CultureMap Social ATX
Music Matters

Meet 4 local music organizations that are the heart and soul of Austin

Meet 4 music organizations that are the heart and soul of Austin

Gibson Black Ball 8993
CultureMap Social on June 29 celebrates local organizations that play a key role in upholding Austin's music community. Photo by Dave Pedley

In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” In Austin, music is the glue that holds the city together. It reminds us of who we are and where we come from. Without music, Austin would not be what it is today. Music is the heart and soul of our city.

The CultureMap Social on Monday, June 29 celebrates organizations that play a key role in upholding Austin’s music community, creating support and advocacy for professional musicians and fostering the growth of aspiring musicians.

In honor of the event, we're spotlighting organizations that offer various opportunities to enrich lives through artistic expression and musicianship. 

Kids in a New Groove
Research has shown that learning to play an instrument helps to develop the brain, impacting emotional development and maturity, social skills and the ability to handle several tasks simultaneously. Recognizing this, Kids in a New Groove (KING) provides free, in-home music lessons for the underserved youth in foster care.

Founded in 2009 by Karyn Scott, KING pairs foster children with a music mentor who can offer consistent guidance, so that foster youth involved in the program can walk away with a skill set, self-confidence and a healthy relationship with an adult. Through mentorship and music education, KING’s teachers aspire to help students succeed academically, emotionally and socially.

KING students recently performed at X Games Austin, providing an opportunity to perform among professional musicians, which directly ties in to the KING mission: “to show the world and, more importantly, youth themselves, what they can accomplish with passion and dedication.”

Austin Music People
Austin Music People (AMP) advocates for the “brands, bands and fans” that have laid the groundwork to create the rich music culture found in Austin today. The intent behind AMP is to not only uplift musicians and industry professionals but also demonstrate to the City of Austin the actual dollar amount contributed to the economy.

The organization identified a need in the community when high-rises started to spread like wildfire and the entertainment scene faced city restrictions on when and where live music could occur. AMP set to work to secure a voice representing the interests of musicians and the important creative and economic influence live music has on the city. 

Working in conjunction with music industry businesses, musicians and supporters, AMP serves the music scene by participating in city and policy development, informing the public and representing live music interests in public and private forums.

By providing concrete numbers about Austin’s live music and music tourism sectors — such as the $1.7 billion generated for the Austin economy, the 18,148 permanent and seasonal jobs that are created and the $38 million contributed annually in city tax revenue — AMP is showing us why music matters not only to individuals but also to Austin as a whole. 

Black Fret
To say it’s a struggle to be a full-time musician would be an understatement. As a tribute to the artists who contribute to the city’s designation as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Black Fret gives opportunities to musicians to create and perform their art form.

By utilizing the symphony patronage model, membership-based Black Fret nominates local bands for the chance to win a grant. Last year, the Austin nonprofit awarded $100,000 in grants — $10,000 for 10 musicians — allowing winners to advance their careers.

The 2015 nominees include Tameca Jones, Not in the Face, Riders Against the Storm, Holiday Mountain, Shakey Graves, The Nightowls, The Digital Wild, Ruby Jane, Gina Chavez, Danny Malone, Shinyribs, Nakia, Mother Falcon, Migrant Kids, Max Frost, Jazz Mills, East Cameron Folkcore, Aaron Behrens, Casey McPherson and Dan Dyer. All of them will receive a grant this year. Once Black Fret reaches its membership goal, the organization will be able to select more than 40 artists each year to receive $25,000, keeping the Austin music scene alive and well.

Austin Music Foundation
Much like Black Fret, Austin Music Foundation (AMF) works to empower musicians through programs, events and initiatives aimed at strengthening the city’s creative economy. From business education as it pertains to music to bringing people together from all corners of the music industry (artists, managers, producers, executives, etc.), AMF aims to sustain the city’s diverse music community. 

Recent news for the organization includes its fourth annual Music Industry Collaborative program, which helps music entrepreneurs with existing businesses acquire the resources and mentors needed to be successful. AMF has also partnered with the Circuit of the Americas for its Summer Series at the Austin360 Amphitheater, where AMF will curate local performances to open for national and international headlining acts.

Interested parties can get involved with free and low-cost musician consultations, monthly workshops and panels, and quarterly mixers that help unite the Austin music community. It’s programs like these that help instill faith for the future of Austin and its heart and soul, the music. The beat will go on.


Learn more about these organizations at CultureMap Social on the WET Deck at W Austin, June 29 from 6-8 pm. Listen to live music from Keeper and DJ BoomBaptist and sample summer fare from TRACE. Plus, treat yourself to a mini massage, channel your inner rock star with a look from the beGlammed beauty bar, and step into Smilebooth's Record Studio presented by Cadillac.

During the evening, you'll vote to decide which of the following music organizations — Kids in a New Groove, Austin Music People, Black Fret, Austin Music Foundation or Dub Academy — wins a $5,000 advertising package from CultureMap. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.