Austin music industry partners Brandon DeMaris and Debbie Stanley are delighted to introduce their newest endeavor, Musicians’ Living Wage, launching with a public forum event on Wednesday, Feb. 21 at The North Door located at 501 Brushy St., Austin, Texas 78702. The event will include an introduction to the Musicians’ Living Wage concept, experts’ panel discussion and audience Q&A, all aimed at kick-starting a conversation on musicians earning equitable pay for their art. The event will also feature performances from local musicians including BLXPLTN, Dana Falconberry, Robert Rankin and Barfield, The Tyrant of Texas Funk.Event sponsors will be welcomed with a VIP reception at 5:30 p.m. General-admission doors will be at 6 p.m. with performances beginning immediately, and the panel will commence at 7 p.m. Admission to this ticketed and seated event is open to sponsors and general audience attendees: An early $250 sponsorship level (sold out) provides funding to pay the performing musicians; a few remaining $125 sponsorships provide a table for two in the balcony and also fund free admission for five musicians each. General admission tickets are $25 and available in advance. For more info and to purchase tickets, please see here.
Event panelists include Steve Begnoche (Local 433 Representative for American Federation of Musicians), Nancy Coplin (Founding Music Coordinator for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Founding Chair of Austin Music Commission), Colin Kendrick (President/Founder of Black Fret and Co-founder of Austin Music Foundation), Adrienne Lake (Senior Talent Buyer for Heard Entertainment [The Parish, Empire Control Room & Garage]), Omar Lozano (Music Industry Marketing Manager, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau), Michael Mordecai(Career Musician, National Talent Buyer, Owner of BBA Management & Booking), Nakia Reynoso (Artist/Musician, Former Chair of Austin Music Commission), SaulPaul (Artist/Musician, 2017 Austin Under 40 Austinite of the Year) and Peter Schwarz (Consultant).
Founded in 2017 by Brandon DeMaris (DeMaris Entertainment) and Debbie Stanley (Thoughts In Order), Musicians’ Living Wage establishes a platform for music industry professionals, musicians and music fans to gather and start a dialogue about the importance of musicians receiving meaningful payment for performing their art. The mission of Musicians’ Living Wage is to improve standards in the live performance industry here in Austin and beyond, empowering independent musicians to earn a living from their music.
DeMaris and Stanley bring a unique combined perspective, having found each other in the music industry after many years of wildly different professional experience (see bios below).
“I’m a musician myself, as well as a music fan and an industry professional, so I have a lot of skin in the game on this issue,” DeMaris noted. “We’re taking a fairly bold stand in claiming Musicians’ Living Wage is a movement, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say that there are plenty of folks who are eager to join the conversation and advocate for the musicians they know and love.”
“Shortly after I moved here, someone told me, ‘The miracle of Austin is that we’ve got world-class musicians playing for the tip jar. And the tragedy of Austin is that we’ve got world-class musicians playing for the tip jar,'” Stanley observed. “Since then I’ve shifted my professional focus onto the music industry, and I’ve learned that the miracle/tragedy paradox is deeply entrenched and there are decades of reasons for it. But I still carry a simple, steadfast fan’s devotion to changing it.”