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How do you define 'selling out'?

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    You hear it all the time. An artist starts off small, but usually with a hardcore (probably localized) following. They are usually unique and talented. They have their own sound. And then there is always this fear that they will get too big and 'sell out'. That they will get co-opted by 'the man', forced to sell their soul to the music conglomerate devils in exchange for stacks of cash.

    Question is though, is it really selling out if an artist signs with a big label and starts getting a lot more money and more exposure if they continue with their craft? I think the fear and problem is that people assume that by the simple act of becoming famous and well known, and not underground anymore, it means that they will start automatically producing crap that only the 'masses' want to hear, and that the money will ruin them.

    So how do you define selling out? I've had this debate with so many friends its not even funny. And everyone seems to have a different take. Hipsters to me are the worst. They seem to have zero tolerance for any artist that gets too big. Everyone is a sell out to them. .. I just don't buy that. If you are still making the music that you want, and are just more known and more well off because of your success, then that just means you are producing something the audience at large enjoys and gets something out of.

    You are only a sell out in my eyes if you start producing something that you do not endorse or believe in yourself, in the name of trying to become more famous or more wealthy. Am I right or?
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    I would define it as changing your art or your product to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Ideally an artist is going to have the choice and control of what he creates. I would say selling out would involve others cramming stuff in his direction and the artist just slapping a name on it.