I can't tell you how many bands that have recently started to "take another direction" with their music. This can mean a number of things including changing their overall sound, changing the music genre, and even changing the personnel or band band members. The immediate example I have to bring up, is the band Muse.
Muse are an English Space-Rock band who have been around for over a decade. They immediately broke onto the scene with heavy guitar riffs and synths mixed with the piercing vocals and eery lyrics of lead singer/guitarist, Matt Bellamy. Some of the albums with this type of sound included "The Origin of Symmetry", "Absolution", and even "Black Holes and Revelations". In 2010, the band released "The Resistance" which was a huge risk since it included more electronic sounds mixed with some emphatic orchestral symphonies. Overall a lot of the hardcore Muse fans kind of swore off the band after this because they changed that signature Muse sound. I really enjoyed that album and a lot of others did. Because of this, Muse received even more new fans after "The Resistance". However, in early October muse released "The 2nd Law" which made "The Resistance" sound safe, even pedestrian to a point.
"The 2nd Law" features dubstep, heavy guitar rock songs, experimental ambient rock, alternative rock, funk/disco music, and many more other genres. People hate the fact that Muse are so experimental and do not stick to one sound. This made me think a LOT recently about this.
Do Musical Artists have a right to experiment with their music and if they do, do fans have the right to criticize these ventures?
I think that bands can do whatever they want musically. They are the artists after all and they should do whatever pleases them. The fans in all honesty, can go fuck themselves. The fame and stardom achieved in the music industry comes at a price. Greedy fans essentially destroy the artistic ability to create new material. Some bands succumb to the voices of fans and simply give them what they want to hear. That is very lazy to me and also it is really a shame. When your audience gets to you to the point where they destroy your artistic integrity to yourselves, you have officially SOLD OUT. So I applaud Muse. Even if their experimental albums are really terrible (which they aren't), at least they are changing things up. I mean take a look at the Black Keys. Great, GREAT band. However, 7 albums in and they haven't done anything new. Don't get me wrong I loved all of the records, but around the time El Camino was released, I was a bit tired of the same sound. Which is why bands should experiment. Without it, there wouldn't be as much great music in the world.