also got to see “Girl With The Pearl Earing” in person at the same exhibit and it was pretty crazy to see one of the worlds most famous paintings right in front of me. It was like meeting Keith Richards, just not as wrinkly). My initial impression of him, was that he was some intellectualized, artsy fartsy painter, who was amazingly gifted but died penniless because he pursued his art in such a pure, hermit like manner, and the world just didn’t get him.
See, the reality was, Rembrandt was actually incredibly popular! He made a good living painting amazing portraits. Not only that, but he did what I can only describe as the 1600’s version of going platinum: He did etchings for books which were sold all across the world. A large part of his fame was due to the fact that he did a commercialized form of art, where he would create etchings which were then put into books, mass produced, and then sold all across Europe. He did die penniless though, but only because he spent his money up too fast partying harder than Andrew W.K. locked inside a ‘Party America’ store.
If a sweet Science Fiction movie wanted to use a Picture Atlantic song for their trailer, I would assess what the message of the movie was, whether it seemed like a good movie (at all), and if both these elements were positive for me, I’d say “Here is my home address for a check”. How is that selling out?
My music is still the same music. My personality is the still the same. I am still the same. If they said “Ok, here is your check, but you also have to start wearing Diesel jeans, and getting full body tans at ‘Snooki’s Beach Tan Parlour’ every week” I would say “Take that check and shove it”. Even more simply, if that logic were applied everywhere, anyone doing any kind of fine art or craft should be scrutinized for charging. Sorry Fender! Your guitars are amazing, but shame on you or charging us to buy them! You’re only cheapening the fine profession that is being a Luthier.
Yeah right. Get real people.
This article will be continued with a second part tomorrow! Stay tuned in!