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catch 22 folk on national media

SPB-Cooperator 06 Feb 09 - 05:22 PM
VirginiaTam 06 Feb 09 - 05:37 PM
GUEST,Graham Bradshaw 07 Feb 09 - 07:28 AM
GUEST,PeterC 07 Feb 09 - 11:40 AM
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Subject: catch 22 folk on national media
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 05:22 PM

Reading through a number of threads, I've picked up on a 'catch 22'.

It has always been difficult to get national media to take an interest in the full spectrum of folk music due to the lack of commercial pressure.

However, when national radio or tv takes a rare excursion into folk music, it seems primarily focussed on those artistes who are generating the most return for the music industry.

While the artistes in question are excellent ambassadors for the folk scene, the national media doesn't seem to fully represent folk song and music.

I'm mentioning national media as I have listened to some excellent folk programmes on local radio, on which I have heard local performers which I might have otherwise never have heard of.

Does anyone have any ideas of how a wider representation of what is happening can get broadcast?

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Subject: RE: catch 22 folk on national media
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 05:37 PM

I dunno... having just listened to the BBBC Radio 2 Folk awards, I thought there was a pretty good mix.

But I am no expert. Not by a long long long sideboard. (sideburn for American readers)

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Subject: RE: catch 22 folk on national media
From: GUEST,Graham Bradshaw
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 07:28 AM

This is not restricted to Folk.

If you were to look at the mainstream, ie. rock and pop, you will find that the media only gives exposure to big stars and new names that are making waves, ie. selling lots of CDs and gig tickets.

You are very unlikely to see any coverage of all the talented bands around the country, selling a few CDs to their small bunch of fans, and normally playing to 2 men and a dog. Yes, audiences in the rock genre can be even worse than in folk clubs for relatively unknown artists.

I can remember back in the 80s and 90s, when I was doing sound at quite a few rock venues, there were numerous occasions where the audience consisted of only the bands' girlfriends. There was actually one occasion where there WAS 2 men and a dog!
And one memorable night when nobody, yes NOBODY, turned up.

Back to Folk, and I remember when Seth Lakeman was starting out, he did a few guest spots with the Oysterband, to get himself known a bit. I did sound the first time he came to Rugby Roots, and was still fairly unknown, and there were 40 people in the audience. On his return, about 6 months later, and the profile and media attention had started, there were nearer 200.

So, yes there is a Catch 22, but it is probably the same in all musical genres.

Summed up, when nobody has heard of you, nobody comes to the gigs. When you have gained a profile, and even better a 'buzz', people will come. The difficult bit is getting from obscurity to notoriety.

It's all about marketing and media, like it or not.

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Subject: RE: catch 22 folk on national media
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 11:40 AM

It is well known that it takes years of hard work to be an overnight success.

National radio coverage has been cut slightly with LJ now only running on three nights a week but material still pops up in unlikely places and for those who want their music properly compartmentalised there is always Radio 2.

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