Music FestivalsNews

SXSW To Increase Pay For Artists In Response To An Open Letter From Musicians

The Austin, Texas-based music, film, and media convention, South by Southwest (SXSW) has increased wages for artists performing at the festival after an intervention from musicians and Austin’s city council.

SXSW has recently come under intense criticism for its low pay rates for performers and its inclusion of application fees, which in effect, asks artists to pay to play.

In February, over 120 musicians signed a letter to the festival in collaboration with the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, asking for changes to the previous policies.

The letter sought better pay for performing artists, the elimination of application fees, and a wristband to admit them to the festival.

Currently, solo artists are reportedly paid only $100 to perform at SXSW each March, while bands are paid $250. 

On Monday, the Austin Parks and Recreation Board (PARD) passed a new resolution that asked the Austin city council to negotiate better pay and waive “any future fees at Vic Mathias Shores” or any other facilities.

Vic Mathias Shores is the venue at which SXSW takes place.

As reported by 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 revealed on June 27 that wages have “quietly” gone up for 2024. Applications for next year’s SXSW show an increase in pay to $150 for solo artists and $350 for bands.

The open letter from earlier this year asked for pay rates of at least $750.

Featured image from SXSW. Credit: Abigail Cook.

Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University who loves beeps and boops!

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