Riding a wave of aural acceptance through the 21st century

(December 21, 2010)

Without doubt the web is the prevailing method of mass communication

Considering all forms of broadcast and published media in current use the web is the most accessible, the most widely used by individuals (rather than corporations) and the most immediate. It has multiple channels to reach disparate audiences, from You Tube to Facebook to MySpace – whatever you want to say about whatever you want, the web allows you to do it with (almost) total freedom.

Of course, there is no guarantee that each and every message, statement or video will gain the same attention and some go viral faster than others. However, the point remains if you have something to say the web lets you reach the masses faster and more prolifically than anything else.

There are naturally both up and downsides to the waterfall of web information

We live in the most over-communicated society that has ever existed on this planet. There is almost no place left that you can go where (as long as you have the technology) someone cannot reach you. We have a world that literally will not leave you alone. With this mass of ‘noise’ bombarding their ears do people absorb indiscriminately, selectively listen or switch off? The answer is yes to all – to varying degrees. Images and sounds lodge in our heads without us ever having made a conscious decision to let them inside our brains. Indeed, some given the choice, we would actively block in the first place, yet they intrude. Doubtless, many of us will find we hum the latest advertising jingle or talent show winning song without knowing why or how, or with any conscious knowledge of having heard it.

Besides splicing subliminal cuts of sound into our minds, the web’s infiltration of the collective consciousness also enables the human selective or explorative genes to kick in without too much effort. You only have to click on an mp3 to listen to any type, variety and kind of music. There’s no need to part with hard-earned cash. You don’t end up with a music collection filled with 25% rubbish along with the good, and what’s more it’s easy to delete.

Can folk music ride the web's wave of aural acceptance and roll into the 21st century and beyond?

It’s one more way to reach the audience so why not? It’s argued that folk must be a part of it to remain relevant. Could folk music exist outside of the world’s most accessible communication channel? Probably yes but the journey could be hard. Or is all this nothing whatever to do with folk music because irrespective of channels or technology it emphatically remains music for, by and of the common people and it will find a way. Does that mean we could head to a time when folk music abandons the web’s channels and reverts to their original method of transmission from one person to another?  

In the end it doesn’t matter, as long as people carry on performing and creating, how the message gets through and which channels it slides along are eventually irrelevant. All that matters is the drive to make it and the desire to listen. If both exist then folk will continue to find a way.

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