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  • Folkways Membership FAQ

Why should I become a member?

By becoming a member you will enjoy valuable benefits while also helping to support our educational, non-profit mission. While Smithsonian Folkways is a part of Smithsonian Institution, the activities of the record label are entirely funded through the sale and distribution of our sound recordings. Your membership will help us continue releasing remarkable recordings that celebrate musical diversity and cultural dialogue.

Can you tell me more about the cover art prints?

We have chosen seven series of four iconic Folkways cover designs to suit a wide range of graphic and musical tastes. They come as original size (12x12), limited edition numbered art prints, reproduced with archival ink on 14x14 textured paper, ready to be framed in standard frames that can be ordered for around $11 from web sites such as Amazon. They will make for truly distinctive art pieces on your wall.

How do the free downloads and discounts work?

Simply login, browse the catalogue online and select the music you want to hear. When you go to the shopping cart/checkout, you will see that downloads go to a $0 charge, and any other products are discounted by 20%.

Why can’t I see the discount being applied to my items in the shopping cart?

Please ensure that you are logged in to your account. If you have just become a member, allow 24 hours for your membership status to update. If you have logged in after this period and the discount has not been applied to your purchases, please contact us at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu.

Is my membership tax-deductible?

Given the value of the benefits, the IRS will not accept your membership as a tax-deductible gift. However, if you opt out of the benefits, you can support us with the same (or any other) amount as a tax deductible gift by clicking here. If you wish to discuss making gifts in this way, please contact Cynthia Carter at 202-633-1110 or CarterCJ@si.edu.

What if I don’t want the free gift?

You can opt out of your free gift by contacting our customer service staff at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu within 24 hours of your membership purchase. If you would like to donate the amount of your membership as a tax-deductible gift, please contact Cynthia Carter at 202-633-1110 or CarterCJ@si.edu.

How do I cancel my membership?

Annual members can cancel at any time after the first full year of membership by contacting our customer service staff at 1-888-FOLKWAYS. You can also email us at FolkwaysMembership@si.edu. There are no refunds on memberships.

As a monthly billing member, am I obligated to pay for a year? What about after a year?

Because of the value of the benefits, Smithsonian Folkways Members making monthly payments may only cancel their subscription after a minimum of twelve monthly installments. This can be done by contacting our customer service staff at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu.

Why can’t I pay using PayPal?

We highly recommend paying by credit card, as this allows for automated monthly payments. PayPal payments cannot be processed, since they do not allow for this option. Please contact our customer service staff at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu for more information.

Am I able to select my own covers, are the sets interchangeable?

We have carefully curated our seven series of cover art prints to represent a breadth and depth of musical and design preferences. It is possible that in the future, we will release additional series or individual cover choices but this will not happen in the first year.

I’d like to order the albums that go along with the cover art- what are the album titles/catalogue numbers?

Here are the title codes and names organized by series:

Series Title Album Code - Name
World Music FW04212 – Music of Guatemala Vol 1
FW04251 – Healing Songs of the American Indians
FW04255 – Teahouse Music of Afghanistan
FW08750 – Hawaiian Chant, Hula and Music
Word Play FW02808 – Jazz, Vol. 8: Big Bands Before 1935
FW03607 – Music Arrangement: Prepared by Vaclav Nelhybel
FW33436 – Electronic Music
FW09705 – The Pit and the Pendulum: By Edgar Allan Poe
Environmental Sounds FW06125 – Sounds of Sea Animals, Vol. 2: Florida
FW06142 – Sounds of the Office
FW06166 – Sounds of North American Frogs
FW06178 – Sounds of Insects
Social Power of Music FW05212 – Dust Bowl Ballads
FW05233 – Songs of Struggle and Protest: 1930-1950
FW05486 – Lest We Forget, Vol. 1: Movement Soul, Sounds of the Freedom Movement in the South, 1963-64
FW05595 – WNEW’s Story of Selma
Iconic Folkways FW07027 – Songs to Grow On Vol. 3: American Work Songs
FW07664 – You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song
FW31019 – Take This Hammer
FW31026 – Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Unplugged FW02201 – Washboard Band: Country Dance Music
FW02314 – American Banjo: Tunes and Songs in Scruggs Style
FW02406 – Pastures of Plenty and Other Songs
FW03821 – Sonny Terry’s New Sound: Jawharp in Blues and Folk Music
Folk FW02436 – Berkeley Farms: Old Time and Country Style Music of Berkeley
FW05565 – Original Folk
FW31015 – New Lost City Ramblers with Cousin Emmy
FW31077 – Doc Tommy Scott’s Last Real Medicine Show: “World’s Most Unusual Songs”
Can I order an additional gift cover set? If so how much?

Members are only entitled to one set per member. We encourage you to buy an additional membership as a gift. Your recipient will receive all the benefits of a Folkways membership plus a cover art print set of your choosing. Please contact us at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu if you wish to purchase a gift membership.

How do I know how much of my $1000 do I know I have used or have left to spend?

You will be sent a notice through email when you reach your $1000 limit. Please contact us at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu with any questions regarding the status of your downloads, or with any other questions regarding your membership account.

How do I schedule the private tour?

As a Supporting or Lifetime member, you are entitled to a personalized tour of the Ralph Rinzler Archive within Smithsonian Folkways. Our customer service staff will contact you when you become a member to arrange the date and time for your tour.

If I have used the $1000 in downloads do I still get all the other benefits? 20% off, etc?

Yes, your other benefits will remain valid for the duration of your membership.

Can I purchase the membership as a gift? How do I go about that?

Please contact us at 1-888-FOLKWAYS or FolkwaysMembership@si.edu if you wish to purchase a membership as a gift.

How long will it take the cover art prints to arrive?

Prints will be mailed via FedEx. Delivery times can be anywhere from 3-5 days. A signature will be required upon delivery. An email containing tracking information will be sent to the email address provided once the package is shipped. Please note that the first art prints will be shipped on 12 December 2016.

Can I exchange prints for another series if I am dissatisfied with what I receive?

Unfortunately, prints cannot be returned or exchanged once they are sent. Prints will be replaced only if they are damaged in transit.

Do the cover art sets come framed?

No, the cover art sets do not come framed. You are encouraged to buy suitable frames that would fit a 14”x14” print at web vendors such as Amazon.