Marketing Methods By Tom Colohue Part Seventeen: Avoiding The Sell Out Label

IIf you’re here to look into new and different methods by which you can market your band or artist. You’ve come to the right place. I’m Tom Colohue, and this is Marketing Methods; your guide to traversing the basics of the marketing world while avoiding the pitfalls, the traps and the unreasonable arseholes in it.

Avoiding The Sell Out Label

This is one of those things that it’s never particularly easy to say, but it is devastatingly simple to explain. There is one, and only one, sure fire way to avoid being called a sell-out, and that’s to never make a penny. That’s all there is to it. The moment you sell as much as a single CD, somebody is likely to be calling you a sell-out. This piece is about fighting off the inevitable accusations, and the ultimate answer to everything you’ll ever be accused of in the music world.

Wikipedia defines selling out as:

“Selling out” is the compromising of (or the perception of compromising) integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for money or “success” (however defined). It is commonly associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream audience. Any artist who expands their creative path to encompass a wider audience, as opposed to continuing in the genre and venues of their initial success, may be disdainfully labeled by disapproving fans as a sellout. Sometimes a sellout is seen as a person that is disloyal to one’s group that he or she belongs (usually ethnic group) in order to gain money or become “successful”. Selling out is often seen as gaining success at the cost of credibility.

From this, we can pick out several key words that will help us discover our route through the minefield. Integrity, morality and principles immediately jump out, obviously. Tailor and mainstream audience are another pair that help define what we’re looking at here. Disloyal is the last big one, implying that you, as an artist, have to have as much loyalty to your fans as they have to you. Therein lies the crux of the matter.

Your fans expect the same from you as they give. They will stand in the rain for a big name, hoping beyond hope for a chance at getting an autograph. Your job is just to perform, but fans can also bite you in the arse, largely unfairly. Standing your ground doesn’t always result in a good point made; it can actually make more of an enemy of yourself.

Image credit: clubluxury on Tumblr

The main reason people are called sell-outs is because of a large change in the output. This, however, is just creativity. Bands are often accused of making songs that are all the same, but they are just as often accused of being sell-outs simply for going in the other direction.

So how do you combat this? How do you argue with people who believe that firmly that they are right? Well, here comes the trick. Stop caring.

People will say whatever the hell they want about you. They will hate you for being successful, and hate you for being creative, and hate you for being inventive. So f–king what? Let them say whatever they want, it won’t affect you at all. Getting into an argument will never stand you in good stead – you’ll just be embarrassing yourself, so don’t bother.

Anybody who calls you names and insults you is not a fan, but spending time on them is wasting time you could be offering to your actual fans. Ignore them, walk away from them and just get on with it.

The next piece is the final conclusion of these articles, since I’ve now covered all the areas I wanted to cover. I hope to see you there.

Tom Colohue is a writer from Blackpool, England. Though he specialises in Fiction, he also writes music theory articles, and new media articles based primarily on the internet. On occasion, these also intermingle. He is well recognised by numerous critics and analysts for his integrative descriptive work and his cynical textual mannerisms. For more information, Tom Colohue keeps a Facebook Fan Page, which contains updates from new articles and his personal blog, Mental Streaming. This page can be found via this link.