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Folk Alley's Online Open Mic

July 12, 2005

As the summer zips along, all of us at Folk Alley are working diligently at planning the redesign for the Folk Alley website. A new look and new features are on the way. One in particular that we’re planning is an Online Open Mic. Think of ‘open mic night,’ but heard through your computer. The intent is to provide a place for developing and ‘undiscovered’ artists a place to share their music with other folk music fans. There will be a contest element to this, with fabulous prizes, TBD. We're in the process of hammering out the guidelines and other details. Since this new feature is intended for YOU, I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and any feedback you’d like share on this. Feel free to comment here, or email me directly at Linda at folkalley dot com. Thanks!

Posted by Linda Fahey at July 12, 2005 9:31 PM


I may be interested in this venture. I will be looking forward to more information as you move along.

Posted by: Ponch Powell at July 13, 2005 2:02 PM

How would the artists present their songs?

Posted by: Jack Swain at July 13, 2005 5:53 PM

In a nutshell, the artists would be asked to upload their song(s) to our site. There will be a submission form to fill out. Then the songs are available for website vistors to listen on-demand. In addition, visitors will be given the opportunity to rate and comment on each song if they choose.

Posted by: Linda Fahey at July 13, 2005 9:08 PM

I like this idea. On-demand will allow a relatively larger number of submissions to be made available, but at some point, a filter system might have to be put in place to limit the thousands of songs submitted to match the capacity of the server.

Posted by: Malcolm McKinney at July 14, 2005 5:43 PM

If there's a contest and ratings it's competitive rather than sharing. Maybe the thing to do is be sharing and nurturing rather than another Battle of the Bands???

Posted by: Scot Witt at July 15, 2005 8:31 AM

If it is to be an online open mic, it should have the same same scratches, dents, and hiccups of a real open mic - no filters.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at July 15, 2005 9:06 AM

Great comments! Scot: I think you're right. There will be many people who will want to share their music only and will choose to stay out of the contest aspect of Open Mic. We'll give the artists the option of deciding for themselves to what level they want to be involved. And Jim: yes! No filters. Just like a real open mic.

Posted by: Linda Fahey at July 15, 2005 9:47 AM

I think it might be nice for some of the submissions to be played on the main playlist. Perhaps this can be a "prize" for winners...

Posted by: Liron at July 15, 2005 12:50 PM

Did I miss it? I don't see anything about the contest aspect of this, but people are commenting on it. What's up with that?

Posted by: Jack Swain at July 15, 2005 4:19 PM

I love this idea. I also missed the bit about competition. So, are we talking only original songs and no covers? What about the ever popular "broadcast quality" sound? Not everyone is able to produce sophisticated digital computer generated songs. So does that mean accepting boombox recorded cassettes is out? How is the music to be uploaded? What audio files should they be? What if some of the combatants are members of PROs? Is there a limit to the number of songs uploaded? Song length? Does it rain in indianapolis in the summertime?

Posted by: Joshua Brande at July 16, 2005 12:01 PM

Why not make it more like a real open mic which is live? There is technology available to stream live sound and music played through a desktop microphone right onto the web.

Posted by: Brian Loebig at July 17, 2005 1:10 AM

Great idea. I would love to hear some of the best songs submitted by listeners played in the regular rotation. Selection could be made using visitors' ratings.

Posted by: Michael Raymer at July 17, 2005 1:42 PM

I wouldn't trust listener ratings to tell me the sun was shining if it was broad daylight.

I think it should be completely random, and take yer chances.

Posted by: Jim Pipkin at July 17, 2005 1:46 PM

Maybe you are not familiar with sites such as They have thousands of songs posted, and I have found great performers there both by random browsing and by listening to the fans' top rated songs.

Posted by: Michael Raymer at July 17, 2005 2:58 PM

Not everyone might have the capability to play live to a computer. I would say, it should not be limited in the ways people can access and submit something.

Posted by: Jack Swain at July 17, 2005 6:13 PM

Great idea! I'm not sure about the "prize" idea. No sense in making a Folk Alley American Idol. An open mic could be problematic for a full band. Why not let those wanting open mic do it also via cd and submit a cd to the station, with the artists saying which song they would like played on the open mic?

Posted by: Charley Bowman at July 18, 2005 8:58 AM

To comment on the sound quality issue--don't worry if you can't make an absolute professional recording. It can be as simple as you sitting down in front of a tape recorder with your guitar and hitting play/record. Plus, if you have a computer and a cheap piece of software, muti-track demos are super easy to produce these days and it's really amazing at how many "Indie-type" bands are being discovered through "bedroom recordings."

Can't wait to hear your songs once we're up and running.

Hey Linda, can we submit songs too? :)

Posted by: Chris Boros at July 18, 2005 10:59 AM

>>Hey Linda, can we submit songs too? :)

Chris, I know you're looking for a venue to debut your "Chris Boros Sings Acoustic Kiss" release. So, sure. You can upload a track or two to share with the Folk Alley community.... we can't wait! :-)

Posted by: Linda Fahey at July 19, 2005 7:37 AM

Great idea - some thoughts: Live on line is very do-able, if its the way you want to go. I play live on line frequently through "PalTalk" ( which is an on-line disussion deal which includes music - some live.

It is also pretty easy to record using the software referenced above. I have done on-line collaborations, in which each artist posts his/her tracks and then they are mixed into a final song - its great fun and I'd love to post one to the "open mic".

Final thought - I hope cover's aren't excluded. Originals are delightful, but folk music is about sharing songs (to me) and if its all not-for-profit, covers should be fine IMO.

Thanks for listening

Posted by: Lane Wintermute at July 19, 2005 11:59 AM

I would love to submit my songs from my two cd's. I do believe the station has them already as well!

Nathaniel Maloney

Posted by: Nathaniel Maloney at July 19, 2005 2:13 PM

Jim and Linda,
I have been listening for a couple of years
now. The open mike idea is great.
Like a festival of new music on-line.
I would be definitely interested
Our web site and tracks are on:
We are a four peice folk celtic band
from Melbourne Australia. Many Thanks

Posted by: Steve Thew at July 20, 2005 8:55 PM

Jim and Linda,
I have been listening for a couple of years
now at work 8 hours per day.
The open mike idea is great.
Like a festival of new music on-line.
I would be definitely interested
Our web site and tracks are on:
We are a four peice folk celtic band
from the home of the National Celtic Festival
Portarlington, Australia. Many Thanks

Posted by: Steve Thew at July 20, 2005 9:08 PM

Awesome....sign me up................

Jason Bennett

Posted by: Jason Bennett at July 23, 2005 6:32 PM

sounds like its already a hit guys ! I will tell those I know in Wales to get ready.

Posted by: Bud French at July 25, 2005 5:14 AM

I love the idea of an open mic. I think that live recording into a computer mic will yield inferior sound. I would rather make a nice barebones digital recording and make an MP3 out of it. You could have a "top 40" list where people's ranking changes as listeners vote. I think it's also a good idea to allow performers to opt out of the ranking, and just submit their song. Let me know when to submit!

Posted by: Warren Bendler at August 6, 2005 11:46 PM

When is this kicking off? I just got a copy of my songs that will be on the Oak Park Farmer's Market Bluegrass Band CD that should be coming out shortly. I have three songs on it, two of them I wrote. I am very proud of the one that was recorded in the large group setting and I am anxious to let others listen to it. The other two songs were recorded in a more intimate setting with just me on guitar and I am singing with my daughter on all three songs. Please give us an update.

Jack Swain

Posted by: Jack Swain at August 24, 2005 10:22 AM

Hi Jack,

Open Mic is still a couple months off - but we'll let everybody know when we're ready for submission. We have other immediate projects we're working on currently, and then the Open Mic is next. It's high priority for us, but just a little further down the trail at the moment. Probably not the answer you were hoping for, but it IS coming! Stay tuned.

Posted by: Linda Fahey at August 24, 2005 10:29 AM

Open Mic sounds great-looking forward to giving it a try-all the way from Glasgow!

Posted by: Marjorie Paterson at August 31, 2005 8:15 PM

This is a great idea. Just a thought or two . Why don't you use the songs that are uploaded for a particular day or week and then split them up into covers vs originals ? Then , the new singer - song writer would have his or her daily opportunity for the big internet stage. I hear there are new technologies which allow " real live ." This could be a separate pre - arranged " real " Open Mic event scheduled as warranted. As I said before , this is a great site . Thank you.

Posted by: Joe Moore at September 11, 2005 3:08 PM

Great idea! I'm totally up for it. Let us know how we can help.

Posted by: Christian Anderson at September 12, 2005 11:28 AM

As everyone esle as said..

Excellent idea. Looking forward to it.

If there is anything we can do to help please let us know.

Posted by: Joshua Jones at September 22, 2005 10:30 AM

WOW! LOVE THE IDEA OF OPEN MIC! Having just acquired a computer capable of streaming quality music like Folk Alley I can't wait to get the info to a couple of very talented friends who might not otherwise have a 'stage' to showcase their considerable talents! Thanks for proving that it's the MUSICAL TALENT that makes the difference, not the shallow physical beauty of a performer!

Posted by: Robin Roderick at September 27, 2005 8:42 PM

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