As a concerned fan of Michelle Branch, I do fear that her recent photoshoot for Maxim magazine could potentially spawn a backlash and wreck her career. I also happen to be a fan of an older pop act who made the same move only for it to backfire.
Remember the Irish pop band B*Witched? The girl group who hit it big in 1998-99 with “C’est La Vie” used to pride themselves on not using sex and skin to sell records early in their career; then in early 2000 their record sales began to lag, and apparently out of desperation to attract an older audience the four girls posed for a risque photoshoot in the British edition of FHM magazine. This move did B*Witched more harm than good, and the group eventually disappeared from the pop music radar.
Just like B*Witched, Michelle Branch has a great number of younger fans and fans who praised her for not sexing up her image to sell records, and after this photoshoot, these fans may possibly turn their backs on her. I just hope Michelle herself is aware of the risks she’s taking with these fans, and that just like B*Witched, she may regret this move in hindsight.