This past few weeks has seen announcements from two Pagan-friendly music labels/distributors that they are closing up shop. First, at the end of June, the online folk music resource Woven Wheat Whispers called it quits.
“We didn’t have to close WWW, it was paying it’s way and no money was lost. It was just a decision about the future taken calmly at a point where we had time to think… It was meant to be fun and would have turned into slog at some point in the near future … We could have continued and would have done alright, but with Myspace starting to sell downloads, Amazon coming in and iTunes level of market dominance, there was little point. Even CDBaby now sell downloads alongside the CD. Exiting in a positive way seemed the best thing to do at the right time. WWW didn’t collapse, we have all the money needed. It was a decision taken about how far to push what was a small home operation delivered in my spare time.”
I mentioned Woven Wheat Whispers on this blog last year when they released (with Cold Spring Records) the amazing “John Barleycorn Reborn” compilation. Woven Wheat Whispers introduced me to some great artists, including The Owl Service, Cunnan, Arrowwood, Novemthree, Sharron Kraus, and The Horses of The Gods. It at times felt like the label/service was especially created for fans of The Wicker Man soundtrack (a high compliment in my book). Needless to say, WWW artists got, and continue to get, at lot of airplay on my podcast/streaming radio show.
“After November, Dancing Ferret Discs (and Noir Records) will stop releasing new material. Of course this does NOT mean that our wonderful artists are hanging up their hats, nor that their albums will disappear. It also does NOT mean that anything will happen to Nocturne, Dracula’s Ball, Digital Ferret or IsoTank. It simply means that in the future, new albums by the DFD bands that you love will be released by other labels (or in some cases, by the artists themselves).”
DFD/Noir, aside from representing popular darkwave acts like The Cruxshadows, also introduced America to great European neo-medieval, ethereal, Pagan-folk, and darkwave bands like Corvus Corax, Irfan, The Dreamside, Faun, and Omnia.
Both of these labels/services have been instrumental in helping to expand the idea of a “Pagan music” beyond the New Age mediocrities and sub-par folk that many assumed was the norm. It showed that there were new generations of musicians across America, the UK, and Europe, that were making challenging and exciting music that dealt with themes near and dear to the Pagan soul. To say that the exit of Woven Wheat Whispers and Dancing Ferret/Noir leaves a hole is an understatement. So I raise my glass in toast to both of them, they have enriched us more than most will ever know.
You can expect tributes to both Woven Wheat Whispers and Dancing Ferret/Noir in upcoming episodes of my A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast.