Artists’ Advocacy Leads to Pay Raise at SXSW

todayJuly 3, 2023 16

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Artists’ Advocacy Leads to Pay Raise at SXSW

South by Southwest (SXSW), the renowned Texas-based festival, has responded to the concerns raised by performing musicians and the Austin city council by quietly increasing the wages for artists.

Previously, SXSW faced criticism for its low pay rates for performers, as well as the inclusion of application fees that essentially required artists to pay in order to play at the festival.

In February, over 120 musicians joined forces with the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) to pen an open letter to SXSW, calling for necessary changes. The letter demanded better pay for artists, the elimination of application fees, and the provision of wristbands for festival access during the annual event in March in Austin, Texas.

Reports indicate that solo artists were receiving a meager $100 for their performances, while bands were compensated only $250. Moreover, the costs of application fees had recently increased.

On June 25, the Parks and Recreation board passed a resolution urging the city council to negotiate fair pay and waive any future fees at venues like Vic Mathias Shores and other city-owned facilities.

According to Pitchfork, the resolution requested that “any contract negotiation between the City, PARD, and SXSW include a provision requiring fair pay for domestic artists performing at City of Austin parks, park facilities, and city-owned property.”

Texas Public Radio announced on June 27 that wages for SXSW 2024 have been quietly increased. Applications for next year’s event now reflect a bump in pay to $350 for bands and $150 for solo artists.

Although SXSW reportedly made these changes to pay rates in June, they did not make a formal announcement. The open letter from February had called for pay rates of at least $750, highlighting the artists’ push for fair compensation.


Written by: AIT

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