In this paper we investigate the 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 effected by the shift towards ‘participatory culture’ brought forward by the rise of the Internet and Web 2.0. This is observed, firstly, in how Web 2.0 helps musicians to educate themselves and to self-develop a career in music.

Secondly, from the part of both musicians and gatekeepers, it can be observed in how participatory culture links with their preference for participatory aesthetics by which they aim to decrease the boundary between creator, distributor, and user. Within the idiom of folk music, they distinguish themselves from the imagined mainstream and create a more sincere performance.

Thirdly, from the part of the audience, it is observed in how active fans contribute to their field by self-organizing small-scale events, enabling them to establish (trans)local scenes and to reframe music as a social experience. By investigating the logics behind these musician, distributor and fan-based practices, this paper aims to contribute to existing sociological research on the importance of digitization and the wide use of the Internet and Web 2.0 for changes in both the production, distribution, reception, and aesthetics of popular music.

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Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC)

van Poecke, N., & Michael, J. (2015). Bringing the Banjo Back to Life. Retrieved from