I always respect those who upon realizing they no longer believe in their beliefs have the stones not only to admit it, but to change. Unless of course, they're a sellout, which naturally voids any respect they might have earned had their motives been genuine.
That idea-that fine line between whorish worthlessness and reflective maturity- is so incredibly difficult to pin down, that is who is what, and in what capacity. Should we respect those who change or resent them for lacking a spine? Though it is indeed more appropriate to judge each case on an individual basis, its still a fascinating topic that deserves to be looked at a more general level.
God knows that nearly every successful music group has been accused of selling out. So instead of adding fuel to the fire, I'd like to break down what entails whoring it for the man, and legitimate artistic growth.
The first necessity, of either extreme, is to be a genuine artist. For instance, you can't accuse Simple Plan or Madonna of selling out, due to the fact that their entire existence was created in some corporate boardroom. Their success has to be based on something other than looks or sex appeal, and their fans not only need to be older than 12 but also capable of speaking without constant reliance on the word "like." You probably shouldn't get pissed at some moron from school for swinging like a pendulum in the political spectrum, because in reality, they had no vested interest in their past beliefs anyway. On the other hand, however, you also cannot respect them for sticking to their guns when in all likelihood; those guns were stolen from someone else.
Take Incubus, for instance. In the mid-nineties they were one of the hardest, least radio-friendly bands around. It was a group so stoned that the chorus "High Like Us" probably isn't their most blatant drug reference. Incubus was a group that was incredibly heavy, incredibly hard, and incredibly fast but despite their merited self-respect and underground following- even some mainstream success- they gave it up. Well, they didn't give it up on purpose; rather they alienated every single one of their fans with two horrific albums in a row. Albums that were obviously attempts to ride the current trends-trends that, naturally, were wholly followed by stupid teenage chicks. They wrote songs that said "Hey, we had an acoustic hit on the last album, lets re-write it with different words and give it a new name" and "That indie stuff seems popular-I bet a weird music video might give us some credibility."