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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Howard Jones Dave Bulmer (discussion) (114* d) RE: Dave Bulmer (discussion) 30 Mar 18

It is very difficult to fathom Bulmer's motives. We should be thankful that someone stepped in to the assets when Leader went bust, or they might have ended up in a skip. Were his motives to preserve a catalogue which included some important recordings, or purely financial?

The assets were at least preserved, in the sense that they were not lost or destroyed. However if they are not made widely accessible then what is the point?

He presumably paid something for the assets when Leader went bust, but he seems to have had little idea how to recoup his investment. Yes, he would sell CD-Rs on demand, but he did little or nothing to advertise this. Despite what Guest troll claims, many people who had a serious interest in folk music at the time would not have known what had happened to it, or how to get in touch with him. Remember, this was long before the internet, when the folk scene was much more localised than it is now.

There would have been considerable demand for at least some of the catalogue (admittedly not all). If Bulmer didn't want to publish them himself I find it hard to believe that one of the established labels (or the individual artists) would not have been willing to do so. The only conclusions I can come to are that either he asked too much for the recordings or was not willing to let them be published. Recently of course the cost of making CDs has come down considerably, and music can be released digitally for very little cost.

Whether or not it was his deliberate intention, the actual result was that a large body of recordings were in effect suppressed, in that they were not available to the majority of people who might wish to listen to them. This was not a good thing for the folk world, or for the artists whose works he controlled.

Neither does it seem to have been good for Bulmer. He could probably have made much more money from the recordings than he did. By handling things the way he did he destroyed his own reputation. What was it all for? I wonder whether he had some grudge against the folk world and this was some form of revenge, but if that were the case he would probably have refused to make any copies available at all. We'll probably never know.

The big question is what will now happen to them? I hope his executors appreciate both the commercial and artistic value of his catalogue and will now make it more widely avaiable. Ideally these should all now be released. The most iconic recordings (the Nic Jones stuff for example) could probably be profitably released on CD, the less commercially marketable ones could be very cheaply released online.

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