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What's the State of the Austin Music Industry?

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Music People this week presented "The State of the Austin Music Industry" – a biennial white paper that looks at the economic and cultural impacts of what it means to be the “Live Music Capital of the World."

Austin Music People or "AMP" aims to promote the Austin music industry by bringing local leaders together with Austin music professionals to address the needs of both groups and to determine what can be done to foster the city’s rapid growth and thriving entertainment culture.

Born out of the fight that music industry professionals had with downtown developers over moving to end live music, AMP acts to strengthen the economic benefits of the city’s music scene.

The white paper urges Austin to preserve, protect, and amplify the independent and burgeoning Austin music scene and the community that supports it.

According to a TXP, Inc. study published in Spring 2012, Austin’s creative sector contributes over $4.3 billion annually to the local economy – $1.7 billion of that is from live music and live music tourism, not including non-profit live music organizations.

Austin music has many supporters across the city. Including city council member Mike Martinez.

At Monday’s State of the Austin Music Industry report, Martinez addressed the power the city’s entertainment has on city politics.

“You [AMP] have two thousand and five hundred members of AMP, right now, on your mailing list. You should be the driving political force behind City Hall and you are. You are becoming that,” Martinez said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo also spoke during the event. He made it clear that his department is informed of the needs of Austin music professionals and will do it what it can to help, but only as long as venues are in compliance with city laws and ordinances.

“One area where we have to be careful is when we have venues sprouting in neighborhoods that were already established. That’s where we have to be real careful," Acevedo said.

Acevedo also spoke of his perspective on the absurdity of residents who have moved to neighborhoods with an already vibrant nightlife who expect the sound to be turned off.

“I bought a house right by a freeway. The freeway was there when I bought it and for me to turn around and say I shouldn’t have any noise when I live right by the freeway – that’s a tough one to sell," Acevedo said.

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