Group fighting for living wages for musicians

Group fighting for living wages for local musicians. (CBS Austin)

Walk into a bar on a given night in Austin, your ears will likely be met with the sounds of guitars strumming, drums banging, and singers harmonizing from an up-and-coming band trying to make it, but the struggle goes beyond trying to become the next billboard-topping band.

These musicians are finding it more difficult to simply live here.

On Wednesday, a group called Musicians' Living Wage held their first ever event - a panel of musicians and industry professionals discussing the issues musical artists face in Austin.

"Musicians I have met, they really weren't getting paid what their services were worth," said Debbie Stanley, one of the group's co-founders.

As the city of Austin continues to grow, so does the cost of living.

"What's happening is a lot of musicians who have been here forever can't afford to live here anymore," said Nakia, a musician and one of the event's panelists.

Brandon DeMaris also is a musician, and is one of the co-founders of Musicians' Living Wage. He says he knows the struggles of being a musician in Austin all too well.

"I've seen systemic issues. There are no highly visible pay standards for what a musicians worth is," DeMaris said.

Musicians at the event say there's no one solution to this dilemma, but events like this are a positive first step.

"We know there's a problem and that it's happening for a long time, but let's really focus on the solution," Nakia said.

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