AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin has the slogan as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” but for many musicians, the cost of living here has become a price they can’t afford to pay.

According to data from the 2022 Greater Austin Music Census, 38% are struggling to pay their rent or mortgage.

One of those musicians feeling the high cost of rent is bassist, Christopher Alexander.

Christopher Alexander playing the bass.
Alexander said he came to Austin specifically to pursue music.

“Like man, I’m a musician this is where I need to be,” Alexander said.

But he said now, living in the city has become too expensive.

“As the rent goes up, it’s going to push more and more artists out,” Alexander said.

He said his rent increased nearly $500 which forced him and his fiancé to find a new place to live in the city.

“After everything would’ve been said and done, I think our rent would’ve ended up being about $2800,” Alexander said.

It’s a price that’s nearly driven him out of Austin. According to the survey, Alexander is not alone.

The data showed that 27% of musicians live outside Austin. For the musicians living in the city, only 64% feel sure they will stay in Austin over the next three years.

“If one of their strategies is they’re finding housing further out of town, that’s helpful to know because then maybe there are resources we can bring to bare over the next decade to really help offset that added expense for them,” said Peter Schwarz, consultant with Sound Music Cities.

The census reflects input from 2,260 musicians who answered 85 questions. The questions addressed a range of topics including:

  • Employment Status
  • Health & Wellness Status
  • Demographics
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Lived Experience of Respondents

According to organizers, the study had a 71% completion rate, which is above the industry average of 42%.

Alexander said while Austin continues to grow, he hopes these high rent prices don’t end up taking away what makes the city so special.

“We gotta be more mindful about not bulldozing the cool stuff that’s bringing people here in the first place. Especially the music scene,” Alexander said.