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City to spend $25,000 to study San Antonio music scene

San Antonio Sound Garden will spend six to eight months and $25,000 collecting data on how musicians make money, how they network and how San Antonians listen to their work.

SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio is finalizing a contract with a nonprofit to study the local music scene, the first step in an effort to help it grow.

San Antonio Sound Garden will spend six to eight months and $25,000 collecting data on how musicians make money, how they network and how San Antonians listen to their work.

“The people that are in the music scene know that there’s a music scene,” said Noah Breeden, the group’s chief financial officer. “The people who don’t, they just don’t.”

Research will also consider other cities’ successes and failures. The mayor of Austin recently said that city is “dealing with a crisis” in local music, losing musicians and desperately raising money to save music venues.

“Artists leave, they’re starting to flee Austin because they haven’t been able to support themselves as artists, as musicians,” said Edwin Stephens, founder of San Antonio Sound Garden.

The idea is to come up with a blueprint to grow the importance of music in the San Antonio economy and avoid Austin’s pitfalls.

“We want to be here in 10 years, in 20 years, in 30 years,” Breeden said.

The nonprofit, which launched four years ago, works to connect budding musicians to the resources they need.

“We’re not just interested in live music,” Stephens said. “We’re also interested in the management company. We’re interested in the startup record label, in the producer who cuts records. We’re interested in the sound engineers.”

Collecting data on the local music economy should give Sound Garden leaders a guiding light they’ll use to recommend city policy that will allow musicians to thrive.

“It’s like an oil field that hasn’t been tapped yet,” Breeden said.

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