Kid Rock had some choice words for Entertainment Weekly regarding his pal Steven Tyler's new gig as a permanent judge on American Idol:
I think it’s the stupidest thing he’s ever done in his life. He's a sacred American institution of rock 'n' roll, and he just threw it all out the window. Just stomped on it and set it fire.
Ouch. That's got to hit a rocker right where it hurts.
Kid Rock may have a point, but what exactly is selling out? And in this day and age, who hasn't?
In the good old days of down and dirty rock 'n' roll, a truly hip band would have died before they'd hawk a product or sit in as judge on a pop music program.
But that was then and this is now. The truth is that many artists regularly use commercials as marketing tools (or out-and-out profit centers), and the line between artistry and commerce is currently thin at best.
Young musicians are now deliberately partnering up with brands. Converse, the sneaker company, is opening a full-fledged studio dedicated to recording new artists.
Are these brand-as-patron projects a form of selling out? While the tracks laid down aren't officially intended to be used in ads, Converse clearly wants to glom on to the hip factor associated with the youngins, a kind of sneaker street cred. And as for the kids using the studio, who can blame a struggling band for wanting to get their stuff recorded?
And the oldsters? Bob Dylan did a Victoria's Secret commercial. Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons starred in reality shows. Iggy Pop sells car insurance and John Lydon of the Sex Pistols shilled for Country Life butter.
And Kid Rock himself is no stranger to the Man. A two-year partnership with Jim Beam elicited criticism from fans, to which he responded: "I’m getting paid to drink whiskey. What part of that is selling out?”
For that matter, what part of judging a music talent show is selling out?
Do you think Steven Tyler sold out?
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