Austin is known as the live music capital of the world, but an advocacy group says: the local artist flair is decreasing at an alarming rate. Monday, "Austin Music People" released a report saying they may know why this downward trend is on the rise.
Will Southern grew up around music.
“Both sides of my family played music. Dad is a classical piano player, my mom on her side everybody plays,” he said.
He moved to Austin, from Nashville to chase his dreams. While the city's growth is a positive thing, he feels with large festivals like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, the city could lose its local charm.
“The festival [SXSW] is great, it's awesome, it brings people to town, but I think the scene is definitely on the decline,” Southern said.
The report says Austin lost more than 1,200 jobs over the last four years. Despite the loss of jobs, the economic impact of music has grown from $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion.
“While the total dollars are growing what we're seeing is a disconnect between tourism dollars related to music and what happened to the infrastructure,” Bobby Garza, Board Chairman, Austin Music People, said.
Garza says pay isn't that great for those working in the industry anymore, especially with the city’s rising rent prices.
“You have sound guys that work, door guys, bar backs,” he said.
So what will it take to keep the local music scene alive? Southern says the first step is the city working more with musicians when it comes to ordinances.
“Taking a decibel reading six inches from a crash cymbal, there's no way that’ll pass city noise ordinance,” Southern said.
Musicians and advocates agree, it's going to take some boots on the ground to keep Austin's music roots alive.
“I think the commercial success has been a benefit of what's happened on the ground, with venues, and I think we're at risk of losing all those things, Garza said.