The music industry's dirty not-so-secret is that no one in it can say with any certainty what it's going to look like in five years. (Unless they're lying, which of course never happens in the entertainment biz.) Will marketing agencies take the place of traditional record labels? Will Apple or Google? Or maybe tiny, glossy black, Internet-connected cubes, each containing a complete download of Irving Azoff's brain? Who knows?
A local startup called Audiotree thinks the answer might be a cafeteria-style operation that offers artists a range of services normally associated with record labels available a la carte. I think it's an interesting idea, so I wrote about it for my column in this week's Reader.
Also in this week's issue, Peter Margasak reviews new releases from A Hawk and a Hacksaw, 3/4HadBeenEliminated, and the Moritz von Oswald Trio; Gossip Wolf brings news of noise rock, lady DJs, and Chicago alternatives to SXSW; the Secret History of Chicago Music profiles Papa Charlie Jackson, "an imposing figure in prewar blues & jazz"; the Photo Pit takes us to the Empty Bottle to see the Parting Gifts (with Greg Cartwright of the Reigning Sound and Coco Hames of the Ettes); and the List recommends shows by Diplo, Birth, Forced Collapse, Afel Bocoum, and more.