We live, in the arts at least, in the age of the amateur. Technological advances coupled with the ease of internet access, have flooded society with the work of amateur photographers, film makers and musicians.Nothing wrong with that in itself, people have always had fun with the arts as a hobby and hopefully they always will. Being involved in something artistic is so good for anybody. The problem these days is that the flood of material and the sophistication of the technology has blurred the lines between people who dabble and use software to help them look like they know what they're doing, and the people who actually know what they're doing. The torrent of Instagram/Photoshop/
type content online is testament to the fact that many people have a
sense that they are professional standard artists, when to the
professional eye, or ear, they clearly are not. The technology can make
you look good for a minute, but as to producing anything high level over
an extended period time? I don't think so.
There are certain musical things that can't even be approached unless you've devoted years of time and effort and thought to it, yet in this age of the amateur this aspect of being a high-level artist is becoming forgotten, or is not considered necessary. 'Why should I practice for years when I can use an app?', seems to be the kind of attitude displayed by many. My amateur musician friend thinks nothing of opening for true professional acts, and doesn't seem to see any reason why he shouldn't be up there with people who actually know what they're doing. He seems to think the only reason why he can't do what they can is due to some genetic disparity, and has nothing to do with the fact that he hasn't put in one hundredth of the amount of the work that the pros have.Which is typical of the disrespect for craft that is so prevalent today
And is something which poses such a threat to the high-level artist. True professionals are competing with amateurs as never before, and trying to make themselves heard above the din of substandard content that floods the internet every day. Combine this with the death of mainstream media, and the old way of publicising yourself, and the higher valuation given to the method of delivery of content (iPods, Kindle, Ipads etc), over the actual content itself (music, photographs, video etc), and an unwillingness to pay for good content, and you have a situation where the profession of high-level musician is under threat as a viable way to make a living.