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Proposing a new release on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is widely known and loved for the catalog it has built up, expanded, and maintained over 70 years under its mission of keeping the history of music and sound from the United States and beyond available in perpetuity for music lovers, scholars, and communities. The label also continues in this mission by adding 12 to 20 new releases to its holdings every year. Most of these come in through internal channels: archival releases, new releases by touring Folkways artists, and special projects with like-minded organizations and musicians.

We do, however, try to publish a small number of high-quality unsolicited releases that can meaningfully add to our catalog. We receive over 400 proposals of this nature every year, many of them featuring quality music and important musicians. In the challenging climate of the current music industry, we sadly cannot honor more than 1 to 2 percent of these proposals.

In order to create an equitable and transparent process, we invite serious proposals to be submitted in the format outlined in the document linked below so our curatorial team can assess them, seek external expertise where needed, decide in a well-informed way, and respond as quickly as possible.

To minimize great effort on proposals that do not meet our criteria, we advise you to send a brief email to FolkwaysProposals@si.edu which answers just questions No. 1, 2, and 3 (proposed title, two-paragraph summary, and permissions status—NO musical samples at this time please) for initial feedback before submitting a full proposal. Please allow 4 weeks for initial feedback and 8 to 12 weeks for a full proposal evaluation and review.

Thank you for your interest in submitting a proposal to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, and for making the world a better place through promoting music of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Download the New Project/Recording Proposal form Word | PDF

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