The theory of Mainstream Music Assimilation states that a band, once gaining repeated airplay
on a commercial radio station, will proceed to alienate its original fan base and alter its sound to conform
to the musical tastes of the masses.
Although many bands/artists have managed to escape the pull of this creative black hole, it has managed to take control of the musical sound of many bands, including Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants, No Doubt, and many others.
Some of the early warning signs of this syndrome are the sudden appearance of large amounts of conformist teenagers at their concerts, and the subsequent move of the band to larger venues. Other signs include airplay on radio stations of various musical genres (crossing over), and repeated coverage of the bands in magazines like Rolling Stone.
The end result is not always a bad one. Many artists have successfully evolved their musical style to actually change the mainstream interest while maintaining a sembalance of their original style. Artists like U2, Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins are good examples.
Other artists suffer at the hands of the theory by unsucessfully attempting to adapt their musical style and alienating not only their original fans, but the general listening public too. Tori Amos, one of the best female vocalists of the 1990s, did this to some extent. Although exceptionally talented, her style has become progressively intense, and her album sales progressively smaller. Although many still adore her, her popularity is nowhere near the height it was when she released Under The Pink.