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  • Arts & Culture
  • Issue 43

The Sellout

On the moral maze of art and money.
Words by Salome Wagaine. Photograph by Picture Kitchen / Alamy.

Before he received the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” Bob Dylan, famed musical icon of the 1960s countercultural movement, worked on a campaign with lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret. The collaboration surprised many at the time, even prompting news features and articles. Could a folk-rocker walk among the angels and still retain his integrity? 

Selling out is an accusation that is only leveled at certain artists. One Direction, Cher and Stephen King are immune from such critique. The notion of a sellout relies on the belief that particular artists owe something to their audiences or wider community; something that is incompatible with certain forms of commercial success. A change in style could be considered selling out, by switching your self-penned confessional folksy ballads for a synth-heavy pop sound, for instance, or by eschewing

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This story is from Kinfolk Issue Forty-Three

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