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Music as a loss leader

Jerry Rasmussen 21 Nov 09 - 11:39 PM
Joe Offer 21 Nov 09 - 11:55 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Nov 09 - 12:22 AM
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Subject: Music as a loss leader
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 11:39 PM

The first time I got up the courage to perform in front of an audience (or more accurately, was pushed on stage by Dave Van Ronk) It wasn't with any expectation of making money. Now, almost 50 years later I realize how much I have exceeded expectations. Fortunately, I had a "day job" that supplied my modest financial needs. Not setting out to "make it" or make money seemed very much in the folk tradition, although I suspect that most folk musicians didn't mind picking up a few dollars or drinks on a Saturday night. For me, making money has always been a side effect of playing folk music (and gospel too, for that matter.) The same goes for writing. That doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with making money playing folk music. But if the purpose of playing folk or gospel music is to make money and become famous, the music changes in subtle ways. It becomes a product and is measured in units sold, not a deeper inherent value.

I've never thought that folk music was any purer than rock and roll. It's just created for a different reason. Usually.

Just my opinion. What's yours?


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Subject: RE: Music as a loss leader
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Nov 09 - 11:55 PM

You make me think, Jerry. I guess sometimes I've said that folk music is all about the music, and rock music is all about the performer; that folk music is meant for everybody to sing, but rock music is meant to be sold to consumers who listen but don't participate in the music itself.
But maybe I'm wrong - in my later years of attending rock concerts, people didn't just sit during a performance. I remember one Bonnie Raitt concert where everybody was dancing at the foot of the stage, and the line between audience and performer almost disappeared. In my own son't concerts, like this one, everybody dances during every songs.
So that's the way it ought to be - about the music, and about the unity that music can bring to us. When music is only about making money, the whole point of it is lost.

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Subject: RE: Music as a loss leader
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Nov 09 - 12:22 AM

Back in the fifties when I was at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, there was a kid who lived in the same rooming house where I was who played electric guitar. I was no great shakes as a guitar player then, but neither was he. But, he had the beat and he had a great teenager hick-uppy voice like Buddy Holly. He out together a group, wrote a few songs and went into a small recording studio and made a 45 rpm. He was just a farm kid with no money, so he went around to DJ's and offered them a couple of baskets of strawberries if they'd give his record a spin. He ended up getting into the top 40 on a Chicago station. Somehow, that didn't seem any more removed from "folk" music than the Weaver's recording Good Night Irene with an orchestra behind them. The Fendermen (another group from Wisconsin) cut a rocking version of Muleskinner Blues which is still my favorite recording of the song.

Lines blur.


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