Musicians leaving Austin because of affordability

As rents climb in Austin many who used to be able to find housing here are getting pushed out.

That includes local musicians.

Thursday, a group of music industry professionals met to discuss ways they can afford to stay in the Live Music Capital of the World.

"You have a musical culture here that you won't find anywhere else, said local musician Philip Marshall.

As the cost of living soars, even those who can carry a tune have to face the music.

"Musicians are moving out of town. Everybody I talk to is saying, 'I'm moving to Buda.' 'I'm moving to this place or that place.' 'I'm living in Pflugerville now and it's a drive just to get to my $50 gig,' " Marshall said.

Like a broken record, music industry professionals have been asking for help so they don't have to play their final act. "We need to make sure we don't lose our place in line. We need to make sure we protect what we've got, preserve the good stuff and make room for change where it's appropriate," said Executive Director of Austin Music People Jennifer Houlihan.

That's why those in Austin's music industry are working to drum up some support from city leaders. But when it comes to making a living, the easiest way to solve the problem would be for music venue owners and fans to start singing a different tune.

"Tip the band, pay the cover, don't say you're on the guest list when you're not on the guest list," Houlihan said.

In order to survive Austin's challenging economy more musical artists are being forced to stop the music. "When you make musicians have to work a 40 hour a week job, when do they practice?" asked Marshall.

"I would rather musicians have time to make the music," said Executive Director of Front Porch Stephen Kinney. That makes it difficult for the Live Music Capital of the World to stay on track.

"When you drive the arts community away how vibrant is your city?" Marshall asked.

Other ideas brought up at Thursday's discussion were to increase wages for musical performances, teach music students marketing and help musicians license their music for movies or video games. According to Austin Music People, the city said goodbye to 1,200 jobs in the music sector in just the last four years.