Mudcat Café message #3975309 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165645   Message #3975309
Posted By: Vic Smith
07-Feb-19 - 10:52 AM
Thread Name: Where Have all the Folkies Gone
Subject: RE: Where Have all the Folkies Gone
The rate of collapse of the physical forms of all media has accelerated in recent years - people go to the likes of Netflix et al for their films rather than buying actual DVDs, they download games for their Playstations et al rather than buying the physical object and their music comes from download. This is just to emphasise what Mike said above is his opening sentence. The effect on the retail sales of these objects has been devastating. A few years ago we lost the amazing Borders shops and now we are losing HMV. A very rare thing for me, I went to a boot sale recently and saw a man selling good recent film DVDs 5 for 1. It's becoming that you can't give them away.
It's not quite an even across-the-board decline, however. Music that might be regarded as transient is undergoing the most rapid decline. The turnover of the names at the top of pop and rock is more rapid than ever. Music bought by buyers who feel that they are buying a product that they might still want to listen to in ten years time, are bearing up. The big areas for this are nostalgia and the specialist musics - jazz, folk, country, world music. The exception is the very sad decline in classical music sales which is now confined to their own specialist labels, the big boys have withdrawn from this area years ago.
In terms of our own specialist area, Ian Anderson of fRoots reports no decline in the numbers of albums being sent to him for review but a big change from company releases - the Topics and Greentrax of our world - to own label, often crowd-funded releases. Distribution a problem? Not a worry, we will sell them on gigs. Increasingly these album are of all-round higher technical quality. Every time I go to folk club these days there is a merchandising table which is crowded at the interval and at the end of the evening. People get a chance to talk to their heroes, perhaps get the booklet autographed and be invited to sign their name & email up to the artists' circular lists and everyone is happy.
I can't prove it, but I would bet that the majority of folk CDs are now sold at live performances. The trouble with the CDs that Rod sells is that they do not fall into this category. I'll only mention some of the names of the singers whose albums I have been involved in the production of for Rod's Musical Traditions label like Pop Maynard, Daisy Chapman, Bob Copper, Lizzie Higgins - none of them are around for people to hear their exquisite live performances any more.