The best thing the late Bruce Kaplan from Flying Fish records ever did was turn us down for releasing a recording. He was upfront about why. Though I think he would have changed his mind had he realized how much travelling we did (figure in the folk world your money is going to come from concert sales, you probably won't get royalties from the record company because of sloppy bookkeeping practices). We've put our own recordings out. You get hurt by not having some distribtion possibilities not there, but you're still going to probably sell most recordings at gigs. You put more money up front, but you keep the money on the other end too. We have the luxury of being able to keep recording money separate from gig money. Recordings pay for more recordings, promo printing costs, etc. I do know some artists who rely on recording sales to make the rent, it's an important source of income. As long as we're out playing, we sell recordings. We sell a few through catalogues as well, but mostly we sell to people we know. So, I vote on the side of self-produced.