Local Music Industry Sustainability – It’s a City Thing

Published On April 13, 2015 | Music & Culture

“There’s nothing worse than being the city that used to be cool.” – Mayor Steve Adler, City of Austin.


The above quote is taken from a report in Bizjournal by Chad Swiatecki, in which he outlines some remarks by the mayor,concerning the future of Austin’s local music industry, venues and artists. Fast growth in Austin is apparently putting pressure on the sustainability of live music venues and artists – a situation frighteningly similar to the one happening in Cape Town in many respects.

The difference here is that the Mayor of that city actually addressed a gathering of local industry leaders. And while he didn’t bring any promises or immediate solutions to the problems, he did offer some thoughts:

“He didn’t come with any grand plans or silver bullet ideas for how to save struggling venues or how to keep low-income musicians from getting priced out of living or rehearsal space.

“But Adler did say he wants those involved to imagine what Austin’s music economy might look like 10 years in the future. That perspective could help city and business leaders to lay the foundation to lure major music companies like music-streaming service Spotify or a big record label.

“While Austin’s music industry is healthy with close to $2 billion in economic impact annually, the challenge shows that Adler understands much of that figure comes from live music. There’s simply a need to grow other parts of the music economy.

In Cape Town, we have a couple of annual conferences involving industry roleplayers. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get the Mayor of this and other cities to engage on the issues?

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