Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Bigger Sellout

Trying to get my head around the politics of Selling Out. It's so hard. Dylan's a sell out, right? Everybody knows. After recording his whole career for a small independent record label, embracing the spokesman of a generation mantle for decades, eschewing the decadent rock and roll life in favour of Political and Artistic Purity, he suddenly and without warning turned his back on it all and sold his soul to S(a)ta(n)rbucks. That's simple, that I get. Financially good = artistically bad.

I admit a little doubt crept in when I read HMV in Canada had removed all Dylan's records from their shops in protest at the exclusivity of the deal. But .... Financially bad = morally good. ???/?Confusion boats! But then I read Dylan's sales had surged recently, so his pound of flesh was paying off after all. And I was content again. Sell out.

But compared to those notoriously rapacious hoods, the Rolling $tones, Bob looks like Jello Biafra. They're smart, you see. Positively Rovian in their Machiavellian plots to Make More Money. Not for them Dylan's touching commercial naiveté:

Rather than giving any outlet first dibs on the release, Rarities 1971-2003 will hit coffee shops and traditional record stores simultaneously on Nov. 22, thereby avoiding any backlash toward the band from slighted retailers.

So, by comparison Bob climbs a few points back up in the Non Sell Out Index, but he's still got a long way back.

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