Top 10 Music Artists Who are the Biggest Sellouts

When artist start out in one genre and then sell out so they can make it on the charts, it causes quite a stir. Let’s discuss these artists who made this controversial decision.
The Top Ten
1 Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy/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

They were one of the top metal bands around back in the 80s, but now they are just remembered for what they did in that decade. If Metallica had stuck to its roots, it would still be on top and might even be considered the greatest metal band of all time. They are either considered the greatest metal band of all time or the second greatest to Iron Maiden. From the Black Album onwards, they have sold out. If they had stuck to their thrash roots, they probably would have come out with albums just as good, if not better, than their first four albums.

For me, it's when they released the Load album. This album, and every other album after it, is nothing more than either alternative or hard rock. Death Magnetic tries, but falls short, in my opinion. Why is Metallica alienating their fan base? Change your image back to thrash metal. Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax don't seem to have an issue with it.

2 Maroon 5 Maroon 5 is an American pop/pop rock band that originated in Los Angeles, California. Before the current group was established, the original four members, Adam Levine, Jesse Carmichael Mickey Madden and Ryan Dusick, formed a band known as Kara's Flowers in 1994, while they were still in high school.

No artist should be above this definition of a sellout. Some musical acts on this list, like Coldplay and Taylor Swift, also switched over to pop. But at least they're making interesting pop music.

Maroon 5's contribution to pop music is Adam Levine singing about good sex in a complicated relationship over watered-down trap beats. There's also a bridge featuring whatever terrible rapper is popular at the moment. You cannot possibly sell out worse than Maroon 5 did.

"The Adam Levine Experience" is a much more fitting name. Whatever happened to this band, I find it difficult to understand. Adam Levine is quite the egotist, following fame and money at this point. He's a famous celebrity, known for being in "The Voice" and has a well-documented personal life. Hardly anybody knows about any of the other band members. It's almost sad how I tend to pity them somewhat, as they can't even display much of their talent.

Maroon 5, or rather, The Adam Levine Experience, was a pretty solid band. Now, they've become the poster boy for the term "sell-out", and many notable music fans and critics understandably dislike the band for this. If anything, blame Adam for all this.

3 X Japan X Japan is a Japanese heavy metal band from Chiba, formed in 1982 by drummer Yoshiki and lead vocalist Toshi.

Especially after the reunion, they became a pop band...

4 Gwen Stefani Gwen Renée Stefani (born October 3, 1969) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She is a co-founder and the lead vocalist of the band No Doubt, whose singles include "Just a Girl" and "Don't Speak" from their 1995 breakthrough studio album Tragic Kingdom, as well as "Hey Baby" and "It's My Life" from later albums.

An unfortunate example of a true sellout. I understand that not everyone is super talented. I understand you only have so many songs in you. But I'd rather fade into rock obscurity with a couple of great tunes under my name than prop myself up with a bunch of cookie-cutter, pop garbage just to stay famous. 1995 Gwen wouldn't even recognize herself today.

Okay, now this chick is actually a sellout, and not Tom DeLonge. She gave up her band No Doubt, which is Ska Punk, in order to be a pop artist and become more popular. She doesn't put passion in her pop music. Meaning she did sell out. When someone does not even put passion into something, just doing it for fame, that is big-time selling out.

I really liked her in No Doubt. She left the band to produce terrible mainstream music that appeals to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to make money. If you look up 'sellout' in the dictionary, her picture should be there.

5 Fall Out Boy Fall Out Boy is an American pop punk 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.

The albums following the first breakup feel a lot less genuine than the earlier ones. Mania was an album that didn't need to be made, and the Billy Joel cover? Why does that exist?

They definitely started to kind of sell out once Save Rock and Roll came out, straying away from the good sound. Once Mania hit, that was the definition of a sellout. Hear for yourself and you'll see why.

They definitely sold out. Compare songs like Sugar, We're Goin Down to pop rock garbage like Centuries or My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.

6 Kiss Kiss, often styled as KISS, was an American rock band formed in New York City in 1973. The original members were Paul Stanley (vocals, rhythm guitar), Gene Simmons (vocals, bass guitar), Ace Frehley (lead guitar, vocals), and Peter Criss (drums, vocals).

Known for their face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence in the mid-1970s. Their shock rock-style live performances featured... read more

How are these guys not in the top 10? Kiss has sold out in pretty much every single way possible.

Why is Nirvana on this list? The over-merchandising of Nirvana started after Kurt's death, and everything about "In Utero" is far from selling out. It's the exact opposite.

Pushing KISS merchandise on talk shows has only served one purpose: telling the world how much Gene Simmons has sold out.

Every album they've made is just a sellout. They put on all the makeup just for style and fame. Faker than Nicki's butt.

7 Nickelback Nickelback is a Canadian post-grunge band formed in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta, Canada. The band is composed of guitarist and lead vocalist Chad Kroeger, guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist Ryan Peake, bassist Mike Kroeger, and drummer Daniel Adair.

They sold out before anyone actually heard of them. Their first album, The Curb, was heavy and their newer stuff is very poppy. I wish they could go back to not always singing about sex, partying, and all that crap.

Who remembers their album Curb? No one, since their fans love their new poppy music. Like with Metallica, they were heavy and processed by money to make themselves softer.

How could anyone forget them? Apparently, they had a grunge sound at the beginning, and then decided to go all radio-friendly with their later albums.

8 The Black Eyed Peas The Black Eyed Peas is an American hip hop group, consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, Taboo, and singer Fergie.

The Black Eyed Peas are a group who have sold out, not once but twice. Originally, they were a supposedly legitimate band with respect in the hip hop community. Then Fergie joined, and they became a pretty good pop band for a while. However, when I Gotta Feeling came along, they lost any semblance of identity to become generic, soulless pop-dance music that occupies the charts these days. Thankfully, they went on hiatus before they steeped too much further in that part of their career, clearly due to diminishing returns. When they inevitably reunite, they should hopefully return to what they originally were, but the chances of that are sadly slim. They are a sellout in every sense of the word.

This group apparently used to be an actual band and play instruments. I didn't know this now since they use computerized will.i.am beats and autotune in all of their songs. Almost as big of a sellout as Taylor Swift.

9 Taylor Swift Taylor Alison Swift is an American singer-songwriter.

She was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is best known for writing personal songs and for having won 11 Grammys. She became interested in country music when she was around 9 years old, and after watching a documentary about Faith Hill, Swift felt that she should go to Nashville to begin a country music career. She... read more

What happened in Reputation, I won't understand. She has great songs throughout most of her country 2006 - 2010 discography, and there are standouts in Red and 1989. Reputation, on the other hand, just falls flat and is really disappointing. You know, she's making a diss song of sorts, yet it's also the same woman who sung about a boy who passed away from Neuroblastoma. Damn it!

Yeah, there are bands and artists on here who made little change and are called sellouts, like U2 and Green Day (who really just evolved their sound and experimented with different subgenres). On the other hand, you have Taylor Swift, who literally went from country music to pop music, all because she wanted more attention and mainstream success. This artist makes Green Day's transition from punk rock to alternative rock less noticeable.

Of course, she's a sellout. It's pretty obvious. I'm not saying this to hate on Taylor or anything, but she made great country music that she genuinely loved making, and all of a sudden she became a generic pop artist with the passion honestly stripped away. "Shake It Off" is so generic.

10 David Bowie David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans... read more

Okay, so his late 80s to 90s stuff was very much him selling out, but he came back with The Next Day and Blackstar, which are two of his finest works.

The Contenders
11 Imagine Dragons Imagine Dragons is an American pop rock band from Provo, Utah, and are now based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Imagine Dragons' lineup consists of lead vocalist Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman. The band first gained exposure with the release of their single "It's Time", followed by their award-winning debut studio album Night Visions (2012), which resulted... read more

A movie soundtrack for every film and poppy, meaningless songs are being released instead of the great ones from their first album.

The early 2010s were an era where pop unleashed its worst, and an album like Night Visions was like a breath of fresh air.

Years later, they make Believer, which is so atrocious not even having Dolph Lundgren in the music video can redeem it.

I've always hated this band with a passion, but they somehow find ways to get worse over time.

12 30 Seconds to Mars Thirty Seconds to Mars (commonly stylized as 30 Seconds to Mars) is an American alternative rock band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 1998. The band currently consists of brothers Jared and Shannon Leto.

I just watched them perform on the late show and my god... what the hell is this? Electric drums, no distorted guitars or powerful vocals? They're just another Chainsmokers knock off. Complete loss of identity.

They went from borderline metal to electronic, techno crap. They're all talented, but they cover up that talent with awful dance beats. Up in the Air is a perfect example.

They went from a very nicely produced space prog rock concept album to absolute trash. In my opinion, this is the most stark sellout on this list.

13 Coldplay Coldplay are a British pop rock band formed in 1996. The band consists of Chris Martin (lead vocalist and pianist), Jonny Buckland (lead guitarist), Guy Berryman (bassist) and Will Champion (drummer and backing vocalist). Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The band renamed themselves "Coldplay" in 1998. Before making their debut album, they recorded and released three... read more

Coldplay, a band that cites U2, Radiohead, R.E.M., and Oasis as influences, would go on to collaborate with Rihanna, the Chainsmokers, and BTS. To me, they are the biggest sellouts in all of music history. Yes, even more so than Metallica, Weezer, and Taylor Swift. Every band member in Coldplay needs a smack across the face hard enough to bring them back to their senses and go back to their roots. This is all I have to say. Goodbye.

For the older fans, Coldplay is that kid you used to be friends with and go to school with. They were shy and gawky, but at least they were friendly and honest. Unfortunately, they secretly wanted very badly to fit in and be liked. To this end, at some point during summer vacation, that kid starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, eventually reinventing themselves. By the time you see them again, they're a completely different person. Now, they hang out with the cool kids and want nothing to do with you. That's Coldplay.

You know a musician has sold their soul to the devil when they have collaborated with the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna, Beyonce, and Jay Z.

14 Snoop Dogg Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., (born October 20, 1971) known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, actor, record producer, and television personality from Long Beach, California.

I'm seriously surprised how no one talks about Snoop Dogg selling out, just like they do with Metallica selling out. Snoop started collaborating with artists like Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Jason Derulo, and PSY, and promoting rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Far East Movement. He even guest-starred on Big Time Rush!

Besides all that, he hasn't been himself either. Right now, he's trying to be a wannabe Rastafarian, even calling himself "Snoop Lion."

Snoop really has changed. He's in his 40s now, so he should just retire already. He was a gangster back then, but now he's a joke that's not funny.

In my opinion, he should be number 1. He started promoting terrible rappers like Far East Movement and Wiz Khalifa. And he started rapping with a lot of terrible artists (Lil Wayne, Miley Cyrus, Big Time Rush, Jason Derulo, Psy, Soulja Boy, Katy Perry, the list goes on). He even said that Lil Wayne is dope!

How is this guy not higher?! He really is one of the biggest sellouts in music history! Really!

15 Panic! at the Disco Panic! at the Disco was an American pop rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, formed in 2004 and featuring the current lineup of vocalist Brendon Urie, accompanied on tour by bassist Dallon Weekes, guitarist Kenneth Harris, and drummer Dan Pawlovich.

It becomes pretty obvious after Vices and Virtues that Brendon Urie abandoned the good sound that Panic at the Disco had just to be famous and sell out with Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die, and the pop music on it. It was apparent in Vices and Virtues as well, but at least not that much to the point where there's still a lot of their sound in it. Now, it's all pop garbage that is not the Panic sound that made them.

I have to admit that they did kind of sell out, although they're still enjoyable either way.

16 Rod Stewart Roderick David "Rod" Stewart is a British rock singer-songwriter. Born and raised in London, he is of Scottish and English ancestry.
17 Guns N' Roses Guns N' Roses is an American hard rock band from Los Angeles formed in 1985. The classic lineup, as signed to Geffen Records in 1986, consisted of vocalist Axl Rose, lead guitarist Slash, rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, bassist Duff McKagan, and drummer Steven Adler. Apart from hard rock they are also associated with heavy metal... read more

With every member that left Guns N' Roses, they took a bit of talent with them. I hated Chinese Democracy and it is nothing like Appetite For Destruction.

18 Genesis Genesis are an English rock band formed at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey in 1967. The most commercially successful and long-lasting line-up includes keyboardist Tony Banks, bassist/guitarist Mike Rutherford and drummer/singer Phil Collins.

Sadly, I think they had the biggest drop in quality in music. If we take Metallica for example, The Black Album, Load, and Reload are good albums (even great in the case of The Black Album) just not Thrash Metal. St Anger and Lulu sucked, but those were uncommercial experiments. And they did return to form with Hardwired & Death Magnetic. However, I do feel that people are being too hard on Phil Collins. A Trick of the Tail & Wind and Wuthering are as great as the Peter Gabriel albums. And Then There Were Three & Duke are also good, though Steve Hackett's exit did hurt them, and Phil's side project Brand X is awesome. I blame the 80s.

After Gabriel's departure, Genesis became the worst sellouts in rock history. They discarded the quirkiness that made them somewhat interesting in favor of a massive pop bland-out. They were only pretending to be artists but were completely sincere about being soulless shills, chasing the bucks by producing pablum for dummies. "Trick of the Tail" sounded so awful after "Lamb," I not only gave up on Genesis, but I also permanently gave up on all commercial rock. I wasn't happy again until Punk came around. And whenever I think of Genesis these days, I think of Judas. I can't help it.

19 Chicago Chicago is an American rock band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois, calling themselves the Chicago Transit Authority in 1968 before shortening the name in 1969. The self-described “rock and roll band with horns” began writing politically charged rock music, and later moved to a softer sound, generating several hit ballads.

As far as I'm concerned, Chicago was the first sellout in the history of popular music. They went from making solid progressive rock songs in the 70s to putting out the same whiny ballad in the 80s.

"If You Leave Me Now" made them the second-biggest sellouts of the 1970s.

20 OneRepublic OneRepublic is an American pop rock band. Formed in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2002 by lead singer Ryan Tedder and guitarist Zach Filkins, the band achieved commercial success on Myspace as an unsigned act.
21 Jefferson Starship
22 Santana Santana is an American Latin rock band formed in San Francisco, California in 1967 by Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana.

Ever since Santana made an unlikely comeback in 1999 with "Smooth" and the Supernatural album (which probably should've been named "Superficial"), he definitely sold out on the albums that followed. He sounded like the guest of his own show, and his guitar wailing alongside vocal guests even became as unbearable as a baby crying or shrieking in a public place. Santana's sellout story is one for the ages that very few people mention these days.

23 U2 U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music. Throughout the group's musical pursuits, they have maintained a sound built on melodic instrumentals. Their lyrics, often embellished with spiritual imagery,... read more

U2 are the very definition of 'sellout'. They don't care what they do as long as there's a nice cheque.

Like the Bugatti Veyron. Great, just not likeable.

U2 was the biggest rock'n'roll ticket in the '80s, with many good albums and the classic The Joshua Tree. They made no compromise with Achtung Baby and the ZOO T.V. tour, and then they took a hit with Pop, which was still good but too provocative for the USA. Subsequently, they chickened out and changed into a caricature of themselves, morphing into the U2 corporation: singing for presidents (whom they made fun of in the '90s), CEOs, and other so-called elites. They produced pop tunes with censored lyrics (like how Native Son becomes the idiotic Vertigo), with a few good songs here and there. However, these were washed away, and so far from the ideals and righteousness they once stood for. The real, good songs they now just jukebox for money. This was the ultimate betrayal of the fans who made them what they were up to the end of the '90s.

24 Heart Heart is an American rock band that first found success in Canada and later in the United States and worldwide.

Heart's self-titled album was a huge sellout. I'm a fan of that album. I just don't care if the sisters hated the uncomfortable corsets they were wearing, especially Ann.

25 Avril Lavigne Avril Ramona Lavigne is a Canadian–French singer-songwriter and actress. By the age of 15, she had appeared on stage with Shania Twain; by 16, she had signed a two-album recording contract with Arista Records worth more than $2 million.

She "sold out" in the sense that her new music was a lot more pop-oriented and flamboyant, but she clearly thought she was still "pop punk" until her latest album. I see that in her second album, she was really upset about her grandfather passing away, and her following album is her somewhat trying to put that part of her life behind her. "Let Go" is my favorite album by her. If I had to say the album where she was probably closest to her actual self, without emotions that greatly impacted her music to be super downbeat or upbeat, it'd have to be "Goodbye Lullaby".

Her newest album, where her fight with Lyme disease was clearly a huge influence, shows she even seems to wear more formal, and more importantly, clothes that cover more of her. This is probably because Lyme disease is from ticks, and wearing longer clothing seems like an easy solution to try to stop ticks from getting on you.

8Load More
PSearch List