Bringing the banjo back to life: The field of Dutch independent folk music as participatory culture
In this paper we investigate factors underlying the production of independent folk music (indie folk) in the Netherlands. By studying the creation, distribution and reception of indie folk music through in-depth interviewing, we argue that the social production of indie folk music is affected by a shift towards ‘participatory culture’ brought about by the rise of the Internet and Web 2.0. We note how Web 2.0 helps musicians to educate themselves and to develop careers in music. Secondly, from the perspective of both musicians and gatekeepers, participatory culture links their preferences for participatory aesthetics, decreasing boundaries between creators, distributors and users. Within the idiom of folk music, they distinguish themselves from the mainstream, creating more sincere performances. Thirdly, from the perspective of the audience, fans actively contribute by organizing small-scale events, enabling the audience to establish (trans)local scenes, reframing music as a social experience.
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