Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New audiences, New Forms

An interesting facet of the last couple of Auckland Folk Festivals is the increasing numbers of young people (under 25ish). There may be several reasons for this. There's a current of individuality in younger people and their interests and a rebirth of interest in grassroots entertainment and pursuits, where the field and form comes up out of the audience and community, not imposed down from above. In sport this is reflected in a move away from organized professional team sports (which are so reliant on Public Relations branding and spin) towards more individualized sports (snowboarding, mountain biking, BASE jumping). It's also a rejection of corporate culture itself (which is what major sports franchises have become). This trend is reflected in listening to independent music labels, or the contemporary process of ignoring record labels altogether and building up a following through gigging and social media sites, e.g: Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. It's an irony that makes me smile that this modern phenomenon leads some listeners back to one of the oldest (known) forms of music - folk music. A form where so much is still back porch stuff - and that's its strength.

There's a parallel there in the reclaiming of the process of being published and read away from the corporate publishers, that online publishing is now helping to foster. Where someone can record something simply and have it heard or read. The music industry has changed drastically with the artists themselves empowered with the opportunity to record and publish. I wonder what the publishing landscape will look like in 10 years time. Very different, I'd imagine.

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