Monday, February 29, 2016

The same old cliché?

Is it the same old story, or can we celebrate what models exist that have success.

Here's my response to the results of the AMP Study and a recent article on the state of the Austin music scene roundtable discussion published in the Austin Monthly.

The AMP study reports that more than 1,200 local music industry jobs were lost in just a four year period.
“We’ve sounded this alarm before, and we keep coming back with more data that says Austin music needs attention if we are to continue to be an economic driver for this region,” says Bobby Garza, general manager of local company Transmission Events and AMP board chair. 

25 years ago KUT 90.5 invited me along with Mike Mordecai and a few other Austin music scene experts into a basement studio for a live broadcast on the state of the Austin music scene as it was in 1991. The same questions were asked and for the most part the same problems existed.  What I've seen over the years is that musicians leave for greener pastures, the marketing campaigns remain and attract new celebrity seekers to town, and the whole process just keeps repeating itself.  Musicians and folks that care about the scene complain but nothing really ever changes....or does it?

Maybe if we look beyond the standard models of music presentation, under the radar of what's popular in Austin, or what's on the hot morning drive radio stations.  Could there be other models of live music presentation or are there musicians that are creating new outside the box ways?

Dig deeper and I know you will find them...

Events like Full Moon Barn Dance, Hamm Jam, or Strings on Grass have been thriving for years.

Or what about the Live Music Capital Foundation or John Pointer's dream of

Dig deep music lovers of Austin.  There are other places besides ACL, ACL live, the warehouse district, and 6th street where music lovers can find their home.  All is not lost in the noise and congestion of this thriving live music town!

I would love to hear about organizations or musicians that are doing just this: re-inventing the Live Music Capital right now. How about a little attention for what is working?

Here's a quote from an interview I did with my friend Dr. Stephen Kinney of the Front Porch Project.

"The musician can no longer make dough from their each musician now has to become his or her own business person.  More and more time has to devoted to making a living. Because you're not making a living from selling your work. People can access it for free.  We need as a culture to own the fact that we need to be patrons of the folks that are willing to take the risk and do the hard work to create the music. If we don't all step up and pay our fair share and quit expecting musicians in Austin to play for free because they all need the exposure. And give that living wage...and get that mindset and change the culture...then not only are we going to lose music in Austin, but it's going to be just one big cliché."

1 comment:

Leeann Atherton said...

Austin audiences are great about tipping! It seems Austin audiences, unlike other cities, really contribute to musicians by tipping and buying merchandise. Of course, they do like the free shows,but always contribute what they can, often more than the cover charge could have been.
Clubs do have a responsibility for paying their fare share, since the musicians do help the club make profits from alcohol and/or food.