So a guy with a relatively high profile in the little world of the arts writes an article for the Huff Post. In the article he talks about the "death" of traditional arts criticism and the growing influence of blogs, message boards, etc.
He described this change as a "scary trend."
Moments after the article went live, I checked my Twitter feed (@missionparadox) and saw the predictable Tweets. People jumped on the author for being "scared of the future" and trying to "maintain the status quo."
Can I be honest for a second?
A lot of these changes in how art and audience connect have me a little freaked out too.
Can I be honest for one more second?
I work with artists and arts organizations from all over the country and a lot of them are freaked out too.
Why wouldn't they be?
You don't think it's a little jarring for a musician to hear that technology has driven the value of her recorded music to essentially zero?
You think that musician is excited to hear that her only real shot at a career is through a carefully executed mix of touring, online engagement and more then a bit of luck?
That can be a scary thought.
You don't think marketers like me (and you) aren't spooked by the complex, never ending, hyper fragmentation of the audience? Let's be honest, marketing used to be easy. Buy some ads, sprinkle in some effective public relations and let the magic happen.
Now any good marketer (and like or not, YOU are a marketer) has to be a master at content creation, social engaement, design and a bunch of other stuff.
If that doesn't scare you (at least a little) then you probably aren't seeing the situation clearly.
Of course you can't live in the fear forever. I don't even agree with the main points in the Huff article. But I certainly understand where the fear comes from.
Plus, how can you move past the fear if you don't acknowledge it?
Instead of the snarky messages about being "clueless" and "out of touch", I think we should acknowledge (even if we don't share) the fears and concerns that lives in the hearts of folks who work in and for the arts.
That's a vital first step in making positive change happen.