So it seems the co-founder of Keller-Williams Realty —a company that has profited wildly from Austin’s population/property boom — has plans to launch a highly touted “music incubator”, in which area musicians have access to rehearsal rooms, meeting areas, even a performance space, at little or no cost. In short, they’re promising to do what Spot Long and Trailer Space have been doing for years (except these real estate assholes want a fuckin’ parade).
The mooted “All ATX Music Factory” (WORD UP : ONLY TOOLS THINK “ATX” MAKES THEIR BRAND SOUND COOL) could well be a tremendous boon for aspiring Quiet Companies and similar Star Search hopefuls. And good for them, I’m sure their parents are very proud. But whether it means dick for, y’know, artists anyone’s gonna remember in 10 years is a harder question to answer. It might well depend on whether not such an endeavor is inclusive of musicians who aren’t gonna be tapped for a McDonald’s commercial anytime soon.
Until that’s been determined, can we please can the “incubator” talk? There are bands that need real assistance who are already full formed/realized as performers and recording artists. They just can’t afford to live here. They certainly don’t need their hair stroked by a huge real estate firm to confer legitimacy.
Spray Paint are 4 albums into for-real all-time-greats body of work. This was accomplished without the patronage of any real estate outfits, dot coms or even a shred of acknowledgment from the city’s biggest venues, festivals or an NPR affiliate that feigns a passing interest in quality local music. Not once have I wondered, “how much better would these guys be if only they had access to a real incubator?”
Look, if you’ve made a shit ton of money and you wanna do something useful, please, pay to get in, buy some records and support the places that cultivate those (otherwise dying) cultures. But when you start using a real, vibrant community as a branding prop, when you start likening musicians to babies, chickens (or worse, new app developers), excuse me if I’m a little suspicious that it isn’t just gonna result in the same super bland garbage the town’s best bands stand in stark opposition to.