Last week, The Chainsmokers took to television and appeared on the 13th season of American Idol where they played their viral hit ‘Selfie’ while doing what you would expect: taking selfies with the crowd and judges (really though, given the format of the show, there’s not much else any DJ could do).
Prior to the show the duo tweeted to fans, remarking on how silly they knew it could (or would) be. During the show, host Ryan Seacrest even looked a little unsure of everything.
If you want to see us make total asses of ourselves tonight on American Idol tune in at 8 on Fox we will be making embarrassing TCS history
— The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 14, 2014
Post Performance the reaction was fairly quiet, certainly nothing newsworthy going either way. However at the time of writing this article, 6 days later, artists have taken to twitter to lambast the act and call the duo out as sellouts while some have gone further to state how commercial it makes EDM look.
A great deal of the criticism has come from those who are hard at work in the studio or about to release albums, so seeing these two out-and-about doing stuff like this might look they’re sitting pretty on easily attained success.
Ladies n gentlemen, this is what happens if you don’t say “no” to your management: https://t.co/XbOVJTGOT1 #LOL
— Knife Party (@knifepartyinc) May 20, 2014
if you only care about “making it”, if you take every shitty commerical opportunity, this is what you end up doing: https://t.co/o0rzb5OutD — 【＝◈︿◈＝】ｐｏｒｔｅｒ (@porterrobinson) May 20, 2014
you cannot make every sell-out-y, devoid-of-integrity decision just for the money and then claim you’re being mistreated. — 【＝◈︿◈＝】ｐｏｒｔｅｒ (@porterrobinson) May 20, 2014
Some a bit cheekier than others.
.@TheChainsmokers who in your mgmt team let you do that?? — Mat Zo (@Mat_Zo_MRSA) May 20, 2014
The only thing @TheChainsmokers and pop EDM have in common is probably cancer.
— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) May 20, 2014
The NYC duo noted their ‘sell-out’ situation through a mini Twitter rant and attempted to debunk the “sellout” accusations. Their rise to fame has been unprecedentedly fast, and no jump like this takes a gold paved road filled with ideal situations and perfect decisions. There has been a struggle between artists and “the men in suits” (or with the deep pockets) for quite a long time and there are stark conflicts of interest; as the pot of money grows these conflicting goals have become even more of an issue. So do they deserve this level of backlash, especially considering their own trepidation about the whole scenario? It’s unfair to jump to a conclusion and deem somebody without understanding the entirety of what went on behind the scenes. Given the explosion of the EDM scene, and the inevitable commercialization that goes with it, the term “sell out” can be tacked onto anything that appears ‘fake’ or ‘greedy’ (things that diminish the integrity of the community). It’s a term that’s been sensationalized and it’s great for stirring the pot, but it carries great weight and feels like a low-blow or pot-shot.
What about the artists that have been doing commercials for companies like Bud Light or Heineken? Is this selling out? They aren’t promoting their music, it’s pretty much only to make money. What about big room house and whatever is being peddled as progressive house in general these days? What about “EDM” as a whole, compared to the more underground/house scene in Europe? In some regard, couldn’t we spin everything that has happened in the past few years in American EDM as “selling out”? The responses to this whole fiasco may be directed towards the wrong people. The guys on screen are easy to target and now the community is cannibalizing itself; this should serve more as a moment for producers and performers to come together, look at the bigger picture, and make movements against the power structure that labels/managers/agents seem to have.
It’s so crazy watching other ppl attack artists claiming they sold out. Do you even know what that means to sell out — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
Does anyone realize how hard it is to make a dollar in music let alone a living off of it — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
Ppl should chill and not tear down artists who on some level have found that type of financial success. — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
There is most certainly a fine line but ppl need to relax. Quality music is quality music if money changes you then move on to someone else — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
It’s so easy to look and the negative that no one eve bothers to think of the positive anymore… It’s easier just to throw stones — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
Take a page from bob and don’t worry be happy and sit back and enjoy the show — The Chainsmokers (@TheChainsmokers) May 20, 2014
We all know the Chainsmokers are capable of producing quality music that pushes their genre and industry forward, because they have in the past and they still are now. ‘Selfie’ was an ingenious “springboard” of a track, that has put them in a spotlight they may or may not have been ready for, and it’s being milked behind the scenes because it is an undeniable cash cow. They aren’t the first to deal with this kind of attention, nor will they be the last. Hats off to Drew and Alex for doing what they’re doing.