Virtual Filksing: Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Virtual Filksing?

Back in 1996, before MP3s existed and free digital music distribution was largely unheard of, I posted a web page called the Virtual Filksing.

It was the first site to highlight RealAudio recordings of unpublished filksongs by a variety of artists, and it was explained as follows:

"The conventional filk physical distribution mediums of tapes and CDs are still not ideal for the economics of filk distribution. Many filkers with songs to share are often still left unheard outside of their regional conventions --- not everyone who writes a Killer Song can afford to spend thousands of dollars to publish an album, or fly around the world to conventions for the song to be heard. With the effective desolation of the convention anthology album genre in the early 1990s, at which the 'publication lag' for a convention album increased to an average of five years after the convention in question, there are presently few other effective means of getting that Killer Song heard throughout the filk community.

The Internet, conveniently, has quickly become an ideal medium for filk distribution: reasonably high quality recordings can be transmitted in minutes (or seconds, if you have an ISDN line or a direct connection). Anyone can make their songs available internationally just by plugging a microphone into their Macintosh (or on most of the newer Wintel boxes), and throwing it onto the Net. While there may be no effective means of collecting royalties yet, the fact that only a (literal) handful of filkers have made a gross profit large enough to cover lunch at McDonald's from their work renders this irrelevant for those filkers who just want to their music to be heard throughout the filk community.

The Virtual Filksing, in particular, currently receives approximately 1,000 visits per month, which is a far wider audience than even the most popular filk album has ever reached."

Five years later, hundreds of recorded filksongs are available through Napster,, and assorted web pages, including the Virtual Filksing, and digital distribution of representative songs has become the norm. Mission accomplished.

Can I Submit Songs?

Now that I'm no longer an active filker, Virtual Filksing no longer receives active updates. Free Web sites like now offer a better value proposition to those wishing to expose their creative works to a broad audience.

What lacks is a central, discoverable, well-maintained index of filksongs, but a motivated individual could create and maintain this using the Open Directory Project's filk category.

-- Eli Goldberg