Music Matters

Innovative Austin music factory hopes to keep the local scene alive

Innovative Austin music factory hopes to keep the local scene alive

KVUE — A real estate mogul and a Grammy winner are working to create a music incubator to help local musicians advance.

From the musicians at the airport to the renowned festivals, Austin prides itself on being the Live Music Capital of the World. "But how are we backing that up?" asked Laura Hill Nash, community manager of All ATX. "What are we doing to keep Austin musicians here, what are we doing to help their business?"

Gary Keller and his former high school band mate, Grammy-award winner Randy Miller, are trying to create solutions with All ATX. The organization is an advocate for musicians that produces an annual album and concert with Austin talent.

"We really wanted to find a way to keep Austin musicians here and support their business," said Nash.

Joshua Zarbo is one of those musicians. He plays bass for Austin artist Brian Kremer and teaches multiple music courses at Austin Community College. Zarbo is moving out of Austin, partly because he said musicians here don't have enough opportunities to grow, and the cost of living is driving artists out.

"They need designated spaces to play music, to rehearse music [and] to record music that aren't going to change a whole lot by rising property costs," said Zarbo. "They need advocates on the city council to advocate for Austin music to be represented well throughout the city. And they need more job opportunities. They need more live music opportunities. They need more opportunities for music business, they need more opportunities for concert venue management, all across the board really."

All ATX is working on a solution. "The All ATX Music Factory would be affordable rehearsal, recording and performance space for musicians that would provide education: education about recording, education about music business, you know, how to promote yourself, how to utilize social media," said Nash.

In addition, the factory would have a space for concerts and bands would be able to keep proceeds from their gigs. Musicians would pay a small fee to join, similar to a gym membership.

Nash said the factory is still in the planning stages and the All ATX staff is looking for a location. It may just be an idea now, but the factory is gaining support among musicians.


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Max Frost SXSW Austin
The All ATX Music Factory is in the planning stages. Photo by Daniel Cavazos