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Is there a folk music industry?

GUEST,Lucy 03 May 09 - 01:16 PM
Jeri 03 May 09 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,PeterC 03 May 09 - 02:55 PM
Darowyn 03 May 09 - 03:05 PM
The Sandman 03 May 09 - 05:23 PM
Phil Edwards 03 May 09 - 05:28 PM
Folknacious 03 May 09 - 06:08 PM
sharyn 03 May 09 - 06:34 PM
Joe_F 03 May 09 - 09:33 PM
Peace 03 May 09 - 11:19 PM
Catamariner 04 May 09 - 01:12 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 May 09 - 04:42 AM
GUEST,Tom Bliss 04 May 09 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,wordy 04 May 09 - 07:22 AM
SteveMansfield 04 May 09 - 08:15 AM
GUEST,Rob the Roadie 04 May 09 - 08:32 AM
SteveMansfield 04 May 09 - 08:36 AM
Folknacious 04 May 09 - 09:38 AM
Les in Chorlton 04 May 09 - 09:48 AM
Gibb Sahib 04 May 09 - 10:55 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 04 May 09 - 11:13 AM
Howard Jones 04 May 09 - 11:40 AM
High Hopes (inactive) 04 May 09 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,John from Kemsing 04 May 09 - 01:02 PM
High Hopes (inactive) 04 May 09 - 01:15 PM
Folkiedave 04 May 09 - 02:01 PM
Ernest 04 May 09 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,Wordy. 04 May 09 - 07:32 PM
Folkiedave 04 May 09 - 08:24 PM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 02:52 AM
The Borchester Echo 05 May 09 - 03:39 AM
GUEST,Lucy 05 May 09 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,Lucy 05 May 09 - 07:57 AM
Phil Edwards 05 May 09 - 08:06 AM
The Borchester Echo 05 May 09 - 08:18 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 May 09 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 09:05 AM
The Sandman 05 May 09 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Golightly 05 May 09 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 09:19 AM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 May 09 - 12:24 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 05 May 09 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,glueman 05 May 09 - 12:47 PM
High Hopes (inactive) 05 May 09 - 12:51 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 May 09 - 01:25 PM
Folkiedave 05 May 09 - 02:13 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 05 May 09 - 02:22 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 05 May 09 - 02:23 PM
The Sandman 05 May 09 - 05:18 PM
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Subject: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Lucy
Date: 03 May 09 - 01:16 PM

Hi,

I'm writing an essay for college and just wanted to do a quick poll on how people "consume" folk and traditional musics.

Is there a folk music industry?

I've always thought of it as a largely "live" music, but wondered how much use people make of what's on the radio / tv / internet in finding and hearing new (and old) folk music.

How significant is the BBC? Does Mike Harding's programme (or any other) have a significant impact on the folk scene and what is popular or not?

Also, where do you tend to buy CD recordings? Direct from the artist or Amazon or the record shop? Do you buy on recommendation (whose?) or do you tend to have heard the artist perform before. Do you shop by artist / group or by region / style?

That's quite a lot of questions - sorry! Any answers or musings on any of those points would be very gratefully received.

Thank you,

Lucy

PS - sorry for sending this (in part) twice - no idea how that happened - it seemed to send before i'd finished writing...


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Jeri
Date: 03 May 09 - 01:20 PM

Never heard Mike Harding's show, although it (as well as BBC radio) may be available via the web. Mostly for me, it's local folk radio shows, then festivals. Sometimes people post interesting links to music on YouTube.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 03 May 09 - 02:55 PM

Consume folk music?
I pay to listen to people at clubs (as opposed to going to sessions to participate)
I buy CDs from the artists or very occasionally from stalls at festivals
I get broadcast folk music from Verity Sharp or Fiona Talkington as an incidental aspect of their show, I don't normally listen to dedicated folk programming.

With regard to an "industry" just look at the sales stalls at any major festival. There are a couple of active record labels, a couple of major music retailers specialising in the field, any number of niche instrument makers and repariers and of course folk music is also an important element of the country's major independent CD distributor.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Darowyn
Date: 03 May 09 - 03:05 PM

I have always resisted the term "Music Industry". Because of the analogy it assumes with industrial scale mass production in factories, it is a very misleading model of how music is created and disseminated.
"Music Business" is the term that I prefer- though actually what the majority of practitioners are involved in is a network of loosely related, very small and one person businesses, and this network is attached even more loosely to an even bigger group of hobbyists.
My main source of new music and new artists is via the internet. I listen to Mike Harding via a subscription to the podcast, but most of my listening is as a judge on online music stages like "Just Plain Folks" and "Ourstage".
To use a term from my youth, it is only a small majority of the artists on these sites who "have gone professional".
Even fewer are rank amateurs or beginners.
This exposure to other peoples' categorisation, accounts for my conviction that the definition of Folk is a very wide one indeed. Just today my listening has ranged from Hillbilly to Gypsy Jazz.
Cheers
Dave
P.S Feel free to use my refutation of the term "industry" in your assignment. I always gave marks to people who did!


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: The Sandman
Date: 03 May 09 - 05:23 PM

1.yes.
2.increasingly.
3.not very significant.
4.direct from the artists or via their website.
http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 03 May 09 - 05:28 PM

I've always resisted the term "consume", unless I'm talking about something that gets eaten, drunk or burnt. Lots of things aren't destroyed at the point of use.

This isn't just pedantry. A shiny new CD with shrinkwrap intact is in some sense "consumed" the moment you open it up - as a commodity, it loses a lot of its value by being sold for the first time (look at the secondhand market). But the music - the bit of the CD you can actually use - never goes away; it's never "consumed", however often you listen to it.

The ideal object of consumption is something which you can't access without paying money, which only the person paying the money can access and which you can only use once after you've bought it. In this sense I guess you could say you consume a concert ticket - but music itself is something you can get for nothing, and which you can use again and again, and pass on to others without any loss of quality.

So don't talk to folkies about being "consumers"!

(Me, I mostly hear music live (sometimes paying, sometimes not), though I do often download MPEGs of out-of-print albums (not paying). I rarely buy new folk CDs except from the performer. I never listen to Mike Harding, but do occasionally listen to TGIF online.)


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Folknacious
Date: 03 May 09 - 06:08 PM

There probably is a folk music industry, though it's a very different kettle of worms to the bigtime music industry. Most of the people involved in it are independent and in it for the music rather than the money, even though they might make a living out of it. its another (nicer? less cut-throat?) world

The record side is quite important, influential and flourishing I think. Getting much better at it (recording, design, presentation).

Generally the BBC is insignificant, Mike Harding plays very little of what is released and mostly the very safe stuff (its radio 2, and he's pretty out of touch I feel). Late Junction and Mary Ann Kennedy on Radio 3 play more but not many people listen to that station (though I do). Nothing much else on nationally though you get odd documentaries here and there.

Most people I know (and me) buy CDs on the net, Amazon or artist web sites these days. Sometimes on gigs, I can't remember when I last went into a record shop. Used to go to Virgin Megastore when I went into London but that has closed recently I believe.

All sorts of things influence my CD buying. Word of mouth, curiosity, seeing artist live, friends turning me on, listening to Late Junction, reading mags like fRoots and hearing their net radio show, increasingly hearing tracks first on MySpace, that's quite important now.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: sharyn
Date: 03 May 09 - 06:34 PM

Hi Lucy,

I don't think there is a "folk music industry." There is a music industry and some folk musicians participate in it to varying degrees (manufacturing, duplicating, selling CDs, for example), but some don't.

I buy many CDs. I buy them at live shows. I buy them at my local record store. I buy them at festivals. I buy them from friends who are musicians. I buy them after hearing cuts on folk music radio shows (I live in the U.S. in California). I've looked at movie soundtracks featuring folk music, but have only bought one of those. I have bought one or two CDs from CDBaby. I listen to music wherever I hear it with an ear open to sounds I like (I have been known to interrupt a date to ask, "Who is that singing?").

If I can't find someone's music at the record store I will google a name and look for a website, but I probably buy fewer CDs this way.

If I am going to buy something I have heard on the radio I either look for the song I liked or I look by the artist who recorded it. Faced with a choice of CDs by an artist I haven't heard much I look for a song or two that I know and like and might like to hear a new version.

I troll around a little bit on YouTube when someone makes it easy to do so by providing hyperlinks, but I don't think I've bought anything that way yet.

As a performer, I rely on people who have heard me to buy recordings, or on people who like versions of songs I have written. I play a few open mikes, I lead a few workshops. I work on civil responses to all inquiries.

Thanks for asking the question.

Sharyn


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 May 09 - 09:33 PM

God forbid! When people switch from "business" to "industry", the right word is "racket".


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Peace
Date: 03 May 09 - 11:19 PM

I don't think it's fair to call it a racket, Joe F. Noisy on occasion, but not a racket . . . .


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Catamariner
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:12 AM

Heh, Peace, don't forget The Pogues! :-)


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 May 09 - 04:42 AM

I guess most 'Folk Music' happens in a pre-industrial way. Somewhere between primitive communism, workers cooperatives and self-employment.

L n C
On behalf of, but without consulting, the primitive communist cell of The Beech Inn, Chorlton, Manchester, first and third Wednesdays Singaround and last Tuesday Tunes Session


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Tom Bliss
Date: 04 May 09 - 05:31 AM

Hi Lucy,

I don't know to what extent you habituate this board, but if you've not been here much you may be puzzled by some of the responses you'll get.

You need to know that there are at least two incompatible and passionately defended schools of thought here (as well as many shades of opinion in between).

One group holds that the use of the term 'folk' can only refer to specifically non-commercial, non-business and therefore, by definition, non-industrial activities, specially in the case of music (see threads with '54' in the title). These will probably suggest that the answer to your question must be therefore 'no.'

The other group larely accept the more widely-held (among people under 60 anyway) definition which you'll find in Wikipedia under 'folk music.'

Here the answer is emphatically 'yes.' If we allow that 'industry' means 'the manufacturing of a good or service within a category' then all 'folk' artists (i.e. those who call themselves, or who are called by others, 'folk'), as well as all clubs, venues, record companies, websites, magazines, publicists, agencies and so one who accept the term 'folk' as being at least pert of their 'business' description (see below) make up a 'folk music industry.'

You will have to decide which group to agree with. But if your essay is to be accurate you'll probably have to make a stab at referring to the dichotomy at least!

Tom

PS: "A business (also called a firm or an enterprise) is a legally recognised organization designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers.

Businesses are predominant in capitalist economies, most being privately owned and formed to earn profit that will increase the wealth of its owners and grow the business itself.

The owners and operators of a business have as one of their main objectives the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk.

Notable exceptions include cooperative businesses* and state-owned enterprises. Socialist systems involve either government agencies, public, or worker ownership of most sizable businesses"

*So even folk clubs are businesses (the size of the transaction is not relevant).

PPS And of course 'the receipt or generation of a financial return in exchange for work and acceptance of risk' does not preclue the exchange of other values, and these may indeed be of greater import.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:22 AM

I agree Tom. There have actually been conferences using the words "folk music industry"
Prepare for the sky to fall on you.
Those not involved in it would be appalled at the riders some of their well loved bohemian "we're not in it for the money" folk singers have on their contracts with their employers. A well known, nay, legendary British singer who has worked all his life in the folk world has enforcers who bully backstage while he chills out in his dressing room. Others demand crates of ale, specific wines, certain foods, state their hotel must have a certain number of stars,
etc, etc. They are no different to the ego ridden celebs of showbiz, except that they profess to not belong to that world. It's all status driven, and definitely at that level, an industry a world away from the sing around.
Believe me, the big festivals are a hot bed of clashing egos and status driven judgements. Don't go there, stay out front and maintain your illusions!


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:15 AM

My 0.02 is there isn't a single monolithic 'folk music industry' as such, but there are a great number of commercial and voluntary organisations that are dependent upon the existence of the appetite and audience for folk/traditional music.

By which I don't only mean the artists/performers who are trying to make a living on the folk club / folk festival / arts centres circuit.

There are the festivals and clubs themselves, some run on a commercial basis, some run for love. There are the record labels, either specialistic folk labels or those that carry folk as part of a wider remit. There are also instrument makers who are dependent upon demand for their wares: if the bottom suddenly fell out of the wooden flute market, for example, where would that leave fine craftsmen such as Hamilton, Grinter, Lehart and Ormiston?

I presume you're aware of the Arts Council report on the economic value of folk festivals, which seems to have disappeared off of the Folk Arts England website but an email to them might revive.

To answer your other questions:

The Internet is a vast resource in finding out what's going on. Mudcat is great, the uk.music.folk newsgroup used to be excellent but is pretty moribund now, lots of individual bands and organisations and sub-genres and instruments have mailing lists.

TV tends to be reactive (eg highlights from Cambridge or Celtic Connections) but if you weren't at the festival (or were at another gig that night) you can pick up new stuff from there (I discovered the wonderful Asturian band Tejedor through the CC programmes for example). YouTube is also good for that!

Don't forget about print - Living Tradition magazine is excellent, fRoots is OK if rather obsessed with going 'Hey! New Trend!' every month, local magazines also help.

Mike Harding's programme trots a good distance behind the current scene rather than being a leader or a key identifier of new talent. It is also completely spavined by the pathetic requirement that it doesn't frighten the core Radio 2 audience away by playing anything too scarily different from everything else on Radio 2!

As regards buying ... wherever I can buy! Amazon are good, but I like to buy direct from the artist wherever possible. The big folk retailers (Proper, Mrs Casey, Roots Records) are all good for highlighting new discoveries and 'If you like this, then you might like *this*' ...


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Rob the Roadie
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:32 AM

Pick up a copy or two of the mag Living Tradition for some education on the business.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:36 AM

Couple of addendums to my lengthy witter above:

1) Should also have mentioned English Dance & Song, the magazine of EFDSS, in the magazines. Under Derek Schofield's editorship this has completely transformed, from a dull in-house newsletter about tea-dances in the Harpenden area, into a damn good and finger-on-the-pulse read.

2) All comments / knowledge / expereinnce are UK / England based.

Enough.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Folknacious
Date: 04 May 09 - 09:38 AM

"I presume you're aware of the Arts Council report on the economic value of folk festivals, which seems to have disappeared off of the Folk Arts England website but an email to them might revive."

It's still on their Festivals & Events page here as a downloadable PDF

"Don't forget about print - Living Tradition magazine is excellent, fRoots is OK if rather obsessed with going 'Hey! New Trend!' every month, local magazines also help."

Lucy, you will soon learn that on this board everybody's opinions are very coloured by their own prejudices so I'd recommend making up your own mind on these things! To this reader, Living Tradition is OK in a 'this is the familiar stuff you're comfortable with' sort of way, while fRoots regularly says 'here's some music you might not have heard yet but we're really enthusiastic about - give it a try.' Each approach (and opinion) equally valid of course. But do read them both - they will surely allow you to make up your own mind whether there's a 'folk industry' or not.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 04 May 09 - 09:48 AM

It's also worth remembering that posts on here often become personal, irrelevant and even unpleasant after about 20 posts.

Best of luck

L in C


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 04 May 09 - 10:55 AM

It's also worth remembering that posts on here often become personal, irrelevant and even unpleasant after about 20 posts.

Here's post #20. Let the irrelevant personal unpleasantries rip!


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 11:13 AM

Here's post number 21 and if saying that there is a folk music industry is unpleasant, then I've started it...

You have the recordings, you have the punters purchasing the recordings, you have the DJs pushing the recordings, you also have the publicists for the record labels and the artists themselves, and, of course, last but not least, you have the money that funds most of the above. Folk music does not have its own set of rules when it comes to all this, some folk (pun intended) need to remember that.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 May 09 - 11:40 AM

Yes, there is a folk music industry/business, but it's not necessarily very business-like. There are some who try to make their living from it, as performers, record producers or promoters. A great many more, including some very well-known performers, are not full-time professionals, but have "real" jobs to pay the bills and do music as a paying hobby. Many of the venues are run on a not-for-profit basis.

Nearly all these groups, including many of those trying to make a living at it, are more interested in the music than financial rewards.

I think the idea of folk music "consumers" is a difficult one, since it suggests a difference between the performers on one hand and a passive audience on the other. Folk music is very participative, and a large number of those involved are also active musicians, dancers, etc.

I find radio and TV of little use, since there's so little folk music on either. Mike Harding's show is of zero interest and I hardly ever listen to it (and when I do, usually in the car, it confirms my prejudice). Most of my information comes from word of mouth or the internet.

I seem to be increasing choosy these days about buying CDs and don't buy nearly as many as I used to. I'll get them from shops, the artists or sometimes on-line (usually from performers' websites rather than Amazon, which is difficult to browse and then bombards me with other CDs it thinks I'll like).


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 12:11 PM

Like Howard, Mike Harding's programme does absolutely nothing for me, way to slick, the production company, Smooth OPs is well named. My programme of choice is Folk Waves on BBC Radio Derby, with Mick Peat and Lester Simpson

Purchase you favourite artist's CDs from their website, if possible, and check your small, local record shop, you might be surprised, and try to avoid the chains (they know who they are).


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:02 PM

I`m sure I heard Mike Harding use the term "modern folk" on a BBC trailer for the Folk on Two/Christie Moore programme aired last week. Could someone enlighten me?? Perhaps this is the beginning of a new industry. Perhaps there is a factory out there somewhere churning out mass produced songs for the modern age.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 04 May 09 - 01:15 PM

Someone needs to have a word with that Mike Harding (wot the effing hell is "modern folk?), this is all beginning to sound a wee bit too new-age for me, and John, you could well be right about that factory (sonorous World War 2 BBC voice "somewhere in England"), nothing would surprise me...


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:01 PM

There are a number of community radio stations that do folk music programmes. Of the ones I have heard, ALL tend to play a better selection of music Mike Harding.

This is not Mike's fault but that of the remit he is given by the BBC.

I see no problem with an "industry" myself.

Those not involved in it would be appalled at the riders some of their well loved bohemian "we're not in it for the money" folk singers have on their contracts with their employers. A well known, nay, legendary British singer who has worked all his life in the folk world has enforcers who bully backstage while he chills out in his dressing room.

I have no idea who the poster is talking about with catering riders and backstage antics. At some festivals the notion of a dressing room would be hilarious!

From personal experience, Vin Garbutt's catering rider was two pints of weak bitter and at an all "Waterson" concert at Sidmouth, Mike Waterson offered to pay for his own beer when asked if he wanted a drink.

After 40 years involvment with folk music at all sorts of levels I have never met any artist who has been other than utterly pleasant.

My daughter has run artist liaison at major festivals. She will tell you exactly the same. Some are nicer than others. Some have human weaknesses - but I do not recognise your description.

It would be nice if instead of signing in as a guest you were brave enough to name the artist and how you "know" this. And your own name so we can judge the veracity of what you say would be nice.

I'm Dave Eyre.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Ernest
Date: 04 May 09 - 02:02 PM

And we all fondly remember the good old times when musicians lived on the copper coins while producing the greatest cd`s by flattening the occasional silver coins with a hammer (sometimes even a stone) until they had the right size and scratched the music on it with a broken string....

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Wordy.
Date: 04 May 09 - 07:32 PM

Dave, you know I can't name names and you know I can't break cover, but believe me it's all true. And yes, I agree, it's not everyone by all means, and certainly not those you name. But since the word "industry" came into it,so did the Alpha males and females, and that's life whatever field you work in.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 04 May 09 - 08:24 PM

No I don't know why you can't name names and I don't know why you can't break cover and I have no idea who you are talking about.

There was always a folk "industry". It and folk have changed.

I can think of loads of people who have long involved catering riders indeed I have booked artists with them. Some have dietary needs, I have been asked for specific brands of soya milk for example.
Richard Thompson has particular needs away from the ordinary. Some have agents who write them.

I know people in the music industry who have this sort of rider. Most folk people I know have no rider at all.

I can thing of one band who went through a day with nothing to eat or drink whilst they were faffed about from arsehole to breakfast time by a bunch of knobheads who believed bands didn't need to eat.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:52 AM

Modern folk? Every last person on the board knows what modern folk is, the only questions are do you like it and has it anything to do with the tradition?

Not a big fan of Mike Harding or his programme but don't lets get Princess and the Pea over word discomfort.
Again.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 May 09 - 03:39 AM

Tom Bliss refers to the dichotomy between those who admire the output of finely-honed players from conservatoires and universities with an automatic assumption that their music should be on a par with other sections of the musbiz , and those whose concept of "f*lk" (whatever that is) is strictly non-commercial, non-business, non-professional in every aspect especially including intonation or rehearsal in any form and somehow tied up with a dreary incantation dredged up from 1954.

These "two schools of thought" I'd prefer to identify as (1) a progressive Summerhill-like school and (2) a naughty step of anti-educationalist, inverted snobbish playground rabble-rousers. And the philosophy (or lack thereof) rears its head periodically usually under headings such as "young f*lk tradition undermining f*lk" (as if) which exist fundamentally for old farts to sneer at musicianship and professionalism and whinge that new emerging musicians haven't served their apprenticeship and charge too much.

The contributor who in this thread is floating the illusion of unfeasible contract clauses is the very same one who tried the intended smear that a well-known band employed a PR person. The truth is that their recording company does. And then there's the tired slur of asking "silly money", as though musicians are not entitled to the rate for the job like any other worker.

As for purchasing CDs, my own gut feeling is that I'd prefer to get them directly from the artist so that they retain a little more of the purchase price but the fact remains that under the economic system under which we exist, such sales do not show up on retail returns which matter in building reputation. Many artists prefer, therefore, that you get their wares via Amazon.

In reply to the initial question, of course there's an industry, obviously because that is how the economy is organised. Just because you don't happen to approve of capitalism doesn't mean that you can attempt to prohibit musicians from seeking their living within it. Even Smooth Ops does that, like it or not and I do not. There's no choice, other than seeking out and supporting alternative outlets.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Lucy
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:50 AM

Thank you all for your responses - it's really interesting to hear how the internet in particular is playing a bigger role in broadcasting and selling folk music than i had thought (though i guess by posting online i'm inevitably speaking to a net-literate group)
Also interested in this idea of "modern folk" - will definitely be writing about the dichotomy between folk and Folk!

Lucy


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Lucy
Date: 05 May 09 - 07:57 AM

To Folkie Dave,

"There are a number of community radio stations that do folk music programmes. Of the ones I have heard, ALL tend to play a better selection of music Mike Harding.

This is not Mike's fault but that of the remit he is given by the BBC."

Please could you enlarge on the BBC's remit? I've been looking into it and can find all the "educate, inform entertain" stuff but haven't found anything relating to folk music...

Thanks

Lx


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:06 AM

will definitely be writing about the dichotomy between folk and Folk!

I think Spleen Cringe nailed that one back here. Quote:

"Folk music can either mean 1954 definition folk music (which describes - imperfectly or otherwise - a process not a type of music); or it can mean folk club music/folk scene music - a context not a type of music; or it can mean what the general public/media/music industry think of as folk music (everything from Waterson Carthy to the Corrs to KT Tunstall to James Bl*nt to a metal band with a bit of acoustic guitar) - a marketing concept not a type of music. ... The one thing that unites the three variants on 'folk music' above is that none of them describe a genre/type/style of music - they are all simply convenient shorthand for describing something else."


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:18 AM

As "Folkiedave" may be well "out-to-lunch" at this hour, I'll give Lucy for the time being a quick, partial answer in the words of Mike Harding himself from an interview in Living Tradition No 42 from 2001:

People don't always understand the concept of follow-through, that is people listening to one programme and finding themselves carrying on to the next or people who only tune to one radio station and listen across the whole range of their output. The trick is to tempt listeners to stay eith you and avoid sharp edges where people may decide, without listening, that the next programme is not for them. We get complaints that we should not cater for this audience but but my view is that if you can get people to listen and then present them with ideas, they will take it. We now get up to a million people listening to the show, Perhaps just 10 or 20% are tuning in just to listen to a folk programme, the rest are floating voters hearing this music as part of a whole evening of listening.

So, that in essence is the BBC R2 remit to the outsourced production company, Smooth Operations and if they didn't follow it there'd be no contract renewal and they're all quite keen on hanging on to their jobs. Personally, I find the MH show entirely irrelevant, it tells me nothing I don't know already and it's presented in such an annoying way I see no point in bothering with it. And I'm very sceptical that it "draws in" potential customers to the f*lk trough. In my experience, people who want to discover tradarts are not seeking easy routes or feeling relieved when what is presented differs not a lot from the rest of R2 schlock.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 May 09 - 08:57 AM

I find Celtic Heartbeat, Travelling Folk and Folk Club slightly better BBC-radio-broadcasts than MH - which nearly always starts with music from America, followed by misled musicians from here performing in an American style.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:03 AM

Lucy, the differences between folk and Folk are nuanced and layered. On the level of definition '54 Believers (do a search - hours of fun) say folk is a process but not a sound and non-believers tend to hear a sound and little process.
The 54 argument goes slightly awry in so far as 99.5% of traditional music is played on traditional instruments in folk venues, even though The Definition would allow for theramins, flying V electric guitars and the BBC radiophonic workshop delivering the goods, leading many to suggest sound modes are underplayed (sic) as a means of defining what folk is. (54'ers will be asking how I got to 99 and a half percent which kind of shows the thinking)

It's more complicated than that. In our folkier than thou moments some of us might suggest the spirit and letter of folk are better served in ruthlessly uncommercial environments and en plein air performance - or at least those outside 'designated folk contexts' (another search for you) to remove any sense of stardom, virtuosity, guruship and so on.
The majority are sussed enough to take all forms up to and including the lovely Kate Rusby at the Albert Hall (that girl eats her crusts but I don't know where she plays) as versions of folk without blowing a fuse. All conduits from YouTube to Wembley are commercial industrial in some way.

Hope that helps a bit.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:05 AM

If the last post repeats what others have said it's because I haven't read much of the thread, apologies. I can guess these days.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:07 AM

but are they performing in an american style,and which regional American style or are they performing in a middle of the road popfolk style.
I hear very few imitating Jean Ritchie or Roscoe Holcomb, or PeteSeeger and precious few Yodelling like Jimmie Rodgers,and not many singing Leadbellys material


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,Golightly
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:09 AM

"Thank you all for your responses - it's really interesting to hear how the internet in particular is playing a bigger role in broadcasting and selling folk music than i had thought (though i guess by posting online i'm inevitably speaking to a net-literate group)"

Careful,Lucy. Did you think we all spent our days toiling in the fields or deep-sea fishing? I'm just guessing, but I reckon folk music has an overwhelmingly white collar demographic (these days at least), and we live with the same influences and technologies as everyone else.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 09:19 AM

"I hear very few imitating...Roscoe Holcomb"

More's the pity we say.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:24 PM

I should have added, C.B., that I'm not against hearing some music by American folkies, of different regions, on our airwaves - I just think it's overdone; i.e., anti-Americansiation rather than anti-American, which should be clear from here.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:28 PM

'which nearly always starts with music from America, followed by misled musicians from here performing in an American style.'

You wouldn't be using this forum to promote your dislike of things that don't come out of England, would you? You're treading on very thin ice.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:47 PM

While tipoeing over the implied national slurs I've often wondered about American inflections among English popular singers. Leaving aside Neil Tennant of the Petshop Boys and Morrissey's northern RP vocalisation, there's something antipathetic about BBC/Queen's English to delivering a tune.

I'm not so daft to suggest Old Kentish, Bucks or estuary can't wrap itself round a song but standard English doesn't lend itself, which may be where the misplaced accusations of north American short vowels come in. I think it was Clive James who suggested the aim of the upper classes was never to reveal the teeth while talking - not much good for blasting out a shanty.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: High Hopes (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 12:51 PM

Sing in the way that you're comfortable with, and to hell with what others think. The old saying, we're here for a good time, not along time comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 May 09 - 01:25 PM

"You wouldn't be using this forum to promote your dislike of things that don't come out of England, would you? You're treading on very thin ice." (RM)...certainly not - I love our world being multicultural, including trad. English culture, as should have been clear to you from the just-above, "here", link.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:13 PM

Please could you enlarge on the BBC's remit? I've been looking into it and can find all the "educate, inform entertain" stuff but haven't found anything relating to folk music...

Diane put it very well.


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:22 PM

"as should have been clear to you from the just-above, "here", link."

I'm extremely wary about going to unfamiliar websites, you just never know what nasty little things might jump out at one.......

I too love multiculturalism, especially when it occurs in England, where would England be with multiculturalism? No curry take away for a start, nor Chinese come to think of it, nor over half the words in the English language.....and I've not even begun to touch some of musical instruments many musicians I know play. One of the instruments I play is the 5 string banjo.

"I hear very few imitating Jean Ritchie or Roscoe Holcomb, or PeteSeeger and precious few Yodelling like Jimmie Rodgers,and not many singing Leadbellys"

However there is a group of English musicians playing href="http://www.skinnymalinksmusic.co.uk/artists/thesongsofthecar.html">The Songs of The Carter Family


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:23 PM

oops that should be

The Songs of The Carter Family


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Subject: RE: Is there a folk music industry?
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:18 PM

if anyone has a clip of the wonderful version of Sara Carter singing the golden vanity,that would be great.


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