Sorry for not having read the complete thread, but to answer your question, Shambles:
1. It is a GREAT thing.
2. I really can't tell how it is welcomed in general but personally I appreciate it very much, and I suspect other people to appreciate it too, even if they don't tell it.
3. I doubt but I don't know.
4. YES! I was especially impressed about 20 years ago by some guy in Freiburg who played a guitar AND a lute (not at the same time of course) and did real German folk songs I never had been aware of (wasn't there a discussion on that recently?). He looked as if he did make some money with it.
Hope that helps