Top 10 Music Artists that are Falsely Accused of Being Sell Outs

Some music artists are called sell outs. What's a sell out you might ask? A sell out is someone that only makes music for money and doesn't make it with passion. Some artists have been falsely labeled this and it can get annoying.

The Top Ten

1 Green Day Green Day Green Day are an American pop punk and alternative rock band formed in East Bay, California in 1987. The members include Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals and guitar), Mike Dirnt (bass), Tré Cool (drums) and Jason White (guitar) . Green Day are associated with punk rock, pop punk and alternative rock. Some ...read more.

I never got this. All that happened is that their music got more complex, melodious and well thought out. Their older style was more direct and simple. To me, that's an improvement. Stylistically, they stayed the same. And also, they stayed pretty political. - Martin_Canine

I would agree with this assessment. He had gotten more complex, and certainly more well rounded as an artist - Ned964

They never sold out to begin with they were a punk band in the beginning and they're still a punk band now.

To avoid misconceptions, here is the definition from wiki:
"There are two distinct forms of "selling out" in terms of music.
First, there is the use of term "sell out" to refer to those who sign for major labels or to those who licence their music to companies for use in advertising that contradicts their apparent values.
Secondly, the expression can refer to those who sacrifice their musical integrity through a change in their musical sound, sometimes due to pressure from major labels or in order to gain profit by making their music more appealing to a mainstream audience." - Metal_Treasure

2 Metallica Metallica Metallica is an American Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 . The original lineup was James Hetfield (Vocalist and Rhythm guitarist), Dave Mustaine (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), Ron McGovney (Bassist). The group came into mainstream from their Self-Titled album and the hit single "Enter Sandman". ...read more.

Thrash Metal was on a big low during the 1990s, with many bands disbanding and many albums being released deemed mediocre. Metalheads also grew tired of the sub-genre, moving on to Death Metal and Black Metal instead, and newcomer rock fans being more invested in Grunge music. Furthermore, all four of the big four tried something different during the 1990s; Megadeth also went soft with some ballads, Slayer experimenting with Nu Metal in Diabolus in Musica and Anthrax paving the way for Rap Metal. Metallica actually did the best out of the four during the mid-late 90s (Early 90s had Rust in Peace, Seasons in the Abyss and Persistence of Time to argue) and managed to stay relevant during that time.

If Metallica is to be called a sellout for trying something different in the 90s, all of the Big Four would be victim to being called that anyway. The only reason why Metallica was accused was simply for being the most popular metal band around (Aside from Pantera). - CrimsonShark

They definitely did not sell out. The Black Album is great. Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters, what else is there not to like? And so what if it's not thrash? Who has the right to tell them to play thrash all the time? - SoldierOfFortune

I actually agree here, just because they wanted to do a more "Mainstream" sound doesn't mean they sold out as long as they had passion for it and still cared about the fans (and Metallica have always cared about the fans) - christangrant

I'm a Metallica fan but I will try to be objective.
The definition of "selling out" in music is namely this: making music that is more appealing to a mainstream audience. So Metallica sold out with the Black album but they aren't the biggest sellouts in metal as many people think.
"Passion for it" isn't related to the "selling out" behavior.
Caring about the fans doesn't prove they aren't sellouts. Not saying this is the case but in general, caring too much about the fans may be actually a sign of a "selling out" strategy because trying to please more fans makes artists create more mainstream music. - Metal_Treasure

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3 Dave Grohl Dave Grohl David Eric "Dave" Grohl is an American rock musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer and film director. He is best known as the former drummer of the hugely popular 90s grunge band Nirvana and the vocalist/guitarist for the alternative rock band Foo Fighters. He has sat behind the ...read more.

Just because he formed Foo Fighters doesn't make him a sellout.

Agreed. He freely admits to learning to write songs from Cobain. What has he done to sell out? The Foo Fighters are pretty good in my eyes - Ned964

4 Pink Floyd Pink Floyd Pink Floyd were an English progressive rock band formed in 1965 in London, England. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. The band consisted of 5 members - David Gilmour (Vocals and Guitar), Syd Barrett (Vocals and Guitar), Nick Mason (Drums), Roger Waters ...read more.

I have heard people call this band a sell out however I don't see what makes them a "sell out" - christangrant

The people that you have heard calling this band a sellout are frankly idiots. Is it their contention that the albums following Roger Waters leaving the band are a bit more "pop" conscious? While that is certainly true, the band had zero motivation to sell out, both the Wall and the Dark side of the Moon are 2 of the largest selling albums in history and are certainly well within the artistic parameters Pink Floyd had established in their careers. There's never been any need for them to sell out, they have long since made their bones - Ned964

5 Linkin Park Linkin Park Linkin Park is an American rock band formed in Agoura Hills, California, in 1996. The members currently include Mike Shinoda (vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar), Brad Delson (guitar), Dave "Phoenix" Farrell (bass), Joe Hahn (DJ) and Rob Bourdon (drums). Linkin Park are associated with a mixture of Nu-metal ...read more.

I have no idea if they really sold out, but what I know is I didn't like their non-rock sound. They neither managed to maintain the rough emotional component that made them one of the definite bands of their generation, nor to sound like a real pop band, lacking the infectiousness and catchiness. - Martin_Canine

Just because OML was poppy doesn't make them sellouts. With that logic every artist that tries a different sound is a sellout.

It was actually their dubstep phase which pushed people away - ProPanda

Not every artist that tries a different sound is a sellout by default.
It depends - if the different sound makes their music more appealing to a mainstream audience (poppier), this isn't good - it's the definition of selling out.
It's good if the new different sound has more music quality (more complex) and takes more talent/efforts to make. - Metal_Treasure

I would agree again. Although this band did become a bit more "pop" conscious along the way, I feel it only served to make them a more complete band. I also feel that their collaborations with other artists had an influence on their material. Maybe some songs came off as a bit pop orientated, and that is probably true, but songwriting is not as easy as many here seem to think. Sometimes even good bands have to meet a bottom line, and that's to sell their product. If I don't like it, I don't have to listen to it. Sadly we will never know where Linkin Park would have ended up, with Chester feeling the need to check out. RIP Chester. - Ned964

The fact is if any band changes sound, people call them sellouts. if they don't change their sound, people complain they don't ever change, everythings the same. - RustyNail

6 Def Leppard Def Leppard Def Leppard are an English rock band formed in 1977 in Sheffield as part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.

Yes they started out as a Metal band then switched their sound many times but in my opinion they aren't "Sellouts" the goal of Def Leppard was to be a household name just like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin so they had passion for their music and they certainly care about their fans. - christangrant

It's certainly true that Def Leppard became far more pop oriented once they had some success financially. I prefer the older stuff myself, but Def Leopard was never anything more or less than a pop metal band, there was nothing to sell out from. - Ned964

7 Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax is an American thrash metal band from New York City, formed in 1981 by guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Dan Lilker.

Why Anthrax? so far from sell out - heavyheavy

8 Weezer Weezer Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1992, currently consisting of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar), Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner.

Self explantory at most.

9 Ramones Ramones The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound.

They just went to pop-punk from punk-rock. They again became punk rock in 90s though. - zxm

Again, one of my favorite bands. I would contend that any self respecting Punk artist would consider selling out to pop sensibilities as abhorrent. Staying away from the whole pop thing was exactly the point of Punk. If it's your contention that they sold out for some commercial success to pay the bills, I can live with that. - Ned964

10 Eminem Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce ...read more.

Eminem was heavily on drugs during "Encore" and "Relapse", and while the albums still were awesome, he had a more immature humor (that I personally like). He then restarted competely on "Recovery" because he felt quality was decreasing, and that's what others said as well. None of his old concepts are found there, he completely focused on lyrical quality. - Martin_Canine

Do I REALLY need to explain why for this one?

The Contenders

11 My Chemical Romance My Chemical Romance My Chemical Romance was an American rock band from Jersey City, New Jersey, active from 2001 to 2013. For much of their career, the band consisted of lead vocalist Gerard Way, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero, bassist Mikey Way, and drummer Bob Bryar.

They kept their exact same style from first to last album, and have always had fairly thought out writing, performances and concepts. All of their albums had bigger ambitions than what the mainstream expects. - Martin_Canine

They were a emo band from start to finish. Never sold out at all.

12 Paramore Paramore Paramore is an American rock band from Franklin, Tennessee, formed in 2004. The band currently consists of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro.

It gets so damn old... and annoying.

They are just experimenting for god's sake
They pop material is pure gold compared to Coldplay or Fall Out Boy

13 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of Robert Plant (Vocal), Jimmy Page (Guitar), John Paul Jones (Bass, Keyboard) and John Bonham (Drums). The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound, rooted in blues and psychedelia on their early albums, has earned them recognition ...read more.

Never heard people calling they sold out. - zxm

14 Nirvana Nirvana Nirvana was an American grunge band that was formed in Aberdeen, Washington in 1987. Nirvana disbanded after Kurt Cobain committed suicide in 1994. The drummer of the band, David Grohl, went on to start the Foo-Fighters, an alternative rock band. ...read more.

Kurt Cobain tried everything NOT to please the mainstream, like not playing their most popular song anymore. - Martin_Canine

Agreed. But I must admit the irony, all his efforts to avoid mainstream success were fruitless, as that's exactly where Nirvana ended up. - Ned964

15 Thirty Seconds To Mars Thirty Seconds To Mars Thirty Seconds to Mars (commonly stylized as 30 Seconds to Mars) is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1998. The band consists of Jared Leto, Shannon Leto and Tomo Miličević.

Like LP just because a artist tries a different sound doesn't make them a sellout.

16 Three Days Grace Three Days Grace Three Days Grace is a Canadian rock band formed in Norwood, Ontario in 1997 with a line-up consisting of guitarist and lead vocalist Adam Gontier, drummer and backing vocalist Neil Sanderson, and bassist Brad Walst. In 2013 Gontier left the band due to creative differences. He was replaced with Brad's ...read more.

I hate to write this comment since Three Days Grace is one of my favourite bands, but at the same time I agree with them on the list as they are definitely still a passionate band, I also somewhat disagree. No, I'm not saying they are sell-outs, but Adam himself had pretty much admitted to a majority of "Transit of Venus" not coming from the heart. Again though, I think they're still a great band with a lot of passion for their music, so this comment was in no way intended to bash or throw hate at them.

They never sold out they're still a rock band that has passion for music like they always have.

17 Fall Out Boy Fall Out Boy Fall Out Boy is an American pop rock band formed in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, in 2001. The band consists of vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley.

I love Fall Out Boy and respect all of their music. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that each of their albums gets even pop-ier that the last. Especially after their hiatus. Sorry, but they sold out big time.

Guys, they make a fidget Spinner... A FIDGET SPINNER
These guys really sold out

They did sell out and they SOLD out hard.

18 Silbermond Silbermond Silbermond is a German alternative rock band consisting of Stefanie Kloß (vocals), Thomas Stolle (guitar), Johannes Stolle (bass), Andreas Nowak (drums) that formed in 2000. ...read more.

They started off as a pop punkish alternative rock band with straightforward and often cynical lyrics (e.g. "Zeit für Optimisten") and then became soft and more introverted indie pop (e.g. "Leichtes Gepäck"), but it was actually a slow but steady evolution from album to album, and they probably just matured and lost part of their teenage energy. - Martin_Canine

19 Tokio Hotel Tokio Hotel Tokio Hotel are a pop rock band from Magdeburg, Germany, consisting of Bill Kaulitz (singer), Tom Kaulitz (guitar), Gustav Schäfer (drums) and Georg Listing (keyboards, bass) that formed in 2001. ...read more.

After their hiatus they came back with a more electronica based sound instead of their old emo-ish anternative rock. It's mostly their American fans who say they sold out. But this was actually a result of them having moved to the US in that time and got to know the American club scene better. Almost all German music critics (who weren't too friendly to Tokio Hotel before) saw this as a major improvement and it made the group more critically accepted. - Martin_Canine

20 Ozzy Osbourne Ozzy Osbourne John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne was born on December 3, 1948. He is also known as ''The Prince of Darkness''. Ozzy is an English singer, songwriter, and television personality. He rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of the band Black Sabbath. Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath ...read more.

He IS a sellout. He did it in many different ways. He wrote pop songs with metal riffs, had his own reality show, stared in terrible kids' shows, I can go on and on!

He isn't falsely accused. He did. Many times. In many different ways. - Metal_Treasure

But he is a sellout... - Metarock

He is a sellout plain and simple.

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21 Trivium Trivium Trivium is an American Heavy Metal band from Orlando, Florida, formed in 1999. Their frontman, Matt Heafy, lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu and Bassist Paulo Gregoletto are the band's most consistent members and have appeared in every album since. ...read more.

Trust me on this one; those who grew up with Ascendancy or Shogun keep pouting about Trivium lost their sound and become "commercialized sellouts". They constantly pander about how garbage In Waves to Silence in the Snow were, when they can't seem to realize that Trivium has really matured over the years. In addition, Matt Heafy noted that he wasn't into screaming vocals, which was a main reason for The Crusade being mostly sung on clean vocals.

For such an amazing band, a good fraction of Trivium's fanbase really is just nosy and bratty idiots who can't accept the fact that bands need to mature and change. They can't make a Shogun 2.0, that would be dumb and repetitive. - CrimsonShark

22 Tom Delonge Tom Delonge Thomas Matthew "Tom" DeLonge, Jr., is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and film producer. He was born in Poway, California on December 13, 1975. When he was in high school at age 15, he got expelled for drinking at a basketball game. He also used to play the trumpet, ...read more.

People say when he made AVA, he sold out. How? Just because he changed his style of music does not mean he is a sellout. AVA in fact is less popular than Blink-182, but Tom clearly enjoyed making music with AVA more, despite getting less fame and money, which means he is in for the music. He has said he has a constant need to make music himself. - AnimeDrawer

23 Aerosmith Aerosmith Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "the Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band".

After the 70's, when Aerosmith put out an insane amount of great music, the band put out some real garbage. This, combined with heavy drug use, lead to the band breaking up. They reunited in the late '80's and their motivation for doing so was clearly to make money. They put out 3 albums that were huge financial successes. In interviews before, during, and after this time, every member would freely admit that they needed money and that their music became much more Pop orientated. I don't blame them for selling out, they had to if they wanted to keep living the lives they had become accustomed to... - Ned964

24 Theory of a Deadman Theory of a Deadman Theory of a Deadman is a Canadian post-grunge band. Formed in 2001, the band is currently signed to Roadrunner Records as well as 604 Records. They were discovered by Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger.
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