->''"Sell out, with me oh yeah''
->''Sell out, with me tonight''
->''The record company's gonna give me lots of money''
->''And everything's gonna be alright."''
-->-- '''Music/ReelBigFish'''

When you succeed, do you obtain your success without sacrificing your integrity, or does it come about via your skills at sucking up, only doing it for the money, or a number of things that involve selling your soul, either literally or metaphorically?

This is what the kids these days refer to as a Sellout, which is probably one of the most subjective traits in existence. In essence, you could choose to go a certain route and feel you're doing the right thing, and there will always be one person who felt you gave up a little part of yourself to obtain your goal.

Given the contentious nature of the term, there is no completely agreed upon definition of "selling out", but the one that seems to hold the most usage is "compromising your integrity for monetary gain" (usually artistic integrity, although there are other situations in which the accusation is thrown about) and that there are degrees of selling out (From "Sure, I have to make a [[SillyLoveSongs Silly Love Song]] to make the rent, but I'm going to make the best Silly Love Song I can" at the lower end to "What's popular right now? Let's put in the minimal effort to cash in on that." at the higher end).

See MoneyDearBoy for a cases of writers, performance and such admitting money is their main motivation and OnlyInItForTheMoney for characters.


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HiHiPuffyAmiYumi'' #2 (DC Comics) had "Puffy Ami Yumi Sell Out." With concert revenues on the decline, the girls agree with Kaz to have their names and likenesses appear on merchandise. It all goes well until they see their names and faces on bags of kitty litter. The girls get even--they have Kaz on rolls of "Shiny Heiney Toilet Paper."
* In ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'', Ramona's second evil-ex, Lucas Lee, is a professional skateboarder turned actor and he is recurringly called a sell-out. This appears to be the main reason he's considered evil, but otherwise he seems nice. However, being called a sell-out is his BerserkButton. Though a little bit of it is hinted at when he says he'll spare Scott a fight if Scott gives him all his money. Scott calls him this and the fight resumes.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Sandro from ''Film/LAvventura'' admits that he is the one. He long ago lost his integrity creating designs for the rich but tasteless clients. He completely quits his high hopes.

* ''Literature/TheDayOfTheLocust'' protagonist Tod Hackett is accused of selling out by his Yale School of Fine Arts classmates after accepting a job as set and production designer at a Hollywood studio, as they are convinced he will never paint again if he chooses to chase the almighty dollar instead. However, his interest in painting was fading in his last year at Yale, and moving to Hollywood actually recharges his creative batteries.

* Take any artist or band who started out as an underground act and who suddenly change to a more [[LighterAndSofter consumer friendly sound]], have a BlackSheepHit, cash in on a trend or just reach a larger crowd than before. Without exception several old-time fans will accuse them of having "sold out".
* It's hard to tell when Music/LinkinPark sold out, but by the time ''One More Light'' was released, the electro-pop sounded nothing at all like their nu-metal roots.
* Music/JohnLennon famously said about Music/ElvisPresley: "He died when he went in the army." What Lennon meant with this was that after Elvis joined the army in 1958 his raw RockAndRoll sound was left in favor for more sappy pop tunes, increasingly embarrassing Hollywood musicals, eventually degrading into the blobby Las Vegas act he became by the end of the 1960s. Elvis tried to return to his roots with the excellent ''Music/ElvisNBCTVSpecial'' and ''Music/FromElvisInMemphis'', but these comebacks were brief.
* Music/BobDylan was accused of selling out when he abandoned his acoustic FolkMusic sound and suddenly started playing the electric guitar.
* Music/TheWho played with this trope on their album ''Music/TheWhoSellOut'', where the cover and the songs imitate a commercial advertisement and a fake radio show.
* Music/CaptainBeefheart alienated his AvantGardeMusic fans by making two pathetic and desperate attempts at commercializing his sound: ''Music/UnconditionallyGuaranteed'' and ''Music/BluejeansAndMoonbeams''. It even failed to attract the mainstream crowd and he later regarded them as an OldShame.
* Music/SidVicious started off as a cool audacious PunkRock musician, but after Music/SexPistols split he was promoted as the new marketable punk star. Music/JohnLydon felt his friend was being exploited into yet "another ridiculous rock star". It didn't help that Vicious was drunk and high most of the time and didn't care too much about his public image.
** Ironically even Music/JohnLydon fell more into this trap from the 1990s on. He reunited the Music/SexPistols in 1996, but wholeheartedly admitted it was pure for the money. Appearing as a TV presenter or an interviewee in a lot of shows and making commercials for butter in the 2000s didn't diminish these accusations either.
* Music/KurtCobain also lived in fear of being perceived as a sell-out. While he wanted to become successful the explosive popularity of ''Music/{{Nevermind}}'' in the charts was not what he had in mind at all. Suddenly his music was played by the same kind of poseurs he hated. He tried to keep their sound as alienating as possible, even making ''Music/InUtero'' purposefully dark and less slick.
* {{Music/Chumbawamba}} ingeniously subverted this trope not once, but twice. The first time, they signed with EMI and released an intentionally pop-oriented album, ''Tubthumper'' (earning a OneHitWonder status with "Tubthumping" in the process and proudly lampshading it for the rest of their career) just to mess around with their new "fans" and completely piss off the label before inevitably getting kicked out. A couple of years later, GM gave Chumbawamba $10,000 for a Pontiac Vibe commercial. Chumbawamba turned that into a donation to Indymedia and [=CorpWatch=] who used the money to start an information and environmental campaign against GM.
* As depicted in the documentary ''Film/{{Dig}}!'', Anton Newcombe of Music/TheBrianJonestownMassacre was violently opposed to "selling out." The fact that his friend Courtney Taylor-Taylor's band Music/TheDandyWarhols achieved some measure of mainstream success drove a wedge between the two of them.
* {{Music/Tool}}'s song "Hooker With A Penis" is about exactly this accusation. To quote from the chorus:
--> ''I sold out long before you ever heard my name''
--> ''I sold my soul to make a record, Dip shit''
--> ''And you bought one''

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This was {{the gimmick}} of The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase. "Everybody's got a price. Everyone's got to pay. Because the Million Dollar Man, always gets his what. [[EvilLaugh Muhahahaha]]!" However, he could never buyout Wrestling/HulkHogan.
* In 1997, Wrestling/RobVanDam showed up on Monday Night Raw, supposedly to promote an Wrestling/{{ECW}} Pay Per View, leading the rest of the ECW locker room to suspect he had really sold out to the WWF.
* Wrestling/MikeAwesome was long called a sellout by the mutants for leaving Wrestling/{{ECW}} for Wrestling/{{WCW}} while he was still ECW's Heavyweight Champion.
* Wrestling/MickFoley got chants of "You sold out!" when he left ECW for The WWF.
-->" I have a feeling that a year from now, I'm going to have to look in the mirror and admit in my heart that I sold out...I sold out the Garden, I sold out the Coliseum, I sold out every damn arena in this country!"
* Stevie Ray felt that Wrestling/BookerT had become a sellout during their time in WCW. They both were in WCW, but Stevie Ray still found time to visit his friends from beforehand while Booker T had gotten into his head that he was too good for that now, or so Stevie Ray claimed. This lead to Booker T being kicked out of "Harlem Heat Inc".
* The attitude era came to an end when Wrestling/StoneColdSteveAustin sold out to ArchNemesis Wrestling/VinceMcMahon.
* Wrestling/BrockLesnar was greeted with chants of "You Sold Out" at Wrestlemania XX for leaving WWE to go play football in the NFL. While its possible Brock could have made more money in the NFL, he was actually leaving for a smaller pay check.
* Wrestling/{{Carl|ito Colon}}y Colon was called a sellout in Puerto Rico, particularly in WWC where he worked, for signing a developmental deal with WWE. However, people quickly warmed up to the idea as he continued to show up in WWC even after he made it to WWE's active roster. His WWE persona eventually completely overwrote his original WWC one.
* CM Punk berated Jimmy Rave for going against all his advice and selling out to Prince Nana in 2005.
* Wrestling/CMPunk was accused of being a sellout when he won the Ring Of Honor World Title and announced his intentions to take it to WWE before signing his WWE contract on top of the belt.
* In a ShockingSwerve, Wrestling/SamoaJoe sold out to the Main Event Mafia, who it turned out had just gotten Reality Show Survivor contestant Jenna Morasca on their side and used her winnings from the show to placate him. Morsca would also buyout [[Wrestling/KiaStevens Awesome Kong]], though it would be short lived, [[TooDumbToLive as she thought she could get away with hitting Kong now that she was being paid.]]
* Wrestling/GailKim was called a sellout off set by some in TNA for agreeing to resign with WWE. She was still presented in a respectable manner during the shows though.
* Portia Perez called Serena Deeb a sellout after Deeb stopped wrestling for Wrestling/{{SHIMMER}} following OVW's replacement with FCW as WWE developmental. This was all out of Deeb's control of course and she returned to SHIMMER after WWE terminated her contract, but Perez still managed to turn a few others against Deeb.
* [[Wrestling/SethRollins Tyler Black/Seth Rollins]] sold out to Jim Jesus at the expense of his long time partner Marek Brave in All American Wrestling and was accused of being a sellout in Wrestling/RingOfHonor when he signed a deal with Wrestling/{{WWE}}, which prompted him to threaten to take the Ring Of Honor World Title with him. Once in WWE he would sellout to the authority at the expense of Wrestling/DeanAmbrose and Wrestling/RomanReigns and was again called out on it.
* Nevaeh called [[Wrestling/MadisonRayne Ashley Lane]] a traitor on the grounds she left ROH and SHIMMER to go wrestle for TNA.
* Abyss was called a sellout after he joined up with the TNA World Champion Magnus, the figurehead of the Carter's "Dixie Land" [[PowerStable stable]].
* Wrestling/{{Kane}}, in something of a ShockingSwerve, sold out to Wrestling/TheAuthority because he thought ruining people's lives was ultimately best for business. (It makes as much sense as anything else he does except for the fact he was in an unresolved feud with Wrestling/TheWyattFamily and just cut it short to go pal with Wrestling/StephanieMcMahon)
* Wrestling/{{Rhyno}} has sold out fellow ECW Alumni to the {{bad boss}}es of Wrestling/{{TNA}} twice. The first time he even admitted it, the second time he claimed to have other reasons but [[Wrestling/EC3 Ethan Carter the third]] cut all pretenses and told Wrestling/TommyDreamer and [[Wrestling/TheDudleyBoys Team 3D]] he was paying Rhino.
* Wrestling/JimmyJacobs, Wrestling/RoderickStrong and BJ Whitmer developing this opinion towards everyone who was celebrated as they left Ring Of Honor for a larger company lead to the foundation of Decade. Targets include The American Wolves, [[Wrestling/ChristopherDaniels The]] [[Wrestling/FrankieKazarian Addiction]] and Wrestling/AJStyles.
* Wrestling/{{M|ontelVontaviousPorter}}VP was greeted by chants of "You Sold Out" after he revealed he was going to use his position as TNA's Director Of Wrestling Operations to give himself a shot for TNA's World Heavyweight Title. He answered the chants in a manner similar to Mick Foley, except MVP claimed he had already sold out arenas all over the world, including the one he was currently in.
* Tommy Dreamer called Kenny King a sellout for being billed from Las Vegas Nevada when he's really from Queens New York.

* Reggie White, a legendary [[NFL/UsefulNotes NFL]] players used to play for the Eagles. He was a lead sacker for the defense. Yet in the 90s, he left to join Green Bay. Unfortunately the Eagles haven't yet won a Super Bowl as of 2017, while Green Bay won 2 Super Bowls after Reggie switched over. To [[AddingInsulttoInjury]], Green Bay defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in the rout to their 2010-2011 season Super Bowl.

* Shaquille O'Neal, otherwise known as Shaq is a 90s example. He used to play for Orlando Magic. Took the team to the NBA Finals where they lost. But in 1996, he moved to the bigger city team Los Angeles Lakers. Obviously the more than $120 million contract they gave him had something to do with it. Yet Magic fans dislike this move as he left a then blossoming team for its more successful counterpart in So Cal.

* In 2010, there was [[UsefulNotes/LeBronJames Lebron James]] of Cleveland Cavaliers fame. He was a top player alongside Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and several others. Won the NBA MVP in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. Yet he couldn't win a championship in Cleveland, the city which had a [[StrawLoser]] reputation back in that year. So he moved to play for the Miami Heat. He joined forces with Dwanye Wade and Chris Bosh. They won 2 championships in the city. But to [[MustMakeAmends make amends]] with his former team, he rejoined in 2014. They then won the NBA Finals in an [[DavidVersusGoliath upset]] over the Warriors who went 73-9, a records as of 2017 and beat them in the warrior's arena. Lebron was then forgiven by Cleveland for giving them their first city big 4 championship since 1964.

* Brett Favre, known for his womanizer habits and winning the most games by a QB in league history. He played for many years with Green Bay. The city was rejuvenated with his excellent play and a Super Bowl victory, followed by a Super Bowl appearance in the mid-90s. People thought he would retire after the 2007-2008 season and would appear on the [[MaddenNFL]] cover. However, he then announced he would go to the New York Jets, basically meaning he went from Green Bay, which has the lowest urban population of any current NFL team to New York, the biggest city in America. The media market there was huge. But he then left the Jets to join Minnesota Vikings, the rival of Green Bay. This was a [[HeelFaceTurn great thing]] for Minnesota fans and a [[FaceHeelTurn horrible thing]] for Packers fans.

* The Cleveland Browns were successful in the 80s, going to 2 AFC championship games, though losing both times. Fans packed Cleveland Stadium in the 80s through 90s. This was due to their successful Midwestern team. This case, however, is not of a player, but of an owner. Art Modell, the then Browns owner moved the team to Baltimore. [[JerkassHasAPoint While Baltimore did lose the Colts earlier and putting a team there would placate its suffering fans who only had the Orioles to watch]], the move was criticized as he took a rich team with history, instead of creating an expansion franchise in Baltimore itself. So the team moved to Maryland and won 2 Super Bowls in the 21st century. Al Lerner, a credit card businessman, rebooted the Cleveland team. While Modell is revered in Baltimore for the return of Football there, he is among the most reviled people in Cleveland even after his 2012 death.

* Marcus Allen, a Hall of Fame running back. He was successful in the esteemed Los Angeles Raiders backfield. Earlier years in his career were with [[WhatCouldHaveBeen/{{Sports}} the famously injured Bo Jackson]]. Bo may have made the Hall of Fame if he wasn't injured against the Bengals and become the 9th Heisman winner to make the professional hall.

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* Creator/PattonOswalt had a routine about becoming a sell-out on his album ''Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time''. Patton describes how he used to think that "selling out" was something you only ever had to decide once, but he changed his mind as he got further in his career. The turning point was when he was invited to perform at a casino for a "sacrilegious" amount of money, and he accepted, only for the crowd he was performing for to be so drunk that they just shouted Patton's career at him, without Patton getting the chance to tell a single joke. After the set, the casino offered him the chance to do it every weekend, so the temptation to become a "corporate whore" for them is always there.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is a core theme of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird''. By this point in the series, the 3rd Street Saints have full control of the city of Stillwater, its members are celebrities (except for [[NoRespectGuy Pierce]], [[ButtMonkey but who cares about Pierce?]]), and the gang is a global multimedia franchise complete with Planet Saints stores, comic books, movie deals, bobbleheads, and horrible Saints Flow energy drinks. When TheSyndicate gives them their first real setback in years, veteran Saints like Johnny Gat complain how the gang "traded in our dicks for pussies," and throughout the game [[PlayerCharacter The Boss]] is forced to make decisions such as whether to destroy an enemy stronghold to gain Respect and avenge a fallen comrade, or capture it for additional income. The final mission boils down to a SadisticChoice between saving the Boss' friends and letting an enemy escape, then working with him to act in a cheesy sci-fi 'flick, or pursuing and killing him for the sake of revenge, proving that the Saints still know how to be ruthless gangsters.
** Players who chose the latter path might be disappointed by the sequel - the prologue of ''VideoGame/SaintsRowIV'' [[CuttingOffTheBranches explains that]] the Boss gave the gang a new direction: "more fun, less [[TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch 'mercy killings.'"]] This attitude combined with foiling a terrorist attack ends with the Boss ''elected President of the United States''.
* The ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAuto'' games have Samantha Muldoon, who we are introduced to in [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV the fourth game]] as a pop singer based on Music/{{Madonna}} who's famous for adopting African children. Following a CreatorBreakdown, however, [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV the fifth game]] reveals through an interview on [[Radio/GTARadio Blaine County Talk Radio]] that she's reinvented herself as a CountryMusic artist, adopting a fake Southern accent, right-wing politics, and blatant corporate sponsorship of her [[BlandNameProduct Bleeter]] account so as to better appeal to the older white demographic that "[[ConspicuousConsumption doesn't save money and buys all kinds of superfluous stuff]] and [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil doesn't have a clue what downloading is]]" -- all while [[HypocriticalHumor lambasting "shallow and petty" liberals who "won't stick by their convictions"]].

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Parodied in [[http://www.loadingartist.com/comic/social-marketing/ Social Marketing]] from ''Webcomic/LoadingArtist''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the ''WebAnimation/StrongBadEmail'' [[Recap/StrongBadEmailE136GeddupNoise "geddup noise"]], it's revealed that the "Geddup Noise" that plays when Strong Bad gets out of the stool in front of his computer [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext "got all big overseas" and became an overnight sensation]], with appearances ([[InvisibleCelebrityGuest so to speak]]) on TV and radio and "the odd, or sometimes ''very'' odd celebrity endorsement".
-->'''Strong Sad:''' (''after the Geddup Noise does a commercial for "Hamburger Shampoo"'') Frickin' sell-out.
* Though they've never actually played it straight themselves, the ''WebOriginal/GameGrumps'' have had their fair share of fun playing with the concept:
** They often jokingly proposition themselves to companies after praising or insulting their products, offering to continue praising or cease insulting said products in exchange for money, all the while making it very clear they're willing to say or do just about anything in exchange for some cold, hard, delicious cash.
** They once suffered fierce InternetBacklash after their [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zP7W-f3JVs playthrough]] of ''[[VideoGame/{{Trials}} Trials Fusion]]'' inexplicably had a Wendy's ad in the corner. It turns out what had actually happened was their product key was visible in the corner and they didn't realize it after the fact, so they had Barry "cover it up with a burger". Cue mostly negative votes on the video and outrage over a false advertisement for a deal that wasn't even being offered anymore.
** Arin even makes fun of this in some of his paid promotions, where the commercial itself will be him gleefully praising a service such as Crunchyroll while his friends react with disinterest, frustration, or by [[LampshadeHanging calling him out for selling out]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': In ''[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS9E15TheLastTemptationOfKrust The Last Temptation Of Krust]]'' Krusty reinvents himself as an anti-establishment stand-up comedian. While being applauded at first, Krusty eventually is offered a lot of cash for endorsing the product "Canyonero" during his stage shows. As the shows become blatant ProductPlacement Krusty is accused of being a sell-out, but he gladly gives up his former ideals to get back on top in show business.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", Stan accuses Cartman of being this when he sells Mr Hankey's current dilemma to a movie producer. Neither of them actually know what a sell out is, except "if you work in the entertainment business and make money" you're one. Cartman decides he likes it anyway.