Crosstalk: Austin Parks and Rec Board Discusses Fair Pay at SXSW, and More Music News
The latest moves from Austin's Tribe Mafia and Jackie Venson
By Lina Fisher and Rachel Rascoe, Fri., March 31, 2023
The Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, after protests demanding fair pay for artists at South by Southwest, took the fight to the Parks and Recreation Board on Monday night. Several UMAW, Austin Federation of Musicians, and Austin Texas Musicians members testified in favor of a resolution that would recommend City Council ensure fair pay in any future contracts with SXSW for the use of city-owned property and parks. According to the resolution, the city currently waives fees amounting to $23,430 for SXSW to use Vic Mathias Shores, and regularly rents Krieg Softball Complex, Waterloo Park, and Brush Square Park. Festival rep Michael Whellan asked the board to postpone the item until June 26 to give SXSW a chance to conduct their own internal review, including a review of compensation, by May. "Obviously SXSW is aware of the feedback related to artist compensation. Each year they conduct a review of the event including policies ... This is going to be one of those items," Whellan said. "The SXSW Music component is an opportunity for musicians to showcase their talent, engage, and network. This is not a consumer-driven event like Coachella and Lollapalooza."
UMAW member Eamon Fogarty opposed the delay, arguing that "allowing industries to regulate themselves and do their reviews on their own terms has never worked out well. This is an opportunity to hold an org accountable." However, the board voted unanimously to postpone the item until June and, in the interim, send a letter to SXSW outlining their concerns. Several board members expressed the need for more time to research the issue. "My expectation is that we're going to be working as a board with the unions that are represented here today and with other artists, and we are going to keep holding SXSW's feet to the fire and keeping the flame on high, to ensure that through a collaborative process we're going to be able to actually effectuate this change," said resolution author Pedro Villalobos. – Lina Fisher
Jackie Venson, Austin-based blues musician, will play guitar with famed singer-songwriter Alanis Morissette on "You Oughta Know" at the CMT Music Awards this Sunday, April 2. Following decades in Nashville, the show takes over the Moody Center with performances by Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and more. Fans can watch live on CBS from 7 to 10pm or purchase tickets starting around $230. Read up on free awards-related events around town on our Daily Music blog. – Rachel Rascoe
Tribe Mafia, Austin hip-hop duo of Chinasa Broxton and Carlos Moore, landed placement on the CW series All American following a distribution deal with Empire. Their track "Reach for the Stars" – an upbeat, inspirational play in nostalgic pop and disco – soundtracked fifth season episode "United in Grief." The song was produced by Phillip Lewis, known for work with Doja Cat and Mary J. Blige. – R.R.