Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Alex Rajczi

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Beginning with a discussion of a concept referred to as “The Artist’s Dilemma,” my thesis discusses the common criticism of artists in the music industry that they can “sell out” by changing their sound, appearance, and jeopardizing their artistic integrity in exchange for financial or celebrity gain. Furthermore, it attempts to search for a universal guide by which artists in the music industry could circumnavigate this “artist’s dilemma” in order to ensure a meaningful career without over-playing their role as a celebrity, nor under-playing their role as a musician. In order to evaluate this topic, I consider multiple “real world” examples of both artists who have been traditionally labeled as “sellouts,” and those that have managed to maintain artistic integrity throughout their career. Next I move to acknowledging philosophical perspectives on the topic of well-being (e.g. Hedonistic, Desire-Satisfaction, and Objective List theories) in attempts to gain outside perspectives on what constitutes a meaningful life for an individual, and how it can be achieved. Then I attempt to evaluate the “artist’s dilemma” through the lens of each previously mentioned philosophical perspective on well-being. My thesis concludes that, more often than not, “selling out” in the music industry will not result in an increase to overall well-being across the course of a career or lifetime. However, this conclusion is provided under the stipulation that determinations on this matter are ultimately subject to preferences and desires of the individual artist, and by which of the three philosophical perspectives of well-being they find themselves most compelled.