The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Friday 20th April 2007 - Licensing song storms HMV folk download chart


'Roots', a song by the successful folk duo 'Show of Hands', last week reached no.1 in the HMV download folk chart. It is currently at no.2:

The song, celebrating English identity and musical heritage, was written in response to Kim Howells' notorious claim that Somerset folk singers were his idea of hell - a claim made while he was a culture minister and responsible for publishing the then Licensing Bill in November 2002. The lyrics allude to the loss of the exemption for one or two musicians as against the continued exemption for big screen entertainment:

'... pubs where no one ever sings at all / and everyone stares at a great big screen / overpaid soccer stars, prancing teens / Australian soap, American rap / Estuary English, baseball cap...'

The key licensing connection was missed in an otherwise informative article 'West Country folk storms iTunes' by Alex Hannaford in last Wednesday's Independent (18 April 2007). Hannaford does, however, partially explain the Howells' connection :

Link to Show of Hands website, which includes links to HMV, iTunes, emusic and Napster download sites:

Hamish Birchall