Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow has some interesting insights into the artist/reader(listener) relationship.
Today there’s the explosion of choice brought on by the Internet. All entertainments are approximately one click away. The search-cost of finding another artist whose music or books or movies are as interesting as yours is dropping through the floor, thanks to recommendation systems, search engines, and innumerable fan-recommendation sites like blogs and MySpaces. Your virtuosity is matched by someone else’s, somewhere, and if you’re to compete successfully with her, you need something more than charisma and virtuosity.
You need conversation.
Conversation with an audience recruits fans to choose, through evangelism and advocacy, which art will succeed and which art will fail. It changes the system where the sole arbiters of such decisions work at publishing or entertainment concerns.