Via Karen on the Jason Webley list I subscribe to, some aggravating news concerning my favorite of the Seattle summer music festivals, Folklife. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I had to miss the festival this year, and so I have not had a chance to round out the news from Karen.
She tells of Folklife’s new-this-year policy of harassing street performers should they choose to sell CDs direct to the public rather than via the Folklife store, a policy which resulted in the ejection of my friend Jason from the grounds of the Seattle Center, where the festival was held.
Apparently, the stepped-up enforcement was taken in response to the festival’s ongoing economic woes, and was intended to rectify lost revenues associated with control of CD sales via the Folklife store.
Naturally, street performers such as Jason are reluctant to separate CD sales from performance – doing so would effectively end CD sales for the performers. I personally think direct CD sales take very little away from CD sales in the Folklife store. This ban, just like the big media keiretsus attempts to ban analog to digital converters, simply results in a smaller pool of interested consumers and performers, shrinking the market, in the end killing Folklife itself.
No word at press time as to the size of the RIAA donation Folklife has clearly accepted. It seems kinda dumb, actually – the street performers represent, in many cases, the most organically active, non-preservationist venue in which folks can see and hear non-commercial music performed by, well, folks.
Anyway, it seems pretty clear we can kiss Folklife goodbye. Karen thoughtfully provided the address of the sponsoring organization’s directing officer, which I reproduce herein in the hopes that venomously polite correspondance will be directed toward it:
Michael J. Herschensohn