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Austin Wins $10 Million 'Minibond' to Help Local Music Venues

The marquee of Red 7, which closed last year.

More than a year to the date music venue Red 7 shuttered its doors, Mayor Steve Adler announced a plan to financially buttress the city’s live music spots in the form of a $10 million “minibond.”

“This is going to give us the support we need to try to crowdsource, in our community, a $10 million fund to help preserve some of our music venues,” said Adler before the start of an Austin City Council meeting Thursday. “We will not be the 'Live Music Capital of the World' much longer if we continue to lose live music venues.”

The bond program would be run through Neighborly, a venture capitalist-backed startup based in San Francisco, after Adler announced that Austin had won a competition though the company to help fund local projects. Winners receive help from Neighborly, in the form of marketing and legal services.

Investors will have the opportunity to buy a portion of the bond – for example, purchasing a $500 stake in this Austin music venue “minibond.” Adler emphasized that this would be at no cost the taxpayer, unlike usual municipal bonds.

“This is not funded by government. This is not a tax increment concept in any way. This is a crowdsourced fund,” he said.

The Mayor also stressed that there remain many details still to be worked out – including which music venues would benefit from this, and what kind of return investors could receive.

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