The Texas music industry gins up $7.5 billion in economic activity each year. That’s the good news. The question is whether Texas music might be a victim of its own success.
Brendon Anthony has been director of the Texas Music Office for just over a year now. He’s a musician himself – for about 15 years, he toured with Texas country artist Pat Green. Now, his job is to promote the Texas music industry, a position he calls “the coolest job in the world.”
But he has his work cut out for him. There’s been a lot of talk about the decline of the music scene in Texas, particularly in Austin, the so-called “Live Music Capital of the World.” Anthony’s job is to address the struggles the industry currently faces.
“With the dissolution of the music business as you and I might have understood it, come an entirely new set of challenges,” Anthony says. “And the music industry has always been a very difficult place to make a living. Every community is dealing with this in their own way in different levels.”
In Austin, one of the biggest challenges is growth. Smaller venues are being priced out, and the music economy is relying increasingly on big name festivals – think South By Southwest, Austin City Limits Festival and Fun Fun Fest.
“The mayor has said several times that we want to manage growth, we don’t want growth to manage us,” Anthony says. “I think that for the live music scene, we’re in danger of being managed by growth.”
But whether it’s in Austin or throughout the rest of the state, Anthony’s job is to bring artists and music industry employees together to function as a unit when facing challenges.
“I can help in my role to tie these people together,” he says, “so we can find some high-level issues and concerns we can all talk about with one voice.”