Mosaic Sound Collective

A sustainability model for the Austin music community and beyond.



The Mosaic Sound Collective Foundation was created as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation to help overcome the challenges facing Austin’s music community, thereby preserving the City’s rich musical culture. The Foundation, its directors, employees, the musicians who form the Collective, and the Austin community unite through the Foundation to further our efforts in saving and preserving what truly makes Austin the “Live Music Capital of the World” – Austin’s musicians, and the places and community where they live, create and perform.


The contributions that musicians and the music community make to Austin cannot be overstated.  From the worldwide reach of Austin City Limits, SXSW, the ACL Fest and other festivals to performances at the Continental Club, Emo's, the Saxon Pub, Antone’s, and the hundreds of other venues, the City draws its identity from its rich musical culture and heritage.  Austin’s musicians, its clubs and the rest of the music community not only provide a rich cultural identity for our City, by enhancing the lives and experiences of the community and visitors alike, they also provide a powerful economic engine that generates nearly $2 billion in economic development per year, and growing fast.  Live music has helped draw and drive technology and business growth that has made Austin the fastest growing large city in America for many years, and led to more than four years of economic growth of greater than four percent per year, an unprecedented record for a city this size.  While this growth has generated considerable opportunity for some, at the same time that growth led to increased rents and the overall cost of living for our community, particularly our musical community which has not shared equally in the growth they helped generate.


Austin’s recent Music Census paints an alarming picture, with twenty percent of our City’s working musicians below the poverty line, and another fifty percent so close to poverty that they qualify for Section 8 subsidized housing.  The growth the music community helped generate has perversely led to a startling decline in the number of musicians in Austin, with the City losing 27% of them in 2014 - 2015, while the City lost 31% of the capacity at music venues in the same period.  These studies and the Mayor's Music Census led the City to begin to address these problems, with the Mayor’s Omnibus Report setting forth 71 steps that we as a community need to consider to address these concerns, including one that set as a goal creating a musician's hub such as the MSC Hub.

Three principal initiatives:

1.     Preservation and Promotion of Austin’s Rich Music Culture and Heritage– The Foundation will acquire and build a unique musician’s hub, a facility where musicians will be able to meet, learn, practice, write, create, record, and perform music for the community.  Musicians will also be able to create merchandise, art, film, vinyl and CD’s that will allow their music to be heard and experienced throughout the community and the world, preserving our musical heritage while promoting musician’s art.  The Hub will be forever dedicated to Austin’s music, a place to preserve, exhibit, and through performance, promote our rich musical traditions.  The Hub will not just be dedicated to musicians, however, as our performance spaces will be open to the theater, dance, and art communities of Austin, while we work together to bring the arts to East Austin and the entire City.   

2.     Education – The Foundation will promote education both of musicians and the community.  Mosaic will work with the Departments of Labor, Education, and Urban Development, as well as state and local officials, to develop musical education programs for Austin’s musicians with two primary purposes: (a) to teach musicians more about their craft and the business of music to allow them to better express their musical vision while maximizing their economic return; and (b) to teach musicians additional skills that could allow them to seek better-paying and more rewarding second careers that still allow them the time to pursue their musical vision, to trade their jobs as bartenders for second gigs as sound engineers.  The Foundation will not only promote education for musicians, we also will promote musical education for the community.  The Foundation will work with other Austin non-profits active in this effort, such as the Austin Music Foundation, providing them with space and resources to expand their reach and impact.  The Mosaic Sound Collective, which will be a separate for-profit entity, will consist of all musicians who are members of the Collective.  They will work together for many of the same purposes as the Foundation, but will also work for their own and the collective’s profit.  As members of the Collective, enjoying the efforts of the Foundation, however, they will be expected to give back to the community, and we expect one of the principal ways musicians will do that is through musical education programs that we will develop with teachers and others for schools and the community. 

3.     Economic Development – We intend for the Hub and the services we and the Collective provide to be an engine of Economic Development for East Austin, the City’s musicians and other creatives, and the entire City.  Working with the City, the Spirit of East Austin initiative, the federal Economic Development Agency, and the State of Texas, we will seek grants that will allow us to build this powerful engine of economic development. The Hub will not only serve musicians and other creatives, but will also provide a space for small business and community economic development, serving musicians alongside the Foundation.  In addition to our non-profit activities, the for-profit Collective will be providing economic opportunities for small businesses such as music producers, artists, a vinyl press, CD manufacturer, screen press for posters, tee shirts and other merchandise, co-working space, equipment rental, restaurants, coffee shop and other such services to not just the musicians, but also the local community that we will engage and serve.  The Foundation’s educational and cultural activities, and the Collective’s services to musicians and the community will lead to economic growth not just for musicians, but also for the East Austin community where the collective will be located.