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folk best sellers?

brezhnev 27 Feb 09 - 11:01 AM
Michael S 28 Feb 09 - 03:14 PM
brezhnev 28 Feb 09 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Peace 28 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Mar 09 - 01:06 AM
greg stephens 01 Mar 09 - 08:54 AM
Folknacious 01 Mar 09 - 09:30 AM
greg stephens 01 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM
brezhnev 01 Mar 09 - 10:56 AM
Folknacious 01 Mar 09 - 10:56 AM
brezhnev 01 Mar 09 - 11:09 AM
Folknacious 01 Mar 09 - 11:46 AM
matt milton 01 Mar 09 - 12:19 PM
Michael S 01 Mar 09 - 12:37 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 01 Mar 09 - 01:07 PM
brezhnev 01 Mar 09 - 01:10 PM
SteveMansfield 01 Mar 09 - 01:50 PM
Folkiedave 01 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM
RTim 01 Mar 09 - 02:23 PM
brezhnev 01 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM
Folkiedave 01 Mar 09 - 03:57 PM
brezhnev 01 Mar 09 - 05:07 PM
Santa 01 Mar 09 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,Sean Tynan. 01 Mar 09 - 07:39 PM
GUEST 02 Mar 09 - 11:46 AM
frogprince 02 Mar 09 - 12:01 PM
Steve Gardham 02 Mar 09 - 06:11 PM
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Subject: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 27 Feb 09 - 11:01 AM

has anyone got any idea how many copies of a traditional folk CD have to be sold these days to make it a best-seller? and is that more or less than, say, in the 'seventies?


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Michael S
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 03:14 PM

I took this question to Bill Nowlin, one of the co-founders of Rounder Records. To provide a frame of reference, I asked him to consider the question with regard to Rounder's North American Traditions series. You can view that series' great website here , to see what I'm talking about. It contains mostly (perhaps exclusively?) instumental albums by community masters--great amateur musicians given professional recordings. With respect to that series, Bill said, "Almost any good, straightahead, strictly traditional record would have sold 1500 to 2000 copies in the later 1970s. Now, sales might be more like 250." He added that there is very little opportunity today for someone to find this type of material at retail. He hopes that quality websites and download services--and ways for people to find them--could serve whatever interest exists for such recordings. He believes (maybe he hopes) that the interest for such material remains strong.

Cheers,
Michael Scully
Austin


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 07:19 PM

Cheers for your reply, Michael, and for the link to the Rounder North American Traditions website (the introductory essay by the editor on the rationale behind the series was good value). only 250 copies??? I'm flabbergasted and away to my bed (it's late and I'm a long way from Austin), wondering how many copies the original release of Martin Carthy's Shearwater may have sold in the UK in 1972.
Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: GUEST,Peace
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 09:03 PM

27


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 01:06 AM

There are hundreds of dollars to be made in folk music.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 08:54 AM

1000 copies of a traditional(ish) English folk record would be very good.
10,000+ would be superstar: you would need good backing from Smooth Ops/label/PR/"people" in general, and you would also be a "household name"(ie known to the whole folk world, though not to the general public).
50,000: (rumour has it) your names would begin with K R.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Folknacious
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 09:30 AM

50,000: (rumour has it) your names would begin with K R.

100,000+ and you change your initials to S.L. (or if you're a blues player, S.S.)

(Get yourself together with a bunch of old Cubans and you're up to 8 million and rising, it's said)


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: greg stephens
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:06 AM

SS I imagine would possibly sell 100,000+. But would SL?


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:56 AM

greg,
did you find that the market had changed/expanded much when you re-issued "beggar boy of the north" on CD?

Who are S.S. and S.L.?

Anyone any idea how many "Bright Phoebus" sold? I certainly bought three (the first two had the hole off-centre) and my sister bought one.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Folknacious
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 10:56 AM

Freedom Fields did, according to various sources including this


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:09 AM

Oh, that SL! I'm flabbergasted again - for the opposite reason. 100,000 x 9.99...that's, erm, a lot of money.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Folknacious
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 11:46 AM

100,000 x 9.99...that's, erm, a lot of money.

Yes, but then most of it goes to the govt in VAT, the retailers (a third of what's left), the distributors (a third of what the retailers pay), the label to cover its costs, the pressing plant . . . etc. you weren't imagining much of it found its way to Devon were you?


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: matt milton
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 12:19 PM

I heard a stat the other day that to hit the UK top-20 album charts, a CD only has to sell around 3000 copies (on average). That's in 1 week of course, not in total. Still, that's not really very many.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Michael S
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 12:37 PM

Brezhnev mentioned Martin Carthy's 1972 album Shearwater. I don't know anything about the circumstances surrounding that release, but I'll pass on another comment from the Rounder founders. Ken Irwin, another co-founder, noted that the situation can be vastly different if an artist is touring. Carthy was a working pro, appearing before audiences and, I assume, paying some attention to press and marketing. So he'd have greater opportunities to sell than someone in Rounder's NAT series. My casual understanding is that today, in the US at least, touring for niche artists is much tougher than in the 1970s. It's a victim of so many things I guess--the present economy, disappearing brick and mortar retail, tougher times for little music magazines, and the constant narrowing of radio. Can the world wide web be the savior of everything?

Michael Scully


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 01:07 PM

"My casual understanding is that today, in the US at least, touring for niche artists is much tougher than in the 1970s. "

I think it is a matter of perspective. From what I am seeing there are fewer venues, the audience is aging and does not get out as often, AND there are substantially more artists touring today than there were in the '70's.

Additionaly, as you can see by reading posts here on Mudcat, older generations tend to hold onto LP's. Many people are simply listening to the LP's or making their own copies onto CD - and often making copies for friends.   A CD that sells 250 copies is likely to have several hundred additional copies created without a penny going to the record label or artist.   People are also downloading files.

Frankly, the day of the CD is coming to an end.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 01:10 PM

"you weren't imagining much of it found its way to Devon were you?"

To be honest, I had no idea how much of the ₤999,000 would be winging its way to Devon (still don't), but it's a funny old do when you compare it to the $3,000 generated by your typical Rounder records "strictly traditional" release. Difference between thatching me a barn and buying me a new coat to keep my back warm.

"Can the world wide web be the savior of everything?"

I think it will, but not the way it's being used at the moment.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 01:50 PM

Who are S.S. and S.L.?

I was originally showing my age and guessing Steeleye Span, but I suspect it's Seasick Steve.

But I suspect 100,000 is low in that case. If that particular triumph of style over content has only yielded 100K sales, someone's in for the chop at his (major) record label ...


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:00 PM

I don't remember artists in the 70's carting many records around with them when they were Lp's. Remember Martin mostly travelled by public transport (I don't think he has ever driven) and would have a guitar and some clothing when gigging to carry as well.

Nowadays artists carry CD's which are much easier. I was at a Bellowhead gig recently and they were selling shed-loads of CD's.

How much you make depends on the artist and deals you get.

Some own the label, publisher and do a lot of the distribution.

Some own etc and licence the distribution.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: RTim
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:23 PM

I suspect nowadays that if you record and publish independently, you make more per CD but sell less CD's!

You also get to decide what your selling costs is.

Tim Radford.
(who is in the middle of publishing a short run and esoteric CD himself)


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 02:27 PM

i was trying to remember too if LPs were on sale at gigs in clubs in the 'seventies - and i don't think they generally were. but i don't remember either having any problem getting the records i wanted from valance's shop in leeds (where Ronnie Hilton's Leeds United Calypso was number one for over a year). Ah, heady days!


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 03:57 PM

Rare records in Manchester. Folkways by post but can't remember where from.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: brezhnev
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 05:07 PM

...and they'd let you listen to Rout of the Blues in a cubicle. Now that's what I call shopping.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Santa
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 06:24 PM

McColl and Seeger had LPs for sale at the gig I went to in the seventies. I suspect Bully Wee did too, otherwise I don't know where I'd have picked them up from. Ditto a few other artists I can't call to mind at the moment - too much wine tonight.

Whatever: yes, folk artists did tote LPs around with them to their gigs in the 70s.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: GUEST,Sean Tynan.
Date: 01 Mar 09 - 07:39 PM

Dubliners, Clancy,s, Christy Moore, Furey,s. Foster and Allen, Paddy Reilly, Dublin City Ramblers, The Corries, etc. Add that lot up and I think you will have quite a lot.
The Dubliners 25th Aniversary album, reissued more than 20 times wordwide is alone more than a million, the latest from K.Tel in four countries.
At any airport in the world albums by these guys are easy to find.


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 11:46 AM

Back in the LP days, the late Iain Mackintosh had recorded a new album with Kettle Records (Cilla Fisher & Artie Tresize at Kingskettle in Fife. Hoping it would bedome a best-seller, Iain took it to several record stores hoping the would take it up. One of the stores he approached was the ginormous Woolworths that used to be at the east end of Princes Street in Edinburgh. He did get to see the buyer for the record department. The discussion went something like this:-
Iain - "I've recorded this new album, would you be interested in taking a few?"
Buyer - "What label is it on?"
Iain - "Kettle!"
Buyer - "We'll take 500. Do you have one with you?"
Iain (trying to calculate 500x £2.3.6d) - "Here you are!*
Buyer - "Kettle? I thought you said K-Tel! Sorry, no!"

Eddie


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: frogprince
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 12:01 PM

If I'm remembering right, K-Tel largely peddled stuff like "The Greatest of Hank Williams", with the words "as played by Melvin Glumpski" somewhere, barely legible, on the jacket. : )


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Subject: RE: folk best sellers?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Mar 09 - 06:11 PM

I regularly sift through the LPs in Brit junk shops and charity shops. Top 3 that can reasonably be described as folk are Dubliners/Spinners/Clancys in that order.


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