Group to discuss how Austin artists can earn a living making music
Austin Music Source
Silas Lowe, an Austin-based musician, stood up in front of the music commission at the beginning of August and voiced his concern that in a town that pegs its identity to live music, the people making that music receive very little money in return.
As more than one comment on Facebook pointed out, it's not news that working as a musician in Austin doesn't pay the bills. But there hasn't been a lot of dialogue between musicians and the commission. Members of the City Council-appointed commission (which doesn't include a musician) said that they hadn't had a musician speak at one of their meetings before and that they welcomed Lowe's comments. "It's important — the entire music community centers around artists," commission member Michael Feferman said after the meeting.
That's not to say that musicians haven't voiced their concerns to the city. In 2008, the city's live music task force commissioned an online survey of Austin musicians. The results included data from 378 respondents that identified as musicians.
When asked whether the community offers the "necessary resources to work at, support and perform and make music," 41 percent of respondents said no (38 percent answered yes; 18 percent said somewhat). When asked why, the top reason was "Low wages/live gigs don't pay/can't make a living from music."
The task force's final recommendations to the city in 2008 didn't include a minimum wage, but members did say that the city should do a better job of helping musicians with health care and affordable housing. Nothing came of those recommendations or those related to other issues, including support for venues, however. After a long debate on funding, the city followed up on one recommendation, which was the creation of a music office.
A group of musicians, including Lowe, will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at Rio Rita (1308 E. Sixth St.) to talk about a way to move forward. Lowe encourages any musicians interested in joining this conversation to attend. "I want to get folks together to start discussing these things, finding out which people are motivated and interested in putting forth some long-term energy," Lowe says.
The next meeting of the Austin music commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 1.
Release date set. Austin's Gary Clark Jr., who played both nights of Jay-Z's Made in America Festival last weekend in Philadelphia (and will play the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October, and has been at just about every other festival this summer), will release his new full-length album on Oct. 23 on Warner Bros. Clark hasn't announced the title or track-listing for the release, which follows 2011's popular "Bright Lights" EP. Mike Elizondo, who has worked with Fiona Apple, Mastodon and Dr. Dre, co-produced the album along with Clark. Clark plays ACL Fest at 2:15 p.m. Oct. 14 on the AMD stage.
"Austin City Limits" season. "Austin City Limits" will begin airing its 38th season on Oct. 6 with a performance by Radiohead. Other announced episodes, which will air each week through Nov. 10, include Bon Iver, Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples, the Shins/Dr. Dog, the Civil Wars/Punch Brothers and a presentation of the Americana Music Festival. The show will announce seven additional episodes at a later date.
"ACL" also will offer a sneak peak at the season, including the entire Radiohead episode, with a free event at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St.
Contact Peter Mongillo at firstname.lastname@example.org; 445-3696