Saturday, April 30, 2011

Selling out

When it comes to music, I tend to be a bit behind the times - like five years or more behind. I won't mention any of my favorite bands by name, but if you've been following my blog these last few months, you already know about my latest obsession (A couple of you have even been kind enough to let me rave at you about them  ;-)). This band has been together since the '90's.

Now, bear with me a moment. I promise we're heading toward EMC territory, but today we're taking the slow road.

Because I do discover bands so late in their careers, I've been able to pick up on a strange phenomenon. You might have noticed it too, but if you follow the music scene more closely than I do, your opinion about it could be different than my own. I'm talking about the way longtime fans will complain that a band has sold out if their newer music doesn't sound like their older music. Look at the message boards - or even the YouTube comments - of any band that's been popular for several years, and you'll see what I mean.

Well, okay, maybe you wouldn't find those kinds of complaints about Nickelback; but that just proves my next point, because Nickelback sucks.

And now we've arrived at the borders of EMC territory.

I consider myself a creative person. You probably know about my mind control erotica, but I have a lot of other interests - and a lot of other stories connected to those interests - floating around out there. I also dabble in art; and while I can't play any instruments or sing on key to save my life, I recognize the creativity involved in making good music. When a band sees each new album as a chance to experiment, that's a positive, regardless of whether or not I like their new sound. It's when a band keeps churning out the same shit time after time (again, see Nickelback) that I think they're selling out. In fact, in cases like that, they probably sold out before they ever picked up an instrument.

I sometimes wonder if any EMCSA readers think I've sold out. I certainly don't write the way I did back in 2002, when I first joined the website. My early stories were sometimes rewrites of fantasies I'd been running in my head for years, sometimes attempts at coming to terms with my sexual orientation, and often a bit of both.

But that was then; this is now. Today I'm more interested in trying new things with my stories, like collaborating with friends, writing from a male point of view, or even writing a cyan story.
Does that make me a sell-out? Hell, no; it makes me a creative person. If I wanted to sell out, all I'd have to do would be to write a yellow story. After all, they're the most popular pieces on the EMCSA. (Please note that I'm not disparaging all yellow stories here; it's just that M/f is a personal squick of mine).

Now let me issue a challenges to you - no, two challenges.

First, think about any bands you've criticized for "selling out" and ask yourself whether they stopped making good music, or whether they just stopped making music that floated your personal boat. If it's the former, fair enough; some bands do sell out - or just lose their touch. But if it's the latter, trust me: they really didn't sell out.They just tried an experiment you didn't like.

Now, with that in mind, let's proceed to the second challenge. Think about your favorite authors on the EMCSA and ask yourself why you keep coming back to them. Is it because you never know what they'll do next; or because you know exactly what they'll do since they always do the same thing but you happen to like it?

It's true that a creative writer (or band, or artist, etc.) will sometimes disappoint you. No experimenter has a 100% success rate; and anyway, you might consider one experiment a failure while someone else thinks it's a success. My point is that creative people have to experiment; it's in their natures. If someone churns out exactly the same product every time they go to work, they're either a manufacturer or a hack.

P.S.:  Just for the record, I didn't write this post to criticize any particular EMC writer (I don't have any individuals in mind), and I didn't write it to defend my own work (I don't know if anyone thinks I've sold out or not). The idea began with my reading complaints on YouTube about bands I like; I just transferred my thoughts to the MC world.

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