Musicians Past and Present on the Idea of “Selling Out”

There’s been quite a bit of discussion online about an interview Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy gave to the Chicago Grid earlier this week. Specifically, Tweedy discussed the fact that he licensed four of his songs to Volkswagen for a series of commercials, and the inevitable accusations of “selling out” that followed. Tweedy was unrepentant, arguing that “the idea of selling out is only understandable to people of privilege.” It’s always interesting to read what artists think about the whole idea of selling out, given that it’s something that fans seem the need to discuss ad infinitum. Here are some other perspectives from over the years.

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Kevin Barnes, of Montreal

“I like producing and purchasing things. I’d much rather go to IKEA than to stand in some bread line. That’s because I don’t have to stand in a bread line. Most people who throw around terms like ‘sellout’ don’t have to stand in one either. They don’t have to stand in one because they are gainfully employed. The term ‘sellout’ only exists in the lexicon of the over-privileged.”

After an of Montreal song was used in an Outback Steakhouse ad, via