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Why is folk such a small market?

*#1 PEASANT* 04 Mar 10 - 10:31 AM
Lizzie Cornish 1 04 Mar 10 - 10:44 AM
MikeL2 04 Mar 10 - 11:01 AM
Bill D 04 Mar 10 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,clumper 04 Mar 10 - 11:18 AM
folkandroots 04 Mar 10 - 11:31 AM
gnomad 04 Mar 10 - 11:38 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 04 Mar 10 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,mg 04 Mar 10 - 12:38 PM
Smedley 04 Mar 10 - 12:39 PM
Bill D 04 Mar 10 - 12:45 PM
Smedley 04 Mar 10 - 12:52 PM
Bert 04 Mar 10 - 01:34 PM
Little Hawk 04 Mar 10 - 01:43 PM
GUEST,HiLo 04 Mar 10 - 01:44 PM
Lizzie Cornish 1 04 Mar 10 - 01:45 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 04 Mar 10 - 02:23 PM
SPB-Cooperator 04 Mar 10 - 02:25 PM
Will Fly 04 Mar 10 - 02:56 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 Mar 10 - 03:02 PM
MikeL2 04 Mar 10 - 03:11 PM
skipy 04 Mar 10 - 03:48 PM
Little Hawk 04 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 Mar 10 - 05:31 PM
Little Hawk 04 Mar 10 - 05:55 PM
skipy 04 Mar 10 - 05:58 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 04 Mar 10 - 06:08 PM
skipy 04 Mar 10 - 06:20 PM
Jack Blandiver 04 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM
artbrooks 04 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM
Little Hawk 04 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM
skipy 04 Mar 10 - 07:52 PM
Joe_F 04 Mar 10 - 08:42 PM
Little Hawk 04 Mar 10 - 08:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 04 Mar 10 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 04 Mar 10 - 09:59 PM
MGM·Lion 04 Mar 10 - 10:28 PM
Ed T 04 Mar 10 - 10:54 PM
GUEST,Guest from Sanity 05 Mar 10 - 01:44 AM
theleveller 05 Mar 10 - 03:25 AM
Davetnova 05 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM
GUEST,kendall 05 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM
Little Hawk 05 Mar 10 - 08:13 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 05 Mar 10 - 08:27 AM
Amergin 05 Mar 10 - 09:02 AM
MikeL2 05 Mar 10 - 09:07 AM
Dave the Gnome 05 Mar 10 - 09:32 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 05 Mar 10 - 09:50 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Mar 10 - 10:14 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 05 Mar 10 - 10:17 AM
MikeL2 05 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 05 Mar 10 - 10:38 AM
Riginslinger 05 Mar 10 - 10:41 AM
Richard Bridge 05 Mar 10 - 02:06 PM
Richard Bridge 05 Mar 10 - 02:12 PM
Gurney 05 Mar 10 - 02:53 PM
glueman 05 Mar 10 - 02:54 PM
Joe Offer 05 Mar 10 - 02:57 PM
RTim 05 Mar 10 - 03:31 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,conrad 05 Mar 10 - 05:23 PM
GUEST 05 Mar 10 - 05:26 PM
Joe Offer 05 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM
John P 05 Mar 10 - 07:41 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 05 Mar 10 - 08:56 PM
*#1 PEASANT* 05 Mar 10 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,clumper 05 Mar 10 - 09:02 PM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 10 - 05:22 AM
glueman 06 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM
the Folk Police 06 Mar 10 - 06:01 AM
Bounty Hound 06 Mar 10 - 06:11 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 10 - 06:23 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 06:38 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 06 Mar 10 - 07:19 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 06 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 10 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Bardan 06 Mar 10 - 09:01 AM
Ruth Archer 06 Mar 10 - 09:23 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 10:23 AM
MikeL2 06 Mar 10 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 06 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM
*#1 PEASANT* 06 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM
the Folk Police 06 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM
GUEST 06 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM
the Folk Police 06 Mar 10 - 01:00 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 06 Mar 10 - 01:17 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 02:01 PM
Howard Jones 06 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 02:27 PM
Bettynh 06 Mar 10 - 02:33 PM
the Folk Police 06 Mar 10 - 02:37 PM
Artful Codger 06 Mar 10 - 03:41 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 06 Mar 10 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,jeff 06 Mar 10 - 04:41 PM
the Folk Police 06 Mar 10 - 05:08 PM
Howard Jones 06 Mar 10 - 06:02 PM
Leadfingers 06 Mar 10 - 07:00 PM
sed 06 Mar 10 - 11:43 PM
Backwoodsman 07 Mar 10 - 01:47 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 07 Mar 10 - 02:02 AM
Spleen Cringe 07 Mar 10 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 07 Mar 10 - 09:40 AM
Bettynh 07 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM
Tim Leaning 07 Mar 10 - 12:21 PM
Richard Bridge 07 Mar 10 - 03:40 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 07 Mar 10 - 03:51 PM
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Subject: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:31 AM

Ok you hear it from folks all the time- we are under paid. Hardly enough to survive.
Its a small group.....
Cant find new members....
Another folk club bites the dust....
Children aren't learning the songs....
There is a lack of interest.

Why is this the case?
WWW What went Wrong?

(No I will not accept the answer that people have evolved- ask Darwin it takes thousands of years for brains to change)

(I will also not accept the view that its all outdated and will never work- our folk treasures now existing and to come are timeless)

I know its not my fault as I have not been running anything.

So I guess something is terribly wrong if the folk market is still so small 50 some years after the folk revival.

This is not to say that it hasn't grown but that it has not grown enough.

I research write and publish books relating to folklore.....people are always telling me they will never sell. I tell them I don't mind but the work has to be done. But...why do I inherit a situation where folk is not a bigger market.

I guess this is because it has been terribly mis managed by of course, the people now doing it or in central roles over the past 50 years. They are not getting some things right enough to raise all boats far enough.

At the bottom line exposure to the music, preservation of the music and creation of new music doesnt happen as much as it should- We are not maximizing our abilities and opportunities when we do not constantly widen the market.

I would not put the blame on any one of the dimensions of the folk world.

Lots of dimensions- ordinary participants, professional participants, collectors, publishers, writers. They all have a role to play and they all have to cooperate.

Now I could lay out areas where I think there are problems but I think it more helpful if those working in these dimensions scratch their heads a bit. What I dont want to see are countless statements like"its always been and always will be"

Our current capitolist world is constantly showing us that people will buy anything. Look at all those products out there. The difference is proper marketing and cultivation rather than alienation of the potential market.

So what is being done wrong that has stunted the growth of the folk world and markets?

I want this solved before my next expensive huge research effort book in many volumes comes out :)

Remember its what has been done wrong that is behind this so be honest- lay it out so that it might be corrected. And that means everyone in the Biz. or in folk culture. We are all screwing things up somehow and it is not really necessary to continue to make such mistakes where is change needed!

Conrad


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:44 AM

How long do you have? ;0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MikeL2
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:01 AM

hi lizzie

I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday....lol

regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:09 AM

Because one of the ....ummmm.... 'features' of folk is that, like egg painting and curling and collecting samples of barbed wire, it does not feel the need to appeal to the majority of people..(who, in large groups, tend to distort and muddy the basic points to fit their personal ideas of what music SHOULD be.)

It is already the case that the definition of 'folk' has been expanded and diluted so that $$$$ can be made by people who are bored by the basics, but like the idea of not needing expensive costumes & huge speaker systems to put out some sort of vague approximation of what they think it's all about.....and then to gratuitously change certain components in order to have the NEW pieces identified with them.

(No...they don't all do this as a 'plan'. Many are quite unaware of how they are warping the process thru mass media.)


Any more questions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,clumper
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:18 AM

Because there are far too many folk performers who are smug, insular, boring, and creatively sterile.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: folkandroots
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:31 AM

lack of interest?

Doesn't seem so to me where I'm sat in Central London, indeed within a mile of where I live I can think of at least four new folk (and I mean folk not acoustic) events that have started within the last couple of years and maintained a regular audience and presence and I get the impression that there have been a similar emergence of new nights, events in other parts of the country.

Also depending on how you measure Markets but if the number of folk recordings or attendees at festivals and events is anything to go by, seems relatively healthy to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: gnomad
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 11:38 AM

They don't make diamonds as big as coal bricks.

Look at what is popular these days; you will see a very large proportion of what we might charitably term 'dross'. To have the good taste to prefer folk is evidently to be part of a minority.

This minority is small, but beautifully formed. If folk were to change enough to please the majority I strongly suspect that its worthwhile aspects would be lost in the process.

Luckily although much of the world entertainment scene operates on truly democratic lines (everyone gets what the majority wants) subversion has not yet been completely eliminated, despite such measures as PEL, so we keep right on being special. Future special people will be glad we did.

None of this helps Conrad's quest to make a big commercial success out of folk. Short of culling the entire audience of Big Brother (and similar) then setting out to breed a new generation of replacements I have nothing to suggest. Even that solution (which could be fun) would probably take too long, unless the expensive huge research involves a multi-decade timescale.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:12 PM

Be Careful!

We should start by throwing out and away the concept of manefest destany of minority.

Note also that I am not interested in commercial any more than any other dimension- that is why I noted that there are all kinds of dimensions commercial being only on.

What are these dimensions doing to keep things small minimizing growth.

Are they paying attention to the small things that create big negative environmental impacts upon the whole?

Conrad


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:38 PM

Brains can evolve overnight if everyone with a certain type of brain say was exposed to a virus that only killed that particular type of brain..if all people who could reproduce it are gone there is your evolution. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Smedley
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:39 PM

Because, as gnomad's regrettably supercilious post suggests, most people who proclaim their devotion to 'folk' would HATE it if it became successful. They bask in the warm glow of feeling superior to ''''the masses'''' and wrap themselves in bear-hugs of disdain for mainstream popular culture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bill D
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:45 PM

Oh, it's SO good to know we are superior to the masses and can easily discern the shallowness of "mainstream popular culture."!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Smedley
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 12:52 PM

Failed irony - always a bad sign.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:34 PM

If what you are singing is not appealing to folk, then perhaps it isn't really folk.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:43 PM

It's all because of Madonna!!!! She MUST be stopped!


;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:44 PM

I would think the answer to be fairly simple..not a lot of people like it..same as a lot of people don't like opera, gregorian chant,or much classical music. It does not mean that those who do not like it lack discerning taste, they just have different taste. I also find, in many cases that there is an aura of smug exclusivity in the folk world that makes people feel excluded.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Lizzie Cornish 1
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 01:45 PM

"Because, as gnomad's regrettably supercilious post suggests, most people who proclaim their devotion to 'folk' would HATE it if it became successful. They bask in the warm glow of feeling superior to ''''the masses'''' and wrap themselves in bear-hugs of disdain for mainstream popular culture."

Actually, for English folk, that's it in a nutshell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:23 PM

I would go with the "don't like it" excuse but how many can afford to like "grand opera"

How can you like something that is not sold in the record stores or played on the radio.

Or for that matter costs more than your remaining disposable income as some concerts, conventions and festivals do.


Conrad


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:25 PM

It depends how/where folk is performed. out in public there is a lot of interest, even if it is largely non-participatory, but if folkies hide away i small back rooms, performing to there peers, what is there then to interest the public?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Will Fly
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 02:56 PM

Actually - who gives a shit? It doesn't matter what genre of music you play. And, unless you're intent on making a living from it, it doesn't matter whether that genre of music is "popular" or not. What matters above all else is that you play music that appeals to you, that touches your heart, that you love.

I've played all kinds of music over a period of 45 years. Some of it made me a lot of money - some of it made no money whatsoever - but all of it has been fun and I've always loved what I've played. Why do it else?

So please let's not have yet another thread on whether "folk music" - whatever the f*ck that is - is small/large/popular/hated/blah-blah-blah. Just play the music you love and stop banging on about it.

And if you can't find a suitable environment in which to make your music, then take up your bed and make your own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:02 PM

There is of course one very significant problem with getting folk music out into the mainstream, where people might have the chance to learn about it.

The Music Industry.

The fact that traditional music is in the public domain, and contemporary music is now firmly the intellectual property of the composer, means that the industry moguls can neither control it, nor steal it.

They would have to give up the piratical attitudes of a lifetime, and that is not about to happen.

Why is it that the public are not listening to a new "Beatles", "Stones", or "Pink Floyd"?

Because nobody creating material the studios can't own, will get airplay on Radio or TV.

There are one or two DJs who resist, and choose their own playlists, but even they have to play acertain amount of Simon Cowell pap, to earn a living.

The internet will change that, but it is hard to make those changes quickly when competing against so many genres with a head start.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MikeL2
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:11 PM

hi will

Yes yes !!!! I like it.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: skipy
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 03:48 PM

Pigs eat swill because it is poured out for them day after day & they are happy with their swill & they don't have to think about or do anything, it just keeps on appearing for them.
Radio churns out swill by the skip load, so the listeners take it onboard day after day, no thought, no effort it is just there for them.
After all, radio presenters must know what they are talking about, so they must be right they are paid loads to be in the know about what is good for the listeners!
Pigs will never ask "where was this food before they gave it to us" what they don't know is that it was a few miles up the road in a very expensive, exclusive venue before it got scaped from expensive plates & mixed in a bucket then poured into their trough.
Skipy
However? Do we want all those pigs in our rerstaurant?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 04:43 PM

You are so right, Skipy. And so is Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:31 PM

I'm with you skipy, up to the final sentence.

No! We don't want all of them, just the ones who would be inspired by the beauty of the music. We do however have to let them all see and hear what it's about, else we won't know which are the ones we want.

The sows ears will rule themselves out, because the menu won't agree with them. The silk purses, we'll keep.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:55 PM

I think back fondly sometimes to the days long before radio and TV...when all you had in the world was live music. Nothing else comes close to live music, and when you see a live performance right there in front of you, you know how good it is. That's where all the traditional music of the past came from: live music.

You can't beat that.

What we have now is a few huge commercial marketing and media corporations which prepackage and sell canned music...and God knows what has been done to it in terms of effects, sampling, dubbing, lip-synching, etc....what a shame.

Bob Dylan has been railing against what has happened to recorded music for decades now. I know exactly how he feels about that. Most of it's just not real anymore. It's been homogenized, pasteurinzed, and bastardized to the point where it's not worth listening to.

But...there are still diamonds in the swill here and there, if you look hard enough for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: skipy
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 05:58 PM

I have spent the last 39 years telling people about folk music by running clubs & festival + folkforms since 1971 many of the people in the folk world today & at folk concerts are a direct result of my efforts. When I opened RAF Brize Norton Folk Club Back in 1977 it was on a pay on the way out basis if you enjoyed it, within a few weeks there was a queue EVERY week to pay to go in. Those catters who come to folkforms will agree that nowadays most of the audience are people from Grove & surrounding towns & villages that have come because I have worked on them year in & year out until they make it a definate date in their annual diary & bring their friends, so YES I AM for sharing, relentlessly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:08 PM

Attaboy Skip. 50 years now, for me, and I feel the same way.

Don T


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: skipy
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:20 PM

I am also involved as a committee member with White Horse Ceilidls, so is no 1 son & wife, we are all committee members. The mission of our Ceilidhs is to bring folk dance to a new & young audience & it IS working!
See websites for folkforms, whitehorse folk festival & whitehorse ceilidhs.
Bearing in mind that I am not a folkie!
Skipy


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM

Pigs eat swill because it is poured out for them day after day & they are happy with their swill & they don't have to think about or do anything, it just keeps on appearing for them.

I would have said was more true of Folk than any other genre of music. That's why the market is so small - because it's 96.2% pigswill. As for the other 3.8% - it just is what it is for the love of it & doesn't give a feck either way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: artbrooks
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:50 PM

Whatever makes you think that folk (whatever that is) is a small market? It is a huge market, with many small niches. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of separate folk genres, each of which has its own advocates and following. Some people restrict their participation and listening to one or a few, while others have much broader tastes. Should 99 of these go away so that the 100th can have the entire listening audience? Never going to happen, for too many reasons to list here.

Likewise there are hundreds of thousands of folk CDs available and hundreds (at least) of radio stations play folk music. Granted, you may have to resort to internet radio to hear most of them, but they are available...some are available only on line. The BBC alone must have two dozen or more. Most of this music is not "homogenized, pasteurized, and bastardized" by any means...consider, if nothing else, all of the Mudcatters who have produced CDs! My most recent CD Baby order was for three Mudcatter CDs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 06:54 PM

Having been to folk festivals where about 85 to 90% of the live acts I saw were great...I can't agree with your very pessimistic view of the Folk scene, O man with the unpronouncable name... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: skipy
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 07:52 PM

S************* o**************8 you are going to the wrong places or just trying to start a fight, which is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Joe_F
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:42 PM

Our ancestors put up with folk music because they could not find anything worse to listen to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 08:51 PM

LOL!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 09:18 PM

I think there's an element of truth in what Bill D said. There are folkies who seem to take it as a badge of honor that the music isn't widely accepted. The biggest threat to folk music in their minds would probably be if it became popular again. Exclusive clubs don't open doors to the masses.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 09:59 PM

When folk music 'evolved' (or dissolved), into political protest songs, when the issues were either out dated or out grown, a lot of 'folk song artists' just kept on singing and playing in the same puerile mode, thinking they were being some sort of 'purists'. So, it got boring...BUT, a great picker, and song smith, is ALWAYS a pleasure to listen to(or be). Talent seems to have been replaced by wanna-be's, 'Johnnie-come-lately's '.....like the only people to be wowed by them are some sort of nostalgia buffs.

Music is music, is a gift...and doesn't have to be dated. But trying to recapture the 'better times' (of our youth), has very little relevance, to the new energy of living the cutting edge of the moment...therefore, dead.

Oh well..
GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:28 PM

··· That's why the market is so small - because it's 96.2% pigswill. As for the other 3.8% - it just is what it is for the love of it ···

Thanks for reminder Sweeney. But this is place to quote Sturgeon's Law [sc Theodore Sturgeon, distinguished sf writer]: viz ~

"90% of Science Fiction is crap because 90% of EVERYTHING is crap".

Incontrovertible. & universally adaptable and applicable.

Including here...


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ed T
Date: 04 Mar 10 - 10:54 PM

My observation is music is in a cycle, much like fashon. As an example, take ties. You can save the old ties, and the width eventually comes back....but they never quite look the same as the new ones. There are some people, though a small number, that hold firmly onto the past, like the old ties,but it's often a small niche group.

Music changes. I like the classic country, but realize I am more of a minority each day. New country sounds different...and I can take it, but it's not like the classic stuff to me. You know, the stuff we grew up listening to.

Music is also partially social. Society and generations change and the the music changes with it. There are cases where a newer generation rediscovers or homors older music styles (for example, with Johnny Cash with the popular movie, or, Urban Cowboy bringing back an interest in Country) ....but, if it does not evolve with them, they move on.

So, if a music style does not evolve with the generations, it faces a possibility of being like latin..a dead language that few speck.an important Folk will always be an important part of musics roots .


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 01:44 AM

Oh yeah,..and if this present administration gets all it wants, acoustic guitars is all that musicians would be able to afford,..until they need to replace their strings!
GfS


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: theleveller
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:25 AM

"Actually - who gives a shit? It doesn't matter what genre of music you play. And, unless you're intent on making a living from it, it doesn't matter whether that genre of music is "popular" or not. What matters above all else is that you play music that appeals to you, that touches your heart, that you love."

Exactly my sentiments.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Davetnova
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:43 AM

I think The clue is in the word folk. Its music that people enjoy playing and singing. The commercial side, I would conjecture, is not folk, it is performance and art music. Folk is alive and in the hands it always was - the "folk" who play it. Money and exposure and commercialism have nothing to do with "folk" music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:47 AM

It's been my experience that folk music fans are a cut above the rest in IQ, so, maybe it's simply that folk music requires more than a teaspoon full of brains to appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:13 AM

Well, they certainly pay more attention to the lyrics. I consider that a good sign. It means there are some tenants on the top floors of the building.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:27 AM

"It's been my experience that folk music fans are a cut above the rest in IQ, so, maybe it's simply that folk music requires more than a teaspoon full of brains to appreciate it."

On the one hand there does seem to be quite a high proportion of graduates and professionals who are folk enthusiasts. One might attribute this to the lower 'accessability' of tradfolk, in that it's unfamiliar to the ear so perhaps less easy to consume than contemporary styles and it also requires a certain degree of purposeful research to explore it. On the other hand, regular folk without a specialist interest in tradfolk or indeed any prior exposure to it, can respond extremely well to hearing it for the first time. So I think it's really just about the extremely low presence of traditional material in mainstream media and absence of it's presence in education and so-on that has led to it quite simply not being known about by most people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Amergin
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:02 AM

Well, when people hear the term "folk music" they immediately think of Peter, Paul, and Mary, Joan Baez, the purposeful obscurity by egomaniac remnants of the beats, Bob Dylan and his desperate clones, peace, love, we shall overcome, let's all hold hands, kiss everyone's ass, bad ballad singers who sing songs 50 verses long, they think of the dreck that is shoved down our aural throats by the corporate media in the guise of Celtic Woman, Celtic thunder, Daniel O'Connell, Irish Rovers, or the bland college groups from the 60's.

what they don't realise is the history (however fallacious it may be), the violence of murders, wars, rapes, or the sexual nature hidden beneath the words, or the tune itself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MikeL2
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:07 AM

hi kendall

<" It's been my experience that folk music fans are a cut above the rest in IQ, so, maybe it's simply that folk music requires more than a teaspoon full of brains to appreciate it.">.

It depends how you define "rest". I don't think that aficionados of classical music, opera and ballet will agree with you.

Hope you are feeling better.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:32 AM

I am not at all sure it is such a small market. Mumford and Sons at number 10 in the UK album chart seems to indicate that there are a lot of people buying some folk albums at least. Ronan Keating recording Dougie McLeans 'Caledonia' makes me think that popular artits see folk as a new medium. More folk being played on mainstream radio than I have ever heard before makes me think that the planners have realised there is mass market appeal.

Of course we could get into the 'is it folk music?' argument but do we realy want another one of those? And take no notice of anyone saying that they don't want folk to suceed in the UK. It simply isn't true. No-one I know begrudges anyone sucess provided they keep their integrity in doing so. Changing styles and selling out to get sucess is another matter altogether.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:50 AM

There seem to be quite a few comments which tend to indicate that it is small because it needs to be small or it cant get bigger. A rather hopeless point of view.

I have seen numerous posts on many threads from musicians that claim to want to have more exposure....its generally "we really dont make enough money don't you know".

So how do we help these good people if so many think that growth of the market is inherently "anti folk"?

Why is growth of the market important- Folk traditions, compositions, music, tunes, verse....is best preserved in real life in the minds and voices of the people. To think that it is preserved in books and on line is an illusion. Thats what I do- collect this stuff up and organize and publish it.

I could go on not caring and watch the market decline or expand artificially slowly due to bad strategies or I could find ways to get bad strategies modified to provide for more growth.

This is not made easier by the perception that exclusivity is here to stay.

How would you suggest folklorists, venue operators, musicians, singers, songwriters....every one in the food chain change their assumptions and strategies to foster growth?

There are many dimensions of the folk world how do we help them all to coordinate their work so that there is a net positive impact upon the folk environment as a whole?"

Rememer that commercial success is only one dimension. Each time a folkie comes out in public views of other potential folkies are influenced.

How can we engineer the perceptions of our universe. Whatever has happened over the last 50 years has not actually done it so change is perhaps called for. What change would that be then?

Conrad


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:14 AM

MikeL2 - those other genres. Let's see how big their fans are when they are not standing on their wallets.

There may be another reason many never take to folk - it is taught to them in schools. As the American folk song says "Never marry a teacher, and here's the reason why: she blown her nose in cornbread and calls it pumpkin pie".


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:17 AM

Because we think we're better than the common folk who created the music?

Folk elitism is the ultimate oxymoron.

Let me outta here!

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MikeL2
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:37 AM

Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Richard Bridge - PM
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:14 AM

hi richard

<"MikeL2 - those other genres. Let's see how big their fans are when they are not standing on their wallets">.

Ouch !! I was not identifying with them I was just trying to say that they probably would not agree with "folkies" having higher IQ's.

On the other hand it could be that the high IQs are responsible in some way for the lack of recognition for *folk music. They are too busy thinking instead of taking part.

I think you have a point though about teachers.

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:38 AM

Ronan Keating recording Dougie McLeans 'Caledonia' makes me think that popular artits see folk as a new medium

I wouldn't think so. Caledonia is a popular song in Ireland, through Dolores Keane's recording I suppose (I think her brother Seán had a go at it as well). So it's just another song to take up. I don't think I would think of it as 'folk'music at all, to be honest (but let's not go there).


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Riginslinger
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 10:41 AM

It's like literary fiction. The reader (listener) has to put out an effort to engage it. It doesn't work for elevator music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:06 PM

It would be easy to turn this back into a thread about definition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:12 PM

Come to think about it, why is this BS?

Don't we have to know what folk is before we can say what the size of it's market is? Surely the issue as in the European Law definition of a market share is about cross-price elasticity of demand, or facility of substitution. (Translation for non-competition lawyers, does one talk about a monopoly in the market for fruit, or the market for bananas? At what point, if restrictive practices drive up the cost of bananas will people buy oranges or apples in stead).

If you take the views of Louis Armstrong (now we know why they called him Satchmo - he had a mouth bigger than was good for him) there is a large market for folk.

If you take the 1954 definition, then the music is community music and not part of the market place (to a large extent).


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Gurney
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:53 PM

It's a small market because not many people like it, or perhaps, don't feel comfortable with it. Everything else comes down to the reasons why they don't.

How about that! I just agreed with every poster so far!


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: glueman
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:54 PM

If it was really community music everyone would know all the words and there'd be spontaneous outbursts after Sunday tea and down the boozer at closing time.
It's as exotic and rarified a taste as any other listening cul de sac which is why the people who like it, like it. Me included. If they pumped it out eight hours a day like communist era Radio Sofia, we'd be sitting in clubs playing Chickory Tip and Sailor 45s and nodding sagely.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 02:57 PM

Yeah, this shouldn't be a BS thread - I've moved it to the music section. And I suppose I should crosslink it to the what-is-folk threads, but we'll see about that later....

But isn't there something wrong with asking about folk music as a market? I think of folk as do-it-yourself music, not a commercial product. It's supposed to be the self-expression of a community, not a marketable commodity.


Still, I suppose if it doesn't make it in the marketplace nowadays, it doesn't get known at all.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: RTim
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 03:31 PM

Because - That's the way we like it!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 04:15 PM

In a nutshell, because, unlike most other genres, a large percentage of it is non-commercial. For a large MARKET you need a larger percentage of the whole to be commercial. Take a festival like Whitby. A large percentage of the people involved are not on the make, simple!


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,conrad
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:23 PM

Why have those in a position to market folk not accomplished their mission of making commercial a larger percentage?

and for that matter all dimensions of folk larger.....

I am beginning to think that they simply dont want to and that keeps everything underachieving.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:26 PM

Yes market is a difficult world but it is probably many markets one commercial one do it yourself- but what has stunted the growth of all of them to the point that musicians are always complaining that they dont make enough and things are so exclusive that costs for the audience and fans are high. if the folk world would be bigger then access would be less expensive.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 05:41 PM

Every once in a while, I've gone to a concert of a well-known performer - Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, and Bob Dylan, to name three. Nowadays, tickets for these performers cost about fifty dollars, not including parking and the fee you have to pay for the privilege of buying a ticket. You have to wait in line to get in, and you have to bring binoculars if you actually want to see the performer's face. Oh, and you have your belongings searched and your body frisked as you enter the door.

Paul Simon and Bonnie Raitt were wonderful, and I'm glad I saw them. Bob Dylan was a total ripoff - fifty bucks for a 45-minute set, and a sloppy performance. I really wanted to see Doc Watson; but it would have cost me sixty bucks, so I skipped it.

I can go to a folk concert in a small venue for $10 to $20, with free parking and a seat within 50 feet of the performer. I can chat with the performers, and I often know half the people in the audience. I can afford to go to folk concerts once or twice a month, and I always enjoy them thoroughly. Why would I want folk music to be a commercial success, serving a huge market?

Not only that - "popular" music is a star-oriented market, and only a very few musicians "make it big." Other pop musicians play backup or collect unemployment, and probably don't make any more money than folk musicians do. My son has a punk rock band, and regularly performs for audiences of maybe 1,500 people. He brings in a lot of money at the gate, but much of that goes for transportation and managers and agents and all that. He still doesn't make enough to be able to afford health insurance. I think it might be a better life to have a full-time, paying job and do music for the love of it. That's what I did - and I can afford health insurance. I admit that he has thousands of YouTube videos and I have only one, but I've had a hell of a good time making music all my life.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: John P
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 07:41 PM

I'm lucky enough to live in Seattle, a veritable Mecca of folk music. There are multiple dances, open mics, jams, sessions, and concerts every evening. If you went to the mainstream media to find it, you would assume there was no folk music here.

What is the measure of success? What is the definition of a market? In Seattle there is a huge Irish contingent, thousands of singer-songwriters, tons of Balkan players and dancers, bluegrass everywhere you turn, world music, Scandinavian music and dance on tap, a lively blues scene, hundreds of old-time banjo players, Asian music galore, South American, Native American, Cuban. And everything in between and around the edges. I call it extremely successful and a vast market, even though no one is making any money at it. A large majority of folk music events are participatory; perhaps this is why, compared to other genres of music and dance, folk isn't a mass market. I wish it was easier for the outsider to find, but anyone who looks for a few days will find the door.

I hope that anyone waiting for normal folk music to fill football stadiums isn't holding their breath.

John


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 08:56 PM

bet I couldnt afford a beer with music in seattle let alone a cover charge


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:00 PM

Joe-

I get the point but commercial accessibility is only one part of the whole.

It could be bigger in all of music's many dimensions if someone would propose and implement a few simple changes.

Doesnt mean commercial butthere are things that folk musicians are doing that limit accessibility.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,clumper
Date: 05 Mar 10 - 09:02 PM

"I hope that anyone waiting for normal folk music to fill football stadiums isn't holding their breath."


however, for a few years back in the early 70's ????

..so how come pop culture & market conditions were so favourably different
for the likes of Lindisfarne and Steeleye Span
and the rest of the chart topping & crowd pulling UK trad folk rock scene ????


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:22 AM

"But isn't there something wrong with asking about folk music as a market? I think of folk as do-it-yourself music, not a commercial product. It's supposed to be the self-expression of a community, not a marketable commodity."

This is key. If you are measuring folk music's "success" using a yardstick of commercial popularity, perhaps your terms of reference are wrong.

My definition of "success" for folk music would be a much more grass-roots, bottom-up definition. In putting folk education projects into schools I have always been interested in making folk activity just another part of kids' lives - putting it on the radar, and hopefully giving them some of the tools to participate outside of school. In a perfect world, I'd like to see this sort of thing happening in most UK schools. Folk music, for these kids, is a normal part of their lives; it's part of the culture of their school. It's just what they do. Some former students have gone on to perform in the Demon Barber Road Show and in other professional contexts, but for me, and I suspect for Liza who has run the project for the past 30 years, that is less important than the fact that, unlike most schools, the majority of children have access to multiple instrumental tuition, and to traditional forms of dance, throughout their school lives. Does it matter whether they will go on to perform professionally? Surely the core of folk is not what happens on big commercial stages, it's about people having the skills and the cultural reference points to make their own music, which these kids will be able to do for the rest of their lives, if they want to. Of course, groups like The Fosbrooks will open up those kids' awareness to the world of folk music and festivals - so many of them may (and do) later become consumers of the commercial "folk product" as they get older. If this kind of programme wasn't the exception rather than the norm, one could imagine it substantially increasing the actual marketplace for professional folk music, both recorded and live. So it's a win-win.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: glueman
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:42 AM

The contradiction is tied up with wish fulfilment. For folk to be 'folk' it should be immediate, culturally embedded, instinctive, universal. In reality it's intellectual, top down, exotic, fractured. Selling it on the heritage angle is misplaced IMO, you'd have more chance of making it popular on its utter weirdness to contemporary sensibilities.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: the Folk Police
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 06:01 AM

Why is folk such a small market?

Define market.

Give me a chaotic, vibrant, slightly anarchic souk over a branch of Megalo-Mart any day.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bounty Hound
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 06:11 AM

Two issues, I think, one being that the English, as a race have no pride in our national heritage, unlike other cultures and ethnic origins, who, rightly so, are fiercly proud of their heritage and enjoy preserving that heritage. Morris dancing for instance, is so often the object of derision, yet we will lap up a display of traditional dance from another culture.

I have no idea how this problem is solved, but somehow we need to encourage a healthy interest in our own rich tradition, to go alongside respect and admiration for those of others.

The other issue is the media. How often is there folk music or dance on television or radio? I am sure that the mass population 'like' the music they listen to because they are 'told' by the media that this is what they must like. A little 'for instance' Our local BBC station, Radio Suffolk, has just introduced a weekly 'BBC Introducing' broadcast, to quote, they will be bringing music from unsigned artists 'across the genres' the show has been running now for about five months and guess what, no folk, no jazz, just rock and electronica. Now there's a surprise. Pete Jennings used to present a regular Folk show on Radio Suffolk but that ceased several years ago.

When we do a pub gig with The Bounty Hounds, more often than not to what you would call a 'non folk' audience, you can see that people are obviously enjoying themselves and appreciating the music but ask those people in the morning whether they like folk music...........(I appreciate that as a folk/rock band we are not 'pure' folk music, but our material is largely traditionally based)

There's my thoughts on the symptoms, no idea of the cure, answers on a postcard to........

John


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 06:23 AM

Bounty Hound: the pride we see in, say, Irish or Scottish music isn't necessarily the "unbroken heritage" we sometimes perceive it to be. There have been Irish and Scottish revivals, and both of those cultures once regarded their traditions with similar derision to that currently found in England. So I think there is still hope for a wider English revival. To be honest, the time has never seemed better in the 20 years I've been living here - the conditions are pretty encouraging.

I think it's telling that both of my village's "folk" bands play Irish pub music - for most people, any folk music is Irish, and that's largely to do with the commercial success of the Irish revival. However, one of the bands has just discovered Bellowhead. Consequently, songs like Fakenham Fair and Prickle-eye Bush are now being introduced into their repertoire. In addition to loving Bellowhead's arrangements and Jon Boden's singing, Simon (who runs the band) really likes it that these are not hackneyed, over-played songs like most of the pub Irish canon, but have their own vibrancy and freshness. He feels like he's discovered this hidden treasure trove.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 06:38 AM

"I think there is still hope for a wider English revival."

Yeppers, it looks very promising. But from seeing what's happening with the EFDSS and the Folk degree and so-on I think it'll be a different beast to the 60's revival. Hopefully it'll be less romantic and more enduring (ie: it's fortunes less bound up with popular commercial music trends), laying down solid foundations for future 'post revival' generations to gain ready access to, and knowledge of, their folk musical heritage.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 07:19 AM

Fresh presentation of the music from the songwriters and arranger dimension is moving along. It is important to discover new sounds- I have been following Inge Thompson. I can't find radio convenient and local and ordinary so I follow three or four UK folk programs- Sunday Folk regularly introduces new sounds.

This is a good foundation but it must be widely accessible and that means managing costs and spreading out the overhead.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 07:24 AM

Access to the material is also moving along. The folklife center of the Library of congress as well as EFDSS are great resources for reserch. On line archives of song such as the ones I have put together are also making things easier.

Getting people in the door of such places is a challenge. From the position of the ordinary person wondering if they should take up music folk musicians often seem to be elevated, on stage, performing set off by costume. Often at festivals they arrive play and depart without making much of an impact.

There is often a concern that quality has to be perfect and that makes being accepted much more challenging. A person starting out needs to be assured that no matter how a song is played that it is played is most important and that quality is secondary. New people must feel that they are good enough to join in.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 08:37 AM

"folk musicians often seem to be elevated, on stage, performing set off by costume."

costume?! Maybe in America...?

"Often at festivals they arrive play and depart without making much of an impact."

Again, this must be an American phenomenon. At many English festivals the performers play or sing in sessions, pootle around, watch other performances - folk performers have to be some of the most accessible in the industry.

Still - lack of accessibility never prevented millions being inspired by Dylan and his ilk, and taking up the guitar in response. Again, the industrialised end of "folk" isn't what concerns me so much. I'm much more interested in as many kids as possible being taught that vital thing we've lost in just a couple of generations: music isn't just something to go and watch other people do on a stage, and it isn't just a commodity to be used to gain fame - it's about participation. To be honest, I wouldn't be that bothered about what kids were playing or singing, so long as lots of them were doing it. That's folk.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Bardan
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 09:01 AM

I think in a funny way the revival might have shot itself in the foot. Instead of getting young people to play and getting people involved long term in their heritage while it was cool it generated really good bands who played good arrangements of folk songs. Great at the time, but given a decade or two it's just what those smelly old hippies were into. Add to this a slightly curatorial approach which tries to perfectly preserve music in a state in which it was never encountered and stifles creativity, and you've got a massive turn off.
On the positive side, every now and then someone really good and creative wanders onto the scene and produces great music. (And some bunch of rigidly anal retentive slightly bitter purists object but most people enjoy it and maybe start looking at other artists in the genre.) Add to that the fact that the whole handing down the music thing can still happen and give songs and tunes a huge emotional weight when they were already far richer than a lot of pop and theres hope at least.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 09:23 AM

"Add to this a slightly curatorial approach which tries to perfectly preserve music in a state in which it was never encountered and stifles creativity, and you've got a massive turn off."

I am always intrigued by this allegation. Can you give some examples?


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 10:23 AM

"Instead of getting young people to play and getting people involved long term in their heritage while it was cool it generated really good bands who played good arrangements of folk songs. Great at the time, but given a decade or two it's just what those smelly old hippies were into."

I think that this summation, while not flattering, is possibly fairly accurate. Kids are *by and large* never into what was cool for their Grandparents. Bar fits of retro chic, they create their own cool and so they should too. On top of that the revival spawned an entire multi-tentacled 'genre' of easy listening acoustic music which adopted the 'folk' label. So while the popular and commercial elements of singer / songwriter contemporary folk endure still, the traditional material which initially inspired the revival, ultimately ended up submerged and largely forgotten within the genre. More recently there appears to be a growing trend for young bands to return to the well-spring - which is all well and good. Yet it will pass, as do all popular trends. In the long term however, this flush of fresh interest could represent a useful turning point in encouraging the powers that be, to recognise traditional music as a valid area of public interest worthy of some formal backing and support to ensure that it doesn't get lost to public view again. Hells bells, if I had to read bluddy Susan Cooper and Ted Hughs 'for my own good', why not a bit of traditional song?

"Add to this a slightly curatorial approach which tries to perfectly preserve music in a state in which it was never encountered and stifles creativity, and you've got a massive turn off."

I tend to disagree on this point. I've found the folk traditionalists I've encountered on this forum and in person, to be extremely encouraging and supportive. Sure there are 'characters' amongst them and some will express annoyance at things not being done in a way they might prefer - for the *musics* sake. But I came in with an attitude of wanting to learn about something I found new and interesting, and I hope some due respect for others who have probably been working with traditional music in one way or another, for longer than I've been alive. In any event I think with any creative discipline, it's simple sense to get the foundations down before experimenting.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: MikeL2
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 11:26 AM

Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Ruth Archer - PM
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 08:37 AM

hi ruth

Thanks for your interesting and informative contributions to this thread.

< "lack of accessibility never prevented millions being inspired by Dylan and his ilk, and taking up the guitar in response.">

I don't know what influence Dylan's popularity may have had on people being encouraged to pick up the guitar.

In the UK certainly IMHO Lonnie Donnegan was the person that first kindled tthe interest of "ordinary" guys to go out and buy a guitar and play for the first time.

Many great musicians say that they were first inspired by Lonnie. He was certainly the influence on me even though I came slightly after the Skiffle Boom.

I "found" Lonnie among my Dad's record collection and was amazed that for once my Father and I could agree about music.

Regards

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 11:47 AM

Why is everyone making it so complicated?

1. Highbrow music. ie Opera, Symphony Orchestras, Proms, South Bank, Barbican, etc, gets huge amounts of grants from the Arts council/Lottery, etc.
The Traditional music from these islands (well England mainly) gets piss all.

2. As has been mentioned already. Record companies...Sony/Warner/whoever. Don't give a toss about musicians...Never have never will. Just units for sale. X Factor, bums on seats. Don't bother about talent...God forbid.
Teenagers just want to be wannabees nowadays...Fame for fames sake..Doh!

3. The Media, Radio/TV, etc are chasing ratings. Even the BBC (who with the license fee shouldn't need to). So, why bother with niche programming, when they can fill the airwaves withh pretty girl/boy bands all airbrushed up, with session musicians providing the backings for a pittance.

4. Yes there are Web Sites that provide stuff. but, honestly, who has really got the time to seek them out? 20? 30? 40?
You need millions of listeners/watchers to make a difference. It just isn't ever going to happen.

5. Yes, here in the UK, Festivals seem to be doing reasonably well, with a new influx of youngsters coming in to the scene. Jolly good too. But, in all honesty, the income is not going to compete with the government subsidies given to the "Arts". Yes, of course there are many people fighting the cause for funding, whether it be for the Academic side, or just hiring some Portaloos for a festival.
Thankless bloody job though.

So why do these people do it? Why do I perform for nothing? (usually)

Because it's worth it.
So, to answer the OP's question.
Nobody in power cares, and nobody in power is rich enough to make a substantial difference.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: *#1 PEASANT*
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 11:50 AM

I too have found those on the archive end most supportive of performance and many do try to capture or restore materials to the state when originally performed. There is a lot going on especially when you consider the tiny budgets.

The problem comes when you try to key in the folk with the surrounding culture. How does one project it into daily life deep enough so it will remain and grow.

These days it is difficult to get one's children to do anything. I have found that in my work with the German community of Baltimore. Hardly any if at all home grown musicians. Music has to be brought in from far away at great cost. Part of the problem is replacing home grown with professional. Home grown music from the family was and is seen as inferior. People would pay money to bring in the few professionals out there so there would be no inspiration for home grown musicians.

Another problem is that the german community is rather closed. When ones kids dont take up the music one has to go outside the family to other groups who are not insiders and that is hard to do while maintaining your genetic/geneological boundaries.

While it is easy to under estimate the state of home grown folk music certainly the formality of the current venues and festivals is not as casual as the hippie/happening model. I do not generally find festivals to be places to find bargains- everything is expensive and generally the atmosphere is a bit stuffy- chairs, formal concert environments.... audiences.....Musicians tend to play and leave without mingling. Yes not everywhere. I wonder too about access to festival stages and vetting processes that might tend to put off the less than professional performer.

One thing that has always amazed me as an anthropologist dedicated the the concept that culture is learned and not genetic is the importance given to genealogy and "heritage". Having to be a member of a genealogically/genetically/dna defined group is often a negative.

My favorite story from teaching Irish Studies is that of a woman who asked me what sort of name Bladey was I told her polish fathers side (dutch on mothers) she suggested that I not being Irish might not be qualified to teach! I told her that it takes an outsider to be objective.

With the changes in the modern family we find ourselves having to make up for it by creating greater accessibility. This means bringing down barriers of all kinds and perceptions of barriers. Many things lock people out or discourage them. Cultural boundaries, the perception of political orientations, costs.

Conrad


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 12:08 PM

"Teenagers just want to be wannabees nowadays...Fame for fames sake..Doh!"

I have a horrible feeling I'm going to cause a poor reaction with these thoughts that follow... I think teenagers in general just want to have something engaging to get into. But if we look at the X Factor culture it's all about a Dream of escape - a media culture fairy tale of 'betterment' that's been born out of 'aspirational' capitalism, where it's no good anymore just to simply be good at what you do and enjoy it. What I like about traditional music is it embodies - historically and in principle - the antithesis of such a divisive ethos of discontent. It embodies a spirit of shared communality over inflated individualism. I believe the UK's working classes in particular, could potentially take to traditional musics with a hunger, if it were rendered more readily accessible to them. What's that SoH song 'Roots'? Educated and sophisticated classes may look down on such simple sentiments as verging on nationalism and even fascism, but for me, I see them as representing very natural and fundamental tribal instincts, which if positively and constructively addressed result in healthy community and if ignored or rendered taboo, result in societal dischord and individual alienation.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: the Folk Police
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 12:56 PM

"This is a chord. This is another. This is a third. Now form a band."

Mark Perry, Sniffin' Glue fanzine 1977


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 12:57 PM

At some point a movie will be made about folksingers and what a wonderful, spiritual, giving, altruistic, narcissistic, fantastic, ....et al world it is. The stars will be handsome and earthy with depth of feeling and a quixotic nature and they'll have names like Maeve or Bronwyn or Nathan or Owen or Xian or Bors. And they'll play really trad instruments except for the sean nos singing chick who'll be the break out star. The sound track will be by obscure but very talented groups from Shetland and Calgary and Lake Baikal or Kamchatka. It will be nominated for 7 Oscars including best song, Rattlesnake Mountain or the recent European hit, Mange La Porta.

And then for awhile folk music will be so popular that little kids from Arizona will be singing real folk songs in languages they don't understand because the tune is catchy. GM will be using Car Car for an advert and the Guthrie Family will suddenly be richer than Davy Crockett. Arlo will record I Don't Want Your Millions Mister and because Arlo is Arlo he will give it away.

And goddamn it will be hot for awhile and everyone will have hootenany parties. And Lowden guitars will start selling instruments in America. Executives will be heard playing harmonicas in their offices. And all those Johnny Come Latelies will be ranting on about discovering that previously unknown artist Kendall Morse, a treal sea captain.

A we can all be sitting here smug as Born Again Christian vegetarians and say "We knew all about it first."

Don


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: the Folk Police
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 01:00 PM

Actually, I'm not sure it was Mark Perry who wrote that.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 01:08 PM

"The stars will ... have names like Maeve or Bronwyn or Nathan or Owen or Xian or Bors."

That's becuase they'll all be kids of monied aspirational parents who send their precocious wee talented progeny to some London based performing arts academy that pumps out well-spoken formulaic little clones to badly act in gritty earthy dramas depicting working-class life.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 01:11 PM

Oh dear, I do sound bitter! But for God's sake, PLEASE someone stop the BBC putting "brilliant young talents" like that on telly!


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 01:17 PM

I didn't think you sounded bitter. Perhaps overly aware. I think the point is marketing decides what is popular. The businessmen are what drives the market.

Ask Pat Sky or Paul Seibel.

Don


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:01 PM

"I didn't think you sounded bitter."

Heh! Nah, of course I'm bitter.. ;-)
Wish I'd have been able to go to a performing arts school as a kid! How brilliant would that be for a show-off?

Truthfully though, I don't know what superduper healthy protien formulas they feed these drama school kids. But whatever it is, it's good for aquiring roles, but bad for acting. Maybe theier Mums whore themselves out to the producers. Hmm? Now there's a plausable scenario! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:15 PM

I'm not sure that folk music demands more intelligence, but it certainly demands more attention.

It appears to me that for most people these days, music is just background noise. It's everywhere, in shops, restaurants, shopping malls. Where it's not playing, people walk around with their iPods plugged in while they do something else.

I find that I can't have folk on as background music. Folk songs tell stories, so you have to pay attention, which distracts you from what you should be doing. You have to sit down and listen to it seriously. Most people aren't used to doing that, and perhaps don't want to.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:27 PM

"people walk around with their iPods plugged in while they do something else."

Yes, I do that all the time.
Folk song for me, is a socially based activity that I enjoy participating in.
I tend not to purchase it, unlike other musics I'm unable to actively participate in. Bar the singaround/session, I think the nearest contemporary analogue to folk music proper, is Karaoke.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bettynh
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:33 PM

It seems to me that folk is a prime example of the Long Tail - a huge market spread over many, sometimes obscure sources. As a consumer, I've spent more cash on folk music in the past 2 years since I started buying online than I spent in the previous 15 years, when buying at music outlets (where almost NO folk was available) or festivals (where I'd already dropped cash just to get there) were my only options.

I'm not entirely sure what that means for performers.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: the Folk Police
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 02:37 PM

Actually, when I walk around with my iPod plugged in, it's foreground not background music. It makes shopping, walking through a busy city centre street, travelling on buses etc a far more pleasant experience. It also means I don't have to compete for the stereo like I do at home.

Even better, it also drowns out the muzak in malls and supermarket. Result!


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 03:41 PM

When I walk around, I sing or whistle. What a concept: for people to make their own music.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 04:18 PM

"Another problem is that the german community is rather closed."

Conrad, are you a latter-day Nazi?
I ask because of the 'Alienating Fascists' thread you started, which I didn't really err 'get'.

Most of the Anglo-Germans I know went through immense abuse as kids because of the war and so-on, but they still hold common humanitarian beliefs. Ironically probably far moreso than their peers of non-Germanic descent.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 04:41 PM

I agree w/Joe Offer. The last concert I went to was Led Zepelin III in 1971. That was enough to cure me from going to big shows. Don't get me wrong I loved the ZEP, but all the ancillary stuff like parking, programs, etc. put me off permanently. As I progressed professionally and was able to see shows from the wings I was inclined even less to go to mega-concerts. There's really no mystery re the performance. That being said I'd LOVE to see Paul McCartney as he's singing his songs in the same keys as when he was in his 20s. That plus he's got a crackerjack band. One of the best performances I've seen in the last 20 years was a bodhran player at the Malt Loaf, Conwy, N. Wales. He was so good all the other singers/players, including me were dwarfed by his genius. For the price of a couple pints of Boddington's...maybe THAT'S why I thought he was so good...

That being said I'd like to think that 'folk' applies to most acoustic based singer-songwriter type music, celtic, bluegrass, etc. and simply doesn't have the VOLUME of electric music, regardless of the genre. It's a niche form much like polka, klezmer, etc. In contemporary folk I think of the brilliance of artists such as Chris Wood(The Cottager's Reply, One In A Million), Gene Burton(If, The Gold Country), Jonatha Brooke(Linger, Careful What You Wish For, I'll Try)or Martin Simpson(ANYTHING!).


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: the Folk Police
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 05:08 PM

Wild, AC! You're not the bloke who was singing his head off on the 86 bus to Chorlton the other night are you?


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 06:02 PM

A recent example of folk which has been commercially successful is Riverdance. A massive international hit for 15 years, with three separate companies touring in America, Asia and Europe, it's been seen by over 2 billion people on TV alone. However to achieve that it has had to create a show which takes it a long way from what I suspect most of us here would regard as authentic folk.

That's the trade-off. Folk works best in small intimate venues. Even medium-sized theatres put up a barrier between the performer and audience. For a performance to work in larger venues it has to be turned into a spectacle, which just takes it further away from what folk really is. It's hard to imagine most folk acts performing in a huge stadium - Bellowhead just possibly, but they're hardly typical of most folk acts.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 07:00 PM

100


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: sed
Date: 06 Mar 10 - 11:43 PM

Why is folk such a small market?   
Because people and their songs are not for sale.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 01:47 AM

"And Lowden guitars will start selling instruments in America"

They already do, have done for years.

http://www.guitargal.com/cgi-bin/search.pl?Make=Lowden


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 02:02 AM

A quick note for Bettynh.
Nowt wrong with buying On Line. The paucity of record shops where this type of music (and I include Jazz, Blues...etc) makes it a simple option from the comfort of your own home.
But could I suggest that instead of frequenting places such as Amazon etc, you could spend a little bit more time googling the artists own websites? Quite a lot of people nowadays have a "Shopping" section, where you can buy stuff. In that way the artist has more chance of getting a bigger slice of your money, rather than paying a middle agent.
And, If my experience is anything to go by, you sometimes get a note included from the artists themselves!
Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 03:17 AM

What Ralphie said. Or buy direct from the websites of folktastic record labels like Topic, Wild Goose, Fellside etc.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 09:40 AM

Hi Backwoodsman,

I know they do(Lowden guitars in America)I was being pithy and sarcastic. Perhaps I should have said Levin guitars but I wasn't sure they were still being made so I went for the easy point.

Don


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Bettynh
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 11:22 AM

The theory of the Long Tail profits Amazon and Itunes, that's true. But it's NOT the point. Mostly it's about availability of small/obscure recordings and discussion/recommendation of them. Mudcat should be a huge part if this. Mose Asche and now Smithsonian are a part. And YouTube.
I don't use Ebay because I distrust PayPal, but I do troll Amazon for used, mostly discontinued CDs.
And I have a complete set of Gamble Roger's CDs because I buy online. If the tapes of Foxhollow Folk Festival of yore were digitized, I'd probably pay a small fortune for download, nevermind CDs. I have hopes that that could happen.
Again, I'm not sure what this means for performers. Keep playing, record when you can, and keep your day job, I guess.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 12:21 PM

"and the rest of the chart topping & crowd pulling UK trad folk rock scene ????"
Doh!


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 03:40 PM

Levin were bought by Martin and closed down.

CS, some pretty decent kids get into RADA and become actors/resses. Gemma Arterton for example was quite a decent kid when she used to act in my late wife's (Jacqui) amateur dramatics group - but if you had been there to read Growler's obit for Jacqui you'd have known (this is not an attack on you, I can see it looks that way and it is not my intent) that it was widely seen as a group for "last chance" kids. However for years it cleaned up in the Duncan Rand festival trophies. It wasn't all middle class kiddies.


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Subject: RE: Why is folk such a small market?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 07 Mar 10 - 03:51 PM

"It wasn't all middle class kiddies."

Sure RB!

I was just mouthing off and having an unwarranted spasm of inverse snobbery - unfortunately I do indulge in it sometimes... :-/


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