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Selling Out and the Movies


It is already clear that I am totally against the idea of selling out and think that the Jonas Brothers have never, and may never be given a fair shot in the rock world. The simple title of “Disney,” will follow them around for the rest of their careers. They are my ultimate case study and the band that I use whenever I discuss pop music and the idea of the sell out.

During the early morning hours in Florida I woke up and turned on the television which was set to E! There are times in which their biographies are interesting so I stayed tune to see who’s was coming up. Of course it was the brothers Jonas. I will not sit here and preach the ideas that I have already spent too many hours talking about. Instead I will bring up another idea that was touched on during this documentary; the movies.

In 1964 The Beatles were pulled away from their music at the peak of their success in England. You might ask yourself why the biggest band in the England, and soon to be the world would be pulled away from music. The answer my friends are motion pictures. The Beatles starred in five full length movies, all of which helped make them the most known band in the world. They were: 

  • A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
  • Help! (1965)
  • Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
  • Yellow Submarine (1968)
  • Let It Be (1970)

Let’s take a step back for a moment and imagine this happening in todays culture. Imagine the Foo Fighters or Panic at the Disco stopping their touring and recording for a few months and filming a fictional movie (I am taking live concert movies out of this talk because of irrelevance). These bands would be ostricized by their fans, and labeled as “sell outs.” No one considers The Beatles to be a sell out group by any means, so that makes this title unfair. 

Furthermore, The Beatles were not the only group to make a movie. The Who did it, and so did Elvis Presley (multiple times). Up until now we have been dealing with hypotheticals in the Foo Fighters and Panic at the Disco. Let’s take a real life example such as, you guessed it, The Jonas Brothers. Already labeled as sell outs for their association with Disney, the Jo-Bros filmed “Camp Rock,” that came out last year (2008). 
My question to you once again is, are we holding this group and many others to a double standard. Why not put musicians into movies in order to help further their musical careers? When the Beatles did it people honored them for being creative and branching out. Almost 50 years later the story has changed and anyone attempting to synergize their success is considered a sell out or worse, a non-musician. 
I am looking forward to the onslaught of comments I expect to receive from this post and look forward to some more banter, bring it on!

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8 Legacy Comments

  • Comment by Melanie posted March 17, 2009 at 10:47

    Isn’t a “sell out” a band or person that changes their entire image and style for popularity?? I don’t consider the Jonas Brother’s sell outs. The Jonas Brothers did their things on Disney, got famous, and now they are still like they were on Disney. They’re just popular not sell outs.

  • Comment by Anonymous posted March 17, 2009 at 11:12

    I agree with Melanie, the Jonas Brothers followed the business model laid out for them. They did not change it for money, the path was already laid out for them to get their millions. Regarding the Beatles… it would be a lie to say they didn’t do it for the money. Same with Elvis and the Who. The Beatles didn’t have a “rock n roll” image to follow, they helped to popularize the rebel image, help bring it into the mainstream. That is why they didn’t have to follow the rules, they didn’t “sell out,” they found another way to get money out of their fans pockets and into theirs.

  • Comment by Greg posted March 17, 2009 at 16:35

    If you are to define a sell out as a band or person that changes their image and style for popularity then you would have to consider the jonas brothers sellouts. I argue with my sister about this constantly, trying to convince her not to listen to the mindless dribble that airs on disney, but to discover her own taste instead of one that was force feed. Anyway, my one constant bash is on the talentless garbage that the jonas brothers call music, and her one response always is that Nick Jonas had started out as a christian artist which apparently would equate to talent; so foolish. If you notice i said christian artist, not pop artist; I’m not sure but those appear to be two different STLYES of music. Now why would he do this? maybe because god no longer was his calling or maybe its the more obvious reason, THE MONEY. Its funny how you can compare them to the beatles, one point that you neglect to mention is that the beatles were innovators, where the jonas brothers are just imitators following a mold that the beatles used to get to the top instead of finding their own way.

  • Comment by Greg posted March 18, 2009 at 21:08

    apparently i made the perfect point, cause nobody wants to argue it.

  • Comment by Harris posted March 19, 2009 at 01:20

    I will step up to contend just a few points in your obnoxiously long post. The major flaw in your argument is that The Beatles are imitators. They did bring pop music into the movies but so did Elvis Presley, are we to say that The Beatles were just imitators of him? Also The Who and PInk Floyd turned out movies after the Beatles. You can’t say that The Beatles and Jonas Bros are not equal because of the innovation factor.

  • Comment by Greg posted March 19, 2009 at 08:04

    yes i can, elvis was more than just a recording artist, he was a pop culture icon and the voice of his generation, his movies weren’t just produced to bolster his music career. I mean if you wanted to you could throw out other big names that did this as well, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. They stared in movies, but it was just the culture back then, if your star was big enough you were in every media. The Who and Pink Floyd’s movies were more than just some bubble gum pop movie, they were truly films, and because of that fact they cannot be put in the same argument.

  • Comment by Anonymous posted October 14, 2009 at 16:47

    First off, to some people the Jonas Brothers songs are not DISNEY at all and surprised that Columbia would drop them before they released the 1st CD to see how will it do. They are still young and have a style that they like for now and I think wanting to grow out of. I don't know the contract details for them but I thought some of their songs on Lines, Vines, and Trying Times had more grown up songs on it. To be honest, at first I really thought they were Disney artist until I went to one of their concerts in which Avril Lavigne was their guest performer after the opening act. To be honest most of the songs they wrote themselves did not sound like Disney at all. I gave them a fair chance because the only thing at that time I knew that they weren't were a Metal Band in which I don't like because I would like to actually hear the lyrics instead of the lyrics being screamed and inaudible (to me at least). They did very good and yes they are into acting thing as well. I have seen Camp Rock and the TV show Jonas. I don't think they are exactly doing it for the money but because they want to and for the fans, though some of it anyways have to be for money but I don't think it is the main reason. As for being sell outs I don't think that is true. If you want to see a singer say she is a cell out, watch P!NK's VH1 Behind the Music and I believe she points out that she is a sell out for the first few of her albums because she had no control of them but I'm not positive on that. Anyways those are my thoughts.

  • Comment by Anonymous posted October 14, 2009 at 16:49

    I meant to spell sell instead of cell. Opps