Glastonbury: how to sell out without ‘selling out’

It seems like each year there is contention over Glastonbury line-ups, and especially over its Pyramid Stage main events. Metallica (2014) were excessively metal, Jay-Z (2008) was too hip-bounce, Beyoncé, Coldplay and U2 (2011) were excessively pop, tasteless and charge keeping away from separately, and now Kanye West (2015) is, as indicated by a new appeal, deficiently rock to be Worthy of Pilton’s fields.

For each situation the downers appear to challenge the most exceedingly terrible sin in famous music – that of “selling out”. However, what, precisely, does this mean, and for what reason does it apply to certain demonstrations yet not others?

Maybe it alludes to specialists who sell a huge number of chronicles, get overall airplay and pack out colossal scenes. Kanye West, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are liable as charged, yet this definition would similarly apply to past main events like David Bowie, Van Morrison, Neil Young and Arctic Monkeys. Is it about validness or independence? The entirety of the above specialists compose (or co-compose) their own material, however they likewise all utilization extra makers, and disperse their items through huge global organizations like Walmart, Spotify or Apple/iTunes.

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White, male and real?

Verifiably, the lion’s share of Glastonbury main events have been male, white, and conveyed guitars. This is, maybe, a tradition of the celebration’s 1970s and 1980s roots, where early main events, for example, T-Rex and Hawkwind represented stone as nonconformity. In any case, that was quite a while past, and in 2015 it appears to be noteworthy that Florence and the Machine address the first British female-fronted feature act in quite a while, and just the 6th in the celebration’s 45-year history.

In those early days, even paying for melodic diversion could be a test for the nonconformity. Joni Mitchell’s Isle of Wight 1970 execution was broadly hindered by a nonconformist named “Yogi Joe” who pronounced himself “top of the authority board of trustees to paint the fence imperceptible”. Yet, today, when premium convenience costs more than £5,000, and shoppers request a 4G association with the essential corporate organization, does anybody actually accept that going to a concert addresses a nonconformist assertion?

On the off chance that rock could possibly do represent a certifiable danger to enormous enterprises (and it’s hard to track down any proof for this), today it not just coincides with private enterprise, it can just endure as a result of it. What’s more, this can really uphold non-corporate qualities and causes. Michael and Emily Eavis keep on utilizing Glastonbury’s net revenue to make significant altruistic gifts to helpful and ecological associations like Water Aid, Oxfam and Greenpeace.


The allegation of selling out is self-aggrandising. It recommends that the basic judgment of the informer is more refined than that of the majority. Adherents of effective groups are characterized as robots – unsophisticated sheep that follow the way of the marketeers descending towards the most minimized shared factor.

On the off chance that the music needs “edge” (whatever that is) or gives indications of showbiz values, genuine adherents have their proof – albeit some of the time such a presentation is so remarkably acceptable that it softens the hardest of hearts, as Beyoncé demonstrated in 2011. More established standard demonstrations, for example, Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Neil Diamond and Dolly Parton frequently figure out how to rise above cool and clear the group along, in spite of the fact that I would contend that this is less because of retro postmodernism than remarkable songwriting make.

Yet, in the event that these prepared performers can win the day through smooth showmanship and suffering hits, a few fans esteem haziness over fame so much that they don’t have to hear any music. This was magnificently featured in 2013 by Jimmy Kimmel’s sting activity at Coachella, where questioners got some information about different new groups. Interviewees energetically embraced craftsmen like Dr Schlomo and the GI Clinic, Shorty Jizzle and the Plumbercrocks, Get The Fuck Out of My Pool, The Chelsea Clintons and Regis and the Philbins, not realizing that Kimmel’s group had designed all the band names. The idea of market shortage, taken to this social limit, makes esteem in specialists that are, as Kimmel put it, “so dark that they don’t exist”.

Coachella – Lie Witness News (Jimmy Kimmel)

Natural selection

Mainstream music and free enterprise have consistently been uncomfortable and rather befuddled associates. From one perspective, without buyer retail (of singles, collections, tickets, downloads or streams), there would be no pay for specialists and thusly no item. On the other, the music is pointed principally at youngsters and youthful grown-ups, a period of life when a large number of us stir to the possibility of nonconformities. In the (much reworded) expressions of French executive François Guizot (1787–1874): “Not to be a conservative at 20 is verification of need of heart; to be one at 30 is confirmation of need of head.”

The actual music is a relaxation item, planned (or if nothing else picked) to space genuinely into our lives, regardless of whether we be moving, reflecting, driving, falling head over heels, going to the rec center or getting stoned. What’s more, no one is safe to the market; where there are individuals who challenge the “sell-outs”, somebody will sell them an item that suits that perspective. In the event that we tune in to music we are shoppers; where there are purchasers, there is a market. Glastonbury itself accommodates each segment – in the event that you don’t care for the standard stuff, there’s a more modest tent for you, its ability and melodic substance consummately decided by request.

As far as I might be concerned, as a deep rooted popular music fan and a social Darwinist, I’ve generally been lively about that certain modifier “well known”. A huge fan base is a hive mind, something like Wikipedia; it has checked current realities, concurred on an aggregate view – and afterward fairly sifted through the garbage (for this situation, the powerless melodies and the exhausting craftsmen). On the off chance that you need to hear a new craftsman’s best work, look at their main five Spotify track streams.

I have contended that the well known tune sounds the manner in which it does through what Richard Dawkins calls memetic social transmission. Normal determination and market influences might be straightforwardly answerable for the music that talks most viably to our aggregate human soul. In the event that this biological system benefits from cash, we should not remove the food supply. Glastonbury will consistently sell out.