Following up on last fall's announcement that BMI would open in office in Austin this year, the renowned performance rights organization revealed at a Tuesday luncheon during South by Southwest that the office will be at 1400 S. Congress Ave., in a space above Perla's restaurant.
BMI execs Mike Steinberg and Jody Williams also introduced Mitch Ballard, who will head up the new Austin office. Ballard, whose official title will be Senior Director, Creative, Austin, is a Texas native and graduate of the University of North Texas, returns to the state from Nashville, where he worked for more than a decade as a tour manager and also worked in web development, radio and television.
Extended remarks from Williams included recollections of visiting the first SXSW in 1987 and BMI's long relationship with the conference and with Austin City Limits Music Festival, where BMI hosts a stage every year. "I have not been the same ever since" that 1987 trip," Williams said. "Every time I could get on a plane and come down here, I've done it."
The luncheon, which featured a short speech by BMI-affiliated songwriter Robert Earl Keen, drew dozens of Austin music industry leaders and representatives from the city and state's official music offices, as well as songwriters including Wagoneers/Dangerous Few frontman Monte Warden and Folk Uke's Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie.