The City of Austin's Music Commission will meet Tuesday evening to discuss the recommendations the city is proposing to strengthen the music industry.
Marshall Escamilla, one of the commissioners, said he spends his time teaching music to middle and high school students and creating music for the science podcast he and his wife produce for children, Tumble.
But he came to Austin with a different plan.
"I moved here in 2002, to start a band," he said.
His band, The Unbearables, were together for nine years.
"It's difficult to make money playing shows," he said laughing.
That fact hasn't changed, but the cost of living in Austin has.
"Rent is going up, obviously, really fast. Housing prices are going up really fast and that's a huge challenge for anyone, especially when most musicians are working right around the poverty line," said Escamilla.
High rent is also forcing popular music venues to close. A fact Austin Mayor Steve Adler is well aware of.
"We will no longer be the Live Music Capital of the World if we lose musicians who lose music venues," Adler said in February during a news conference where the council announced a Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution.
The resolution directed city staff, not to study the problem as is commonly done, but to come up with solutions. City staff released its report in June and it includes 10 priority recommendations:
- Preserve and increase the supply of affordable space where musicians can create
- Implement an Agent of Change Principle or policy so when new residential developments are built restrictions aren't placed on venues
- Enhance marketing so musicians benefit from tourism
- Create an Entertainment License to lower the cost and difficulty of permitting venues
- Foster genre development
- Provide incentives, tools and loans
- Change the Land Use Regulations to further develop and preserve venues
- Create a streamlined process for permitting
- Provide professional development training
- Come up with revenue strategies for musicians.
Escamilla said the recommendations are a good start.
"I think they're overall positive. I think it might not be the radical change that some are hoping for, but there's lots of incremental stuff that's very good," said Escamilla.
He and the other commissioners will meet Tuesday to craft their response to the council on the report.
As the city works to tackle the issue, he said everyone in Austin can do their part to keep the music playing.
"If living in a town that's the Live Music Capitol of the World is important to you, then I think, go out and see live music. Support bands, pay a cover, don't complain about it."