In many arts and works the criticism is an important part of feedback. People need to know what others like on their work so they can keep it, and what they don’t like, so they can change it.
Really? Which forms of art work like that?
Computer games, for example. That’s what I’ve been doing for some past years. I mean freeware or indie scene. There are really some good methods of doing things that make the true artistic content most accessible and enjoyable to the fans.
But I can also imagine that a musician may get inspired by the work of other musicians. I don’t mean stealing a rhythm or melody, but keeping up with their quality, but in my own way.
But the part of computer games that needs that feedback from the consumer isn’t the artistic side of the creation, it’s the commercial aspect of it. As it is with any art which has a fundamentally functional purpose. For example, Architecture is partially art, but it also has a serious functional use that cannot be forgotten. The functionality of a building design is up for objective review, but the aesthetic form of the building is the artistic endeavor of the designer and if that designer considers himself an artist, he won’t put much stock in criticisms about it.
That’s the difference between music and computer games. Computer games are designed to be interacted with by an unknown user (and, more specifically, they are designed to be sold to said user). They are excercises in interactive ergonomics. And there are artistic aspects in the creation, but they are driven by the idea that the product has to be consumable. Music, on the other hand, is largely an enterprise entered into because of the joy of creation. This is not universally the case, of course. There is the awful cycle of created “artists” among major record labels; performers who don’t play intruments or write their own songs (and those who do play the instruments or write the songs are entering that situation for the payday).
I compose music because the act of doing so is immense fun. The end result is a piece of music, but that is merely the by product of that act of creation. I don’t create it to be consumed. Most musicians I know work much in the same way, and those who’s finished pieces are widely enjoyed enough manage to make some money by selling those pieces. But the impetus for making the music doesn’t really change much for them. It’s still an act of expression, first and foremost done for themselves.
Now, I’m not going to suggest that critical discussion of music isn’t something that can’t be constructive. Musicians are always growing and learning and open discussion about a given piece of work can be hugely benefiting. Another ear is always welcome. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the musicians needs to alter their work once they’ve heard some criticism, but I see no point to hide from people’s opinions. But, ultimately, there isn’t really much of an objective musical standard of quality (there is only things you are used to hearing and things you aren’t used to hearing), and so all criticism is, at most, suggestive and will be taken with a grain of salt if the artist has any self-confidence whatsoever.