Paul Murphy
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Paul Murphy


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"The Acoustic Session" - BBC Website

"Paul's I-opener to selling his music"

By Martin Faint
Enterprise Editor

A 55-year-old folk-singing grandfather from Birmingham is among the first to take advantage of a revolutionary new system that allows independent musicians to sell and market their work online.

Paul Murphy - who also runs high-tech educational company C21Vox - will release his new album through, a Birmingham start-up featured in The Post last month.

The launch will make him the first folk singer to take advantage of the system. "This is very liberating for musicians," the folk-poet says with bounding enthusiasm. "It allows you to set up your own labels and distribute your work all at once. It's fantastic." Paul believes it promises tackle the greatest bugbear of unsigned acts - the sad fact that their entrepreneurialism rarely gets their recordings a wide audience.

"The biggest problem facing independent people producing their own materials is then how to distribute them," he said. "Few independent distributors get into the shops, but this shortcuts the whole process and takes musicians direct to the buyer."

With the rise of sites such as Apple’s iTunes, a generation of iPod-wearing music-lovers has become used to buying songs and albums using a home computer.

Musiccontrol now offers independent spirits such as Paul the chance to bypass the established record labels – while still having access to a professional, easily editable website.

“It potentially offers a lot of people a new incentive to keep recoding," Paul said before a gig at The Roadhouse pub in Stirchley last night. "When you think of the punk period – the reaction against the corporates spurred on a vibrant independent music scene. “This is liberating, you can get known using virtual marketing and the like and then independent labels got swallowed up." Paul believes that with technology such as Musiccontrol, a new era of opportunity is beckoning for those with the talent, but not necessarily the stomach for the established music industry.

"With this new click-and-buy system, people can get paid for the tunes rather than having to give them away for free. I can see lots of people making use of it."
Part of the appeal to independents is the licensing system which guarantees the holder of the rights a cut of the sale, says Chris Thompson, who founded Musiccontrol and recently appeared on the BBC business angel show Dragon’s Den to raise cash for it.
"This really empowers independents to make a commercial offering," he says. “To all intents and purposes it is their own record label online.”
But the offering has proved popular not just with individual bands but also smaller labels eager to cut their administration costs, Chris added. He currently has five signed up, and is talking to 30 more. Each can make its own website which is not associated with Musiccontrol.

Songs are sold for whatever price the label specifies and the label gets back 90 per of the net revenues. And a link-up with the Music Alliance ensures royalties are paid to the rights holders.
These are clearly exciting times for both Chris and Paul
- whose first grandchild, Meg, was born into this increasingly connected world on Monday.

A few months after going to Australia on a trade trip, it strikes Paul that with this new technology, he can now sell his album there from the moment of its launch. "I sensed parallels of interest in Australia, now I can get my stuff there very easily," Paul says.

• The Paul Murphy Ensemble will play at The Ceol Castle on Moselev Road on February 24. Paul’s work can be found at
- Birmingham Post


The Glen (EP)



Paul's songwriting career began with a cardboard guitar when he was still in shorts and listening to Elvis on the wireless. With a pocket-full of songs he subsequently left Belfast's Folk scene to pursue his interest in new Folk Artists. Arriving in London as a 16-year-old in 1966, Paul was taken under Van Morrison's wing - he introduced him to his first publishing deal with Southern Music and accompanied him to his first London gig at the Marquee Club. John Lee Hooker was there and praised Murph's performance and, as City Beat said at the time "high praise indeed!" At this junction, the young Paul Murphy, determined that his songs should have the integrity of experience, shirked Tin Pan Alley and instead followed the example of Beat Poets, Guthrie and others - he opted for life on the road. Paul's passion and commitment has always been for, and remains with, the live performance - be this around a campfire or the Olympia in Dublin.

Living on the hoof, travelling, writing songs and performing regularly, Paul mixed with many of the seminal musicians and artists of the time: Lemmy of Motorhead recalls some of Paul's antics in his autobiography White Line Fever - a true story, merging Blackpool Tower, a Batman outfit and an incredulous Ticket vendor.

As a writer/performer he was able to develop his improvisation skills and to this day delights audiences with his ability to make up a song on the spot, weather solo or with a band. But his motivation for writing and love of words drove his music in other directions also and it was at this time that he wrote his 'folk-opera' "Tweedeleededeedee and Sir Rhubarb" which received its first performance at the Arts Lab in Drury Lane in 1968. The same show was later toured by a local Youth Theatre and won first prize in NI Youth Club's Drama Festival. The success of Tweedeleededeedee in combining music with drama spurred him also to write other musicals: the hard-hitting anti-racist drama "Rats" was performed by several companies and featured at the Handsworth Festival.

Paul's wealth of musicality means that his songs have a wide reach. All audiences from young to old can relate to his songs and talking blues and his great stage presence drove Ocean Colour Scene (who were then at the top of the Pop Charts) to invite Paul to tour as their solo support act including performances at the Olympia, Dublin.

And the interest continues....his ability to adapt to musical differences means he is now writing new material and re-working some of his songs, performing them with a 16-piece Eastern-European-style orchestra The Destroyers. Janice Long of Radio 2 commented on his performance with The Destroyers at Moseley Folk Festival, September 2006, "that was brilliant!" This has led Paul and The Destroyers to perform many gigs on the UK festival circuit including Glastonbury and Bestival 2007.