Sourdough, I share your concern about the folk music of the future, simple because it seems to me that very few people sing anymore-- My grandmother and her sisters used to sing all kinds of crazy songs when we were small, joined by all my aunts and uncles and their cousins, and when I was little, and we lived in Naples, everyone sang, from the peanut vendor to the farmworkers, to the construction workers, the maids and the laundrywomen, to the many sailors and dockworkers--sometimes, the different groups of people would even sing back and forth to each other!!
Not so anymore--most families don't sing together(present company excepted) and when was the last time you heard the produce manager at the Safeway belt anything out?
I share your concern here--I am worried about the future of folk music for the simple reason that canned music has shut everyone up(even "folk music lovers" who just listen to canned folk music!!) To follow in the logic of the question about the sound of the tree falling in the forest, I am tempted to ask something about "How can their be a folksong if there are no folk singing it?"