One of the substantial changes in the arts environment that has happened with astonishing speed is that arts criticism has become a participatory activity rather than a spectator sport.
Gone are the days when artists, producers or arts organizations used to wait for a handful of reviews to determine the critical response to a particular project.
This has happened because:
First, far fewer people are getting their news from print media.
Second, because serious arts coverage has been deemed an unnecessary expense by many news media outlets looking to pare costs, there are fewer critics and less space devoted to serious arts criticism.
Third, the growing influence of blogs, chat rooms and message boards devoted to the arts has given the local professional critic a slew of competitors.