Impact of Folk music in the era of Modern commercial music

Can folk music survive the continuum of space and time? Does it actually suffice itself as a form of art that still manages to retain its relevance? As you can see, there is no definite praxis to which these questions can be answered. There can only be a deeper understanding and unlearning of things that come up in a commercialized space. So, without any inhibitions, let’s call dibs on space and time to start an investigation on such poignant questions. The persistence of folk songs is a shared one. Being a subset of folklore, folk music also retains the transmissible aspects of it. There can be two describable categories of folk music, one where it sprouts from oral traditions – passed on through the generations, and the other one being from the traditional music of the 20th century. Now, given the assumption that folk music has managed to survive the tumultuous times of the 21st century, the investigation will rely mostly on the aspects that deal with its relevance rather than its survival limit. 

Commercial Music vs Folk Music 

At the expense of sounding academically jarring, western scholars had defined folk music as an anonymous entity of communal roots played and accessed by anyone and everyone, altering itself with each transmission and existing in parallels. So, if you were to distinguish between folk and commercial music, the latter retains in consumed potential through professionally trained artists with a USP to sell and permeate. In the face of rapid urbanization, the reading of folk music can be done from the 1930s to post world-war timelines where the former saw its orientation rooted in left-wing politics with a weaponized ardor to sing songs of revolution. On the other hand, post-war aesthetics of folk music attracted an educated demographic that saw it as an alternative to what dominated the mainstream. But in the face of blatant commercialization, folk music seems to walk on eggshells since its non-commercial origins faced the fragility of time.

Although the blurred lines of commercial and anti-commercial seem to overlap in the case of folk music, it could, however, retain the latter component which we even get to see through its revival. The aura of folk music still stood on the understanding of anti-commercial and anti-mainstream sentiment – a perfect antithesis to the popular. Even at the face of consumer conformity, folk music has dug out and articulated the discontent of the marginalized – radical affluence understood in the context of it being a part of the counterculture. 

“The Times They Are A-Changin” 

From Woody Guthrie to Lady Gaga, the permeation of folk music can be seen as an alliance that stood against the test of time. Even in an era of commercialization and enhanced accessibility,  the fertility of folk music can’t be marred under skepticism. With the internet, the music fails to have a vanguard role since the roots are now branches and branches are transmissible. It is also to be noted that the structural simplicity of folk music can’t be used as a card to dismiss similar offerings of its contemporary variant since folk music is the flow. So, does it still impact the social structures? Of course, it does, folk music is built to be a bottle with a message, it floats across the sea only to find a shore. It’s trans-generational and more than its acoustic stereotypes. 

If you feel like you want to have a better understanding of how it’s still transmissible? Look at the young folk artists of the 21st century. You can browse them on Playtomee and play a digital concert of them live at the comfort of your couch. To quote Louis Armstrong, “All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” 

Live and Strong 

Folk Music is minimal and extravagant at the same time. You still don’t believe it? Go through Playtoome which is a digital platform offering remote live music concerts with a curated list of your favorite artists and genres. 

The new wave of Digital Concerts – What’s the craze about?

The music industry has witnessed the emergence of online culture and a tectonic shift away from physical music records. This has also placed a fixated demand on live performance and its digital counterpart. With websites like Playtoome, Youtube, NPR, there has been a presence of demand since these video-sharing platforms have been distributing digitally available music concerts sanctioned by the artists or by the label. However, the implications are particularly varied in the case of Playtoome which is an exclusive digital platform where you can view your favorite artists live and interact with them too. As opposed to that YouTube has been built along the lines of a social content platform where users can share, upload or view the contents present there. You might as well be seeing a bootlegging of live music and how it has transcended from being contained in a physical space. 

With the onset of video-sharing culture, transmedia can very well act as a trajectory for digitally available concerts which are structurally creating reformatory models. This piece will delve into an inquiry and what makes you can watch Coachella streamed live as opposed to visiting the grounds. 

Digital Concerts as an archive 

The role of live performance and music is constantly shifting within the spheres of popular culture. As much as you’d love to go to a concert for the livid experience, you’d also want to contain the moments of it. To replicate such token desires, digital concerts are an archive of its own. Be it Radiohead’s Glastonbury performance or Queen’s Wembley stadium performance, it all adds to being preserved that can be relayed or replayed for the consumption of their future audience. 

The era of streaming has also seen this sense of frivolity where digital concerts are being taken for granted – and that is the kind of entitlement that comes with ready-made archives. Although that does not affect the new wave of digital concerts, it surely does make abundance an issue. 

Consumer Engagement 

Empirically speaking, the music streaming platforms have been collecting surplus revenues harping on all the latest trends. I am sure you are acquainted with MTV Unplugged which was the closest to a recorded live concert that you could watch on TV. But live streaming has not been a stranger phenomenon. It has been a pervading technique used for sports and news across generations. In the natural progression of the streaming bandwagon, digital concerts are becoming more popular since viewers can watch their favorite artists play in the comfort of their homes. Professional streaming sites are also cooperating with unsigned artists to give them a platform and leverage this trend for their independent distributors. 

Digital concerts are increasingly being liked since they provide powerful branding. The metrics are also backing this fact – some broadcasters are collating such data to improvise on a better experience for their fans. Now, with VR intervention, digital concerts are being fully transformed into a 360-degree experience with some platforms providing interactive features for the sake of engagement. A live concert when recorded/streamed also exposes a fan to what the real experience might entail – that often ends up with them showing up for the live concert eventually. 

Immune but for how long? 

Music seems to be immune to most technological travesties but recorded or streamed concerts can be detrimental to our conventions. But that’s exactly where the catch is, even amidst the wake of the COVID-19 virus epidemic, musicians are still playing live concerts for their fans. And, that is possible since streaming exists – so you are witnessing a transformation that leads us to newer possibilities of digital concerts. Playtoome is also a part of that holistic change and you can too spend the lockdown staying inside while watching live concerts of your favorite artists. 

Live music as an integral part of care at the end of life

There is an iconic scene in the FX’s series Pose where Pray Tell (played by Billy Porter) puts up a little show for the AIDS patients in a hospital ward. There he sings to reaffirm his love knowing that he will lose his boyfriend. Live music was played there to mellow down the pervading morbidity that had plagued the halls of the hospital where isolation consumed the patients as much as the virus did, but fiction is no stranger to taking inspiration from real-life events. Music is such that it has become integrally relevant at every stage of our lives.

In the current context of alternative therapies, music has been laying its foundation in palliative and hospice care. Consequently, music has become an accepted utility tool in such settings. Therese Schroeder-Sheker was the first to coin the term Music Thanatology which referred to music played in a specific way for the one drawing their last breath. This sort of music was also known as prescriptive music where the musicians were trained to voice and use the harp, improving and adapting in a way that coincides with the changing physiology of a dying patient. 

Ending with a note 

As you already know, hospitals are the least relaxed spaced especially for those who are about to lose their loved ones. But music seems to be a great equalizer in such a distressing environment. It can defuse a lot of tension and anxiety felt by the patient and their family. Even though this form of therapy is prevalent these days, the tradition of playing music at deathbed dates back to the middle ages, where Benedictine Monks used music during deathbed vigils. However, the practices were gone with the disappearing ministries especially in the face of the Industrial Age. 

Music Therapists also provide music for the dying. They are trained with the specificity of alleviating psychological and physical pain. But how are they any different from the thanatologists? With a prescriptive form of music, the recipient has a more passive role. But when it comes to music therapists the recipient will have a more active role. They can also participate in any way they want to. The patients can also help in assembling a playlist that they might want to hear as they come closer to death. So, live music does play a pivotal role for people nearing their death. The care-associated and the psychological effect it has can holistically redefine the way death is seen or perceived. You can take care of your loved ones and look for their favorite artist at Playtoome, which will help you play live concerts any time remotely. This won’t be as close to what music therapy is but it will at least give a flavor or live concerts at the comfort of their bed. 

Music for end-of-life care 

Music Therapy for end-of-life care uses music as a tool for intervention where a tailor-made music experience is added in this therapeutic process But what entails such experience? The experience can be anything from live or pre-recorded music to music combined with art or imagery. This has a profound effect on end-of-the-life care since it impacts the quality of life. Playtoome is a great repository for live music concerts, something that can be used as part of music therapy modalities. If you are someone who’s into music therapy or conducting sessions, then browse through their curated list of artists spread across different genres. The best part about this platform is that you can access the content remotely irrespective of your geographic location.