Music capital

Non-profit organization works to make Austin the “capital of live music”

AUSTIN, Texas – The city of Austin’s slogan “Live Music Capital of the World” became official in 1991 when Austin was recognized as having more concert halls per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Today, the city is known for hosting some of the biggest music festivals in the world – SXSW and Austin City Limits Music Fest – but the big festivals aren’t the only ones making Austin’s music beat.

  • City was named “Live Music Capital of the World” in 1991
  • The rising cost of real estate contributes to the closure of concert halls
  • Non-profit organization providing resources to musicians and artists

Almost 2,000 local bands and artists can be found in Austin’s nearly 200 concert halls every day at almost any time.

Dan Redman has been at the center of Austin’s music scene since 1992. He moved to the “Live Music Capital of the World” a year after the city coined his nickname. Redman has spent nearly three decades working to keep Austin’s local music scene alive.

“We live in this ‘live music capital of the world’ that doesn’t necessarily support the infrastructure for creatives,” said Redman.

He can vouch for anyone who says Austin in 2019 is not what it was in 1992. Redman has seen Austin change drastically over the years, and while the change may be good, he believes the industry creative has fallen through the cracks.

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“Although we are one of the fastest growing cities in the country, year after year, year after year, there is a short term memory of what Austin was like. Some of our great places like Liberty Lunch and the Armadillo – losing these places day after day is tragic, ”Redman said.

Rising real estate costs have been a common factor in many Austin site closures in recent years. The high cost of living has also affected local artists who struggle to make ends meet with a musician’s budget.

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Redman saw the need for affordable resources in the creative sector, which led him to create the Mosaic Sound Collective in 2015. The 25,000 square foot hub in East Austin provides affordable resources and services to local musicians and artists . The association connects creatives with the tools, skills and connections necessary to support a sustainable career.

“Everyone thinks of New York, LA, and Nashville – cities that have this infrastructure that supports the music industry – whether it’s record labels, licensing and publishing, and things like that,” Redman said. “Austin has always had that core. Of great local musicians. Some of them made it huge, but for those local artists who work everyday and work in clubs and struggle to do whatever they can, it has become more difficult for musicians to make a living from their art. It’s like you have to get out of Austin to survive.

Redman developed Mosaic Sound Collective using a sustainable model focused on providing affordable tenant space for creatives, implementing multiple revenue streams, and engaging in community outreach.

Musical themes can be found throughout the Mosaic Sound collective. The ceiling of this hallway, for example, is covered in colorful discs and the walls have paintings by visual artist Tim Wakefield. (Tara Petitt)

Artists have access to recording studios, rehearsal spaces, record labels, visual arts, screen printing, photography and video resources. Everything a musician or artist would need can be found under the Mosaic roof.

The only prerequisite for taking advantage of the Resources is finding something that you are passionate about and using that passion to contribute to the Mosaic Sound Collective and the Austin community. The association uses the motto “give to recover”.

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“Any vibrant music or arts community across the country needs a support structure,” said Redman. “So creating a sustainable non-profit model that is kind of a YMCA for artists is something that I think any city could use.”

While bringing more industry and technology to Austin has played a role in the city’s rapid growth, Redman hopes Mosaic Sound Collective can remind the Austin community of its roots and where it came from.

“I really feel like the tech industry and the creative sector can do a lot more to collaborate, and I feel like it’s our responsibility – and it’s the responsibility of the people in charge. city ​​and state officials say, “You know, instead of giving these huge incentives to developers and huge incentives to businesses, let’s pair that with something that creates an infrastructure to support those who have come here and help out. develop what Austin was, ”Redman said.

The work of visual artist Tim Wakefield decorates the hallway of the Soundwaves Art Foundation at the Mosaic Sound Collective. (Tara Petitt)

The association is focused on more collaboration and less competition to strengthen what makes Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World.”

“If we don’t fight to protect, preserve and create things that are focused on our creative sector and on the less fortunate, then we’re just going to become another big city – and frankly, I don’t care if I live in one. city ​​that has no identity, ”Redman said.

Looking to the future, the association is working to tackle one of the biggest issues facing artists in Austin: the lack of affordable housing. Mosaic is currently in the planning phase of a 200-unit on-site community development that will provide affordable housing options for creatives. If you would like to learn more about Mosaic Sound Collective, click here to visit the association’s website.