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Pop goes the sell-out: How rockers, rappers and pop stars learned to stop worrying and love the brand

March 5, 2010 |  2:31 pm

Sure, pop stars, rockers and rappers are faced with some troubling commercial realities these days: plummeting album sales, diminished opportunities for commercial airplay, rampant Information Age bootlegging and a wildly oversaturated musical marketplace.

But at least they don’t have to worry about a certain bugbear that caused previous generations of performers untold sleepless nights. Acts from the bottom to the pinnacle of the pop strata no longer have to worry about losing their integrity by selling out.

As laid out by this story, which appears in Sunday’s Calendar section, selling out is no longer possible – at least within certain time-honored notions of that term. These days, hip-hoppers, rock stars and pop acts are lending their music and images to a variety of branded products and services in ways that would have been beyond antithetical in, say, the Woodstock era, the punk rock '70s or the slacker-era '90s.

With this in mind, herewith, Chris Brown’s “Forever” – a.k.a. the most successful gum jingle in the history of recorded music:

And here's another version of the song in its unadulterated, purely commercial form:

Read the story: This music is sponsored by ... 

-- Chris Lee

Photo: Nemiroff vodka in Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video. Credit: Ladygaga.com