Responses: Breaking Your Band

December 4, 2008

Posted by Lynnie: …”The culture defines the threshold. The fans and the artists, together, declare their opinion about when the line is crossed.” I agree with that bit. I’m personally not a believer in ‘selling out’ – as long what the artist(s) is doing is lucrative, credible and honest, what does is matter HOW they did it?

M: “Selling Out” will always be a controversial topic, because it’s subjective. Your definition is likely different from Rihanna’s, which is unquestionably different from Pearl Jam’s. I think most artists want to “do things that are lucrative, credible, and honest” but sometimes you are forced to make decisions where those three things are at odds.

Here’s a scenario where it gets complicated: You have a single and an album you want to promote. The radio stations’ feedback isn’t good, nobody really wants to play it because they’ve never heard of you. A soft drink company is willing to pay you $50,000 to include your song on their commercial (you get money and promo). They’ll promote the song and ad, plus they’ll donate $5,000 to your favorite charity…but they expect you to let them put their logo on all of the ads and concert tickets (equal in print size to your band’s logo), and they want you to wear their logo t-shirt at 50% of your gigs, and in the ad. Tricky.

If you’ve got a good idea, maybe it does the idea a disservice to hold it to a smaller audience. But never make decisions that compromise or destroy the integrity of your idea in exchange for a larger audience. Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.




  1. Das419 on January 17, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Yeah, the whole issue of selling out is a very tricky business – something my band has had to deal with in the past – although not to the same level as your example. In the end, we decided never to let our songs be in ads.

  2. Girl_X on December 12, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Posted by akitagirl: Mike – Where do you think LP would be today if you were starting out now?

    With me, everywhere!

    Without me, nowhere!

  3. Drey on December 10, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Mike in my opinion doind some things to get money isn’t that bad. But i would never agree to that drink commericial scenario. My main thing is my friends and i are going to be recording an ep in the next couple of months. What i wanted to know is do you really need all the big recording software or can you get by with just a simple computer and mic. Because right now we just want to put something out to be discovered. Like you were saying its the artists decision about the label. But really how long does it take for a label to come to you indie or major, or do you go to them?

  4. james_K on December 8, 2008 at 2:30 am

    I’m not entirely sure if this is in the same vein, but when an artist have become so successful, it almost becomes like they are some sort of corporation. Have you ever felt this why in your time with Linkin Park?

    My main thought comes back to the new LPU CD. I’ll admit that my feelings were mixed. However, after a long discussion though, I realized that one CD that’s not really a “main” release does not merit such insane comments and disrespect towards the artist. This isn’t a CD that needed to be created in the first place, it was done so because you had wanted to. It was meant as something special. Does it feel strange when it seems like fans expect or, rather, demand something?

  5. YuN_RoCks on December 7, 2008 at 9:05 am

    wise words my friend!

  6. tpbarbosa on December 7, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Sometime ago I was really wondering it, you know? How’d be if Linkin Park were starting right now. I want to be a part of a rock band and I really don’t know where to begin with. Yep Mike you’re really right,LP was really lucky to have begun before the whole internet thing. Now it’s just to easy to promote your music and worst everyone will just get your stuff from internet. They won’t buy your albums. Linkin Park has a lot, millions of fans, and almost all of them buy their cds, cause in the beginning of the century ppl was used to it. I’d like you to answer: Do you think LP would be as sucessfull as it is today, if you had started in 2006 or even past year?

  7. Eamer on December 6, 2008 at 9:45 am

    If you were starting out in a band now which route do you think you would have taken? Also how long does you deal with warner have left and when it expires what you guy think you will do? Me and my friends starting out in rapping and we have a few songs on myspace and which is good because all family and friends tell us we are good but they obviously biased so its nice in a way to hear the critism because then you can work on it and strive to be great!

  8. ShadowerLiltani on December 5, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I agree, don’t change your band or song for money. It’s similar to my job… I personally would rather be broke than change any of my books to make money. I have to ask you though, Linkin Park re-writes songs often, for a variety of different reasons. I’ve heard In The End’s demo, and I must say, even in today’s world you cannot compare that demo to anyone else’s music. Why exactly did you re-write In The End? It just feels to me like the demo has more emotion, and real feelings from the people behind it.

  9. rockermeg on December 5, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I think that this is all really really helpful Mike buut…I’m thinking a little earlier than that(hehe)
    Me and my friend just started a band and she’s being quite picky about who we choose but I thought that because neither of us are experienced it would be better to go with someone who had talent but,you know,was just as inexperienced as us…
    How do you deal with stuff like that?? We need a bassist and possibly a vocalist…?
    So do you have any advice for a band who are litterally just starting out??????

  10. Elliot_aka_MC_Eli on December 5, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I agree with all that you say, but how do you get your band’s name out there, when you live in a small town, and maybe you don’t really want to do internet type stuff? How do you deal with skepticism from your friends and family? Did you ever have any from your folks or close friends? how did you deal with it?

  11. Shinizzle3 on December 5, 2008 at 10:19 am

    waaw, that’s so strange.. i bought hybrid theory like..5 years ago..and today i read the “thanks to..” part the first time, because i was bored^^
    wow and this “and to [your name here] thank you too”
    really touched me..i don’t know why but this is cool
    can you do this in ur next album too?

  12. sizedude on December 5, 2008 at 9:28 am

    I think a band sells out once they include corporate advertising within there actual work, like in the actual song itself but I think newer bands can afford to stretch the boundaries a bit once they reach a certain point, like you said when the fans decide the fate of the band and can cope on the finance side of things they should limit it. Others see selling out as falsely going mainstream to appeal to a much larger audience, a minority of people thought LP did with MTM a bit (not myself). I can imagine LP had to convince fans that it was a change to simply freshen things up. I think its all about honesty and making sure you treat your audience as fans and not blind money makers.

  13. werewolf_cm on December 5, 2008 at 8:11 am

    have a good day mike
    mike why you can tal with fans on messenger?
    stay well
    peace and love for everyone

  14. Gabry94LinkinParkfan23 on December 5, 2008 at 7:31 am

    wow, Mike xD have a nice day, Gabry x

  15. MayLP on December 5, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Too many words in English, it makes the text harder to understand, but I understood the main idea! 🙂
    Well, music is not like it was before [of course]…Music is just a product for sale now or just a way to make people buy others products [like soda]! hahaha
    Hum…i’ll stop ‘cuz it’s not my business…
    All I want to ask is: When you’re coming to Brazil? [South America] I’m waiting since 2004…but you only go to Europe, North America or Japan…ok…forget the rest of the world…maybe we’re all bastards for you… ¬¬’ [/ironic]

    Sorry…..I’m not in a good mood today!

  16. zahra on December 5, 2008 at 7:13 am

    WOW!!! really complicated stuff……-~~~~~ anyways who cares????!!!i hope u have a great day!!!…..bye

  17. nikolai on December 5, 2008 at 6:30 am

    im really blown away by all of this… i never tought that this was so damn complicated… but thanks to mike because he helped to shed a lot of light onto this…. it is true that the internet plays a big role in music nowadays good way to get exposed but if no one pays attention to you then u lose money(?)…. but signing with a label helps you get expositionwhich is good…

    very confusing but i would like to take my time to investigate deeper into the music biz….

  18. zimminator on December 5, 2008 at 6:25 am

    MIKE!!! i just was looking at the pictures, and something caught my eye. i clicked on the picture, and what i saw was true!!!!!!!!!!! phoenix is playing a cello!!!!!!! ahhh i wanna hear the music! hey that leads me to a question…..what is this new cd gonna sound like? will it be different from minutes to midnight, or another new sound? i like the advice you gave in thios blog, btw.

  19. Shinodabestfriend on December 5, 2008 at 5:04 am

    by mi sight, you will never be left from us… you’re something important in our lifes, and we never can foget you. and if you continue in making songs, that’s because you know that we love you and we support you. All this will stay this way like forever, if it’s for us. But remember… you have to NEVER destroy all you’ve done, as say that you willl remain Linkin Park for EVER! if you destroy this band, I don’t know what to say… I will loose all I got… because your music is something that you can’t deny to us… thanks for everything you’ve done for us and continue this way! WE LOVE YOU! THANK YOU!

  20. outlawserenade on December 5, 2008 at 3:34 am

    Didn’t see this asked, so: What was exactly FM’s sales result before the promo material changed to the one that only has your face in it?

  21. tristyn on December 5, 2008 at 12:34 am

    like what Murry said, though i may or may not go into the music business, i do find that a lot of what i read here does apply elsewhere. for example, i recently read The Tale of the Sands for my 10th grade english class, and i think the piece of wisdom that applies here is that you’ll always have to take risks and expand your comfort zone in order to reach a higher level. however, it’s important to know who you are, what you stand for, and why you got yourself into it in the first place. cuz whatever it is you’re after, you might just get it. and i just wanna say thanks, mike, for the wisdom (and my A+!) haha!

  22. ThunderStrike on December 5, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I’m actually grateful for the internet promos. Maybe it leads to less record sales, but it certainly helps in building a fan base. Except LP, I was introduced to all of my favorite bands on the net. Even though they’re not very famous and established bands, they’re awesome, and I always do my best to promote them online cause they deserve it!

  23. analoggirl on December 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    I love that you’re willing to help the next generation of Linkin Parks out there – and it piques my curiosity with respect to your own imprint label. Have you applied what you’ve learned to Machine Shop Recordings? What’s on the horizon? Also, how do you (and the rest of LP) decide on your sponsorships? Monster, MLB and Verizon are pretty diverse, but do they all have something in common – are they able to reflect your message? How do draw the line between an exclusive show for SanDisk and playing for the NYSE?

  24. murry on December 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    I thought of you and this continuing discussion today in one of my classes. This guy, Nate, was talking about something funny that happened to his band. They had been selling their album through one of those websites that provides that service. The record goes for more money, the more popular it is, and they make a cut of that. He said he Googled his band and found their album for sale on some random website for fifteen dollars, which is way more than it usually goes for.

    So, some guy is potentially making more money on making copies of Nate’s album and selling it than Nate is. How do you protect against that sort of thing without the support of a label and its many lawyers?

  25. mshinoda on December 4, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Q: “But, what if we are a solo artist making HER own music, but we’re not a dance-pop singer? We are a ROCK singer.”
    My answer: “…for everyone in between, it’s a difficult decision, one that only the artist should make.”


    Q: “what if you don’t have any options left and the only thing is that you will going to sign in a commercial to promote that product so that you will be known even if your not comfortable with!?”

    M: I don’t think that, even in that situation, it would be appropriate to do something that goes against what you believe in. Stick to your plan, or redefine what you’re comfortable with (and stick to that plan).

  26. MS_Ineedyou on December 4, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    But, what if we are a solo artist making HER own music, but we’re not a dance-pop singer ? We are a ROCK singer….
    not neccesarily rock….. meaning a voice like Amy Lee (Evanescence) but solo …. do you have any advice for that ? Because me and a lot of other people aren’t peppy pop sugar and spice . We’re rock hard core LP fans with a rock style voice trying to make it … Any advice ? You probably won’t answer, but i tried .
    —Brooke .

  27. ThePrincess on December 4, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I was in treatment my ill recovery now but when i reading Mike post today I could not keep the wish to give a little information to akitagirl and FCastro….possibly this can be useful.. I did not promote this but apparently this can help you.. apart the answer from Mike definitely…all the information if you need to move your/your band music career forward in the ‘real’ world, with or without a major label record deal in here..

    Hopefully this can help


  28. caleb_bozeman on December 4, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    thanks for responding on this topic mike but what if you never had Xero, Hybrid Theory, or Linkin Park? And you only had Fort Minor? Do you think that the internet has changed for the rap industry too?

  29. MarishkaLP on December 4, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    thanx for responds, Mike. quote you: “Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck” – do you feel uncomfortable with WB or not? it seems like you’ve paid enough for signing the agreement with this company once. maybe I’m wrong? if my suggestion is right than are you going to do something to change this situation? thanx for your attention 🙂

  30. NoMoreSorrowGirl on December 4, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    “Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.”…Mike, what if you don’t have any options left and the only thing is that you will going to sign in a commercial to promote that product so that you will be known even if your not comfortable with!?and most of the artist right now is making “music for money”…take care:)

  31. ravivandmikefan4life on December 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Wait hold on I’m confused.
    In the first question are you saying that you guys wouldve been able to make it in the music buisness or you guys would not be able to make it in the music buisness?

  32. Madlen on December 4, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    “But never make decisions that compromise or destroy the integrity of your idea in exchange for a larger audience. Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.”That’s the whole philosophy right there…but sadly some artists don’t wanna do that…for some people bigger audience and more money is more important then what they like.And that just ruins the beauty of creating art,music etc.

  33. tyrhiujn on December 4, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    hey, mike, you can’t even spell rihanna’s name correctly. but that may actually be good for you.
    i think it would be absolutely awesome if you got finished with the label and started distributing your music by yourselves. i won’t stop hoping that it actually happens some time in the future.
    and please stop discussing mike’s personal life here. i like to read the comments but reading about that makes me feel uncomfortable. i don’t care about it and i don’t know why do you guys even care.

  34. Carla on December 4, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I think I first saw “selling out” when I was 12 or so. It was on the Black Eyed Peas’ forum around the time of Elephunk. I found it funny when you mentioned that scenario because I remember a fan complained of the band being featured in a Dr.Pepper commerical and that they “sold out” then. I believe that this was from the pre-Fergie era (Behind the Front or Bridging the Gap) and I guess I can see why now. They weren’t extremely popular unlike now and unfortunately even depression ensued during their transition to Elephunk. I just hate how people still claim they sold out with Fergie. I’m sure they still want to make good music from the heart despite the decisions they had to make to survive.

  35. liope on December 4, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Indeed it’s tricky! But i think i would choose the first option!!

    Hey..this is quite irrelevant but i was listening to lpu8 songs and i think that it would be really interesting if we could hear your voice and Chester’s on a cartoon movie!! Of course you can’t knock the door of an cartoon movie’s manager and say “hey i want to give a shot!” but you can still make one small cartoon movie on your own!! So..what you think?? 🙂

  36. Hybr1d_7h3ory on December 4, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Those were some really good questions, and once again very good responses from you Mike. As much as I love you guys right now, I eagerly await when you are no longer under a major label and get to use all of your artistic license to make some killer albums.

    Catcha later Mike…Hybr1d_7h3ory

  37. sterilepoon on December 4, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Another interesting lesson by Professor Shinoda~

  38. durg on December 4, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    “Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.”
    agreed x10000.

  39. Mikeshi_Linkfort on December 4, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Mike! And what means next Linkin Park?

  40. Lynnie on December 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I had to respond to that here: My Response to Mike’s Response to My Response to Mike’s Blog
    I know you probably won’t read it (and I already know you won’t comment) – but, just in case, that’s my response to your response to me, here!

    And finally: I hate you for responding to me! I saw that and actually squealed – my flatmates wondered what was up! Apparently I sounded somewhat girly… and I’m not a girly girl! I’ll never forgive you for that! Lol.

    Edit: linkinladie328 – if you already know it’s not your business, why ask? It’s not relevant to this post!

  41. Sintia on December 4, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    “But never make decisions that compromise or destroy the integrity of your idea in exchange for a larger audience. Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.” I agree with you on that statement. There are bands and artists out there that tend to lose their true selves. They end up getting caught up by trying to make a quick buck. I know that there are artists out there that does grow and tend to try or go a different direction but as for the ones that just do what their marketing,labels, etc tell them to do is not being true to themselves or to their music.

  42. Chemist999 on December 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Speaking of favourite charities, we’ve not heard about your scholarship organization for a while. Though it certainly can’t be described as a classical charity, I’m sure a lot of us would love to find something more about it and it’s recent accomplishments. 😉

  43. miKer0cks on December 4, 2008 at 11:48 am

    ”But never make decisions that compromise or destroy the integrity of your idea in exchange for a larger audience. Don’t turn your band or song into something you’re uncomfortable with in order to make a buck.” I absolutely agree!!! That’s why I love LP…You don’t care about money 🙂 You want to have fun on tour, be in touch with us (your fans) and most importand be yourselves and write music that inspire you and mean something to you 🙂

    I have a question for you Mike…Two actually 😛 1.I need a tip on drawing…How can I make a painting be more shiny? Should I use glue? and 2. When does LPU 8 comes out? I though it was today and I really want to join 😀 The songs are so awesome!!!

  44. Trenskinoda on December 4, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Hi Mike, I used to be a singer in our band. I always wanted to sing rock, but our band wanted to get noticed so we were covering a lot of pop songs. (That was 15 years ago) It frustrated me that we had to follow a certain norm back then. It was like, “play this and I will hire you” or “go do this” and we’ll sponsor you. We kept telling ourselves that once we hit it big we’ll shift to the genre that we wanted. But in the end, frustration just ruled over me. I feel that, teenagers today are very lucky because they can share their talent in the internet. They don’t need to sing what they have to but what they want to. They can be discovered the way Arnel Pineda was by Journey.

  45. linkinladie328 on December 4, 2008 at 11:40 am

    is anna pregnant? i know random and really none of my business, but i just read something from chester’s new search engine…there was a link to babies r us registry with your names, it’s a boy, due 2/10/09

    fact or hoax?


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