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Artists Who Became Great By Selling Out

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Artists Who Became Great By Selling Out Empty Artists Who Became Great By Selling Out

Post  hgforsajk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 12:14 pm

(This is the same as the one in the art section. I just thought it would be good to put it here too.)

The Beatles

Back in the 50s and early 60s, The Beatles were a group of rough hooligans who smoked and swore onstage while chomping on chicken between songs. They wore leather jackets, played sleazy German titty bars, swore on stage, nailed condoms to walls and set them on fire, and even more surprising, did not have matching hair.

The group had a steady gig playing strip clubs in Hamburg, but they weren't making a whole lot of money there. After returning to Liverpool in 1961, The Beatles were discovered by Brian Epstein. He liked what he heard and offered to be their manager, on one small condition: that they change everything about themselves.

The Beatles fought against it, but because of the money, they decided to comply. Today, 4 of the Rolling Stone magazine's 10 best albums of all time are from The Beatles. So to recap, first came the haircuts, then came a level of popularity that bought them an unprecedented amount of creative freedom, and then came the albums that changed music forever, which they couldn’t have done without selling out.


Kurt Cobain and Co. are credited with revolutionizing rock in the early 90s. Apparently, the mainstream music came from “garage bands”, and Nirvana was the most popular "garage band" in the world, but ironically, they wouldn't have gone anywhere if they had actually stayed a garage band.

Nirvana’s first album “Bleach” was made when they were still a “garage band”. Kurt Cobain himself called it "one-dimensional" and "hollow". For their next album, which would be “Nevermind”, the band brought in producer Butch Vig, who took their alternative/punk tracks and mixed them like pop songs. Cobain later said he despised how the album was handled with the mainstream in mind. Although, the result of the tampering was a unique mix of screeching angst and catchy pop hooks that utterly wiped 80s hair metal off the scene forever.

The 26 million copies it sold also proved that alternative music was bankable, fueling a cultural phenomenon we're still living through. You can't understate the importance of the album in the history of music, and it wouldn't have been possible had Nirvana stayed underground.


Michelangelo the great painter sold out. First of all, Michelangelo HATED painting. He even considered it an inferior art form. What Michelangelo really wanted to do was to sculpt. But the pope wanted the Sistine Chapel painted, and despite Michelangelo’s hate for painting, he was good at it. Also, the church was about the only organization commissioning work in his area, and Michelangelo knew he couldn't afford to be picky. He put his dreams away, swallowed his pride and took the money, which means he sold out to the Church. The irony, of course, is that the paintings for the ceiling and altar of the chapel became the two most recognizable works by Michelangelo and two of the most influential paintings by any Western artist ever, despite hating painting, and he was able to create this artwork by selling out.


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