SELLOUT: The Major Label Feeding Frenzy That Swept Punk, Emo, and Hardcore (1994-2007)

by Dan Ozzi

Dey Street Books at HarperCollins, 2021


The stories of 11 bands and their major label debut albums, including:

Green Day, Jawbreaker, Jimmy Eat World, Blink-182, At the Drive-In, The Donnas, Thursday, The Distillers, My Chemical Romance, Rise Against, Against Me!

Read an excerpt at Rolling Stone


Featuring additional interviews with members of:

Cave In, Dashboard Confessional, Thrice, Anti-Flag, Less Than Jake, Jawbox, the Bronx, Cursive, Murder by Death



“Strong, balanced and well told.
—New York Times

“Engrossing… a rigorously researched look at how labels targeted bands and fought to sign them.”
—Los Angeles Times

“[Ozzi] looked at the major label debuts of different bands in this genre, tracing a music industry in flux, fans betrayed by their idols, and bands trying to navigate the machine.”
—NPR’s All Things Considered

“Based on a trove of original interviews and personal stories from band members and other crucial players, Ozzi examines how 11 groups — from Green Day and Blink-182 to At the Drive-In, Thursday, and Against Me! — grappled with the tension between punk’s core tenets and major label possibilities, and parses what success and failure looked like in this fraught realm.”
—Rolling Stone

“In this worthy successor to Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, Ozzi follows 11 groups from the AOL dial-up days to the dawn of social media, chronicling major label success (My Chemical Romance, Blink-182) and collapse (Jawbreaker, At the Drive-in).”
Vanity Fair

SELLOUT succeeds because it doesn’t sway you to think one way or another. It doesn’t paint major labels as the enemy of punk or the saviors; it just tells a fascinating history of an era of punk that can’t be talked about without diving into the impact of major labels.”

“[A] compelling and sometimes hair-raising account of what it meant to throw in your future with a large corporation in hopes of translating that effort into units sold—and the promise of a career in rock.”
The AV Club

“Ozzi’s book delivers a nostalgia-drenched time capsule of a brief but memorable moment when music labels were still fabulously wealthy and largely misguided in their quests to turn talent into profits.“
San Francisco Chronicle

“The book is structured so that each chapter functions in isolation, but when read front to back SELLOUT presents a fluid timeline of events that follows punk on its conflicting journey through the mainstream.”

“Ozzi nails the balance of knowledge and appreciation in this fantastic read.”

“An intriguing look at a pivotal time for the music industry.”

“Lucid, engaging, and largely objective… Ozzi’s true strength as a writer and storyteller comes through in the meticulous construction of chapters, and how these seemingly personal stories gradually lock together to form the backbone of the book’s larger subcultural chronology.”
New Noise

“In SELLOUT, Ozzi has written a detailed inviting map of the complicated world of punk ethics wrestling with corporate interests.”

“Ozzi’s crisp prose and vibrant storytelling colorfully capture a flamboyant chapter in music history. This accomplishes what the best music books do: drive readers back to listening.”
Publishers Weekly

“A forensic and uniquely sympathetic dive into one of the most uncouth actions for an artist—selling out, baby.”
—Jeff Rosenstock

“A fascinating and entertaining look at punk bands signing to major labels to expand their audience and their careers. Sellout offers crucial insight into the way punk rock and big business have attempted to work together in the thirty years following Nirvana’s Nevermind.”
—Craig Finn, The Hold Steady 

SELLOUT perfectly encapsulates the musician’s delicate dance between art and commerce.”
—Jonah Ray, Mystery Science Theater 3000

“In SELLOUT, Dan Ozzi tackles the history of each band and what happened in their careers leading up to the ultimate decision with precision and care, and delivers it without an ounce of judgment. For a punk… that’s pretty remarkable!”
—Jeremy Bolm, Touché Amoré