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New Austin Music Census Launches to Amplify Local Artist Voices

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Delayed from its scheduled June 20 release for final tweaks, the Greater Austin Area Music Census is now off to register the needs of local industry professionals. From July 15 to August 15, it will collect information anonymously, to establish new community data for the first time in seven years.

The census is conducted via an online form and is available to all self-declared music professionals in Travis and surrounding counties, including musicians, venue owners, non-profit organizations, members of government agencies and anyone playing a role “in any music-related product or service”. industry.” Fans are the only group to which the platform’s requests do not apply, with a friendly note of thanks. (The 2015 census removed nearly a third of the final responses, which it deemed ineligible or incomplete.)

The latest Music Census presented a 235-page analysis, with the majority of responses (60%) coming from musicians. As with many discussions even now about the experience of musicians in the live music capital, she largely focused on income and affordability. He confirmed that the majority of musicians earn below the average and median salaries of Austinites in general.

Yet most (60%) had lived in Austin for 11 years or more, prompting a growing question in Austin’s cultural media: what exactly keeps musicians here? Pause/Play – a local NPR podcast that solicits input from local music professionals and could be considered an unofficial census in its own right – has tackled this issue over the past year with episodes focusing on housing, extra income and public funds. Like the podcast, the census is more about tracking values ​​within the industry than identifying solutions at this point.

“Since no one had really done a census like this in 2015, we needed to establish a baseline understanding,” says Bobby Garza, vice president of programs and community outreach at Long Center, which helped organize the census. . “We know more than before, especially with the help of the first census and the ongoing conversations it sparked. We want to know some variations of these similar questions to see how much progress we have made and see which part still needs to be done.”

This announcement comes from Mayor Steve Adler’s office, co-parent station Pause/Play KUTX and non-profit EQ Austin. To help bring participants together, the polling organizations recruited more than 50 community partners, including the data collection organization, Sound Music Cities.

Other partners also include organizations commonly seen in these pro bono spaces, such as the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, SIMS Foundation, Black Fret, the Long Center, and the Recording Academy Texas Chapter. Others are still much smaller organizations and the organizers are still accepting inquiries about new partnerships. Just as data collection was a community effort, no one organization is responsible for implementing solutions once the data has been analyzed.

“I hope this generates community conversations like last time,” Garza says. “It is incumbent on all of us to come [together] and think about the solutions… so that we can have some self-determination. I think that’s the best part. And then I think the hope is that the leaders will hear us…from an economic development perspective and from a city policy perspective.”

To complete the survey between July 15 and August 15, visit austinmusiccensus.org.