@jackcraver: Austin City Council approves extended hours for five Red River music venues

[Editor Charlie sez: Austin is the Live Music Capitol for another six months!  Let’s hope that the new rules result in more paid shows for local bands.  For context, the Austin Music Census is a must-read.]

Over the objections of a number of neighbors and nearby hotels, City Council approved a six-month pilot program Thursday that will allow a handful of bars on Red River Street to play outdoor live music one hour later into the night on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The measure, which was approved 9-1-1, with Council Member Ora Houston voting no and Council Member Delia Garza abstaining, was framed as part of an ongoing initiative at City Hall to protect Austin’s independent music scene. Indeed, part of the ordinance directs city staff to try to assess the financial impact that the extended hours will have on musicians and other employees tied to the music industry.

The ordinance affects five music venues that are currently allowed to play outdoor live music until midnight on the weekends: Stubb’s BBQ, Mohawk, Empire Control Room & Garage, Beerland and Cheer Up Charlies. Under the pilot, they will be allowed to play music until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 12:30 a.m. on Thursdays.

The program will run from May to November. Council will decide whether to renew the pilot for an additional six months in October.

Read the post on the Austin Monitor

Must Read by @ElizKolbert: Our Automated Future

How long will it be before you, too, lose your job to a computer? This question is taken up by a number of recent books, with titles that read like variations on a theme: “The Industries of the Future,” “The Future of the Professions,” “Inventing the Future.” Although the authors of these works are employed in disparate fields—law, finance, political theory—they arrive at more or less the same conclusion. How long? Not long.

“Could another person learn to do your job by studying a detailed record of everything you’ve done in the past?” Martin Ford, a software developer, asks early on in “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future” (Basic Books). “Or could someone become proficient by repeating the tasks you’ve already completed, in the way that a student might take practice tests to prepare for an exam? If so, then there’s a good chance that an algorithm may someday be able to learn to do much, or all, of your job.”

Later, Ford notes, “A computer doesn’t need to replicate the entire spectrum of your intellectual capability in order to displace you from your job; it only needs to do the specific things you are paid to do.” He cites a 2013 study by researchers at Oxford, which concluded that nearly half of all occupations in the United States are “potentially automatable,” perhaps within “a decade or two.” (“Even the work of software engineers may soon largely be computerisable,” the study observed. )

[Techies always add that last parenthetical like they say they understand piracy because “Some of my best friends are musicians….]

As recently as twenty years ago, Google didn’t exist, and as recently as thirty years ago it couldn’t have existed, since the Web didn’t exist. At the close of the third quarter of 2016, Google was valued at almost five hundred and fifty billion dollars and ranked as the world’s second-largest publicly traded company, by market capitalization. (The first was Apple.)

Google offers a vivid illustration of how new technologies create new opportunities. Two computer-science students at Stanford go looking for a research project, and the result, within two decades, is worth more than the G.D.P. of a country like Norway or Austria. But Google also illustrates how, in the age of automation, new wealth can be created without creating new jobs. Google employs about sixty thousand workers. General Motors, which has a tenth of the market capitalization, employs two hundred and fifteen thousand people. And this is G.M. post-[IBM’s] Watson. In the late nineteen-seventies, the carmaker’s workforce numbered more than eight hundred thousand.

How much technology has contributed to the widening income gap in the U.S. is a matter of debate; some economists treat it as just one factor, others treat it as the determining factor. In either case, the trend line is ominous.

Read the post in The New Yorker

@jjvelasquez: Mayor announces plan to protect Austin music venues through $10M fund

Iconic Austin music venues will be purchased and preserved through a city trust, which Mayor Steve Adler’s office announced today has been made possible after the city won a national contest.

The city was among five public entities announced today as winners of the Neighborly Bonds Challenge. Winning the contest provides the city with legal, administrative, marketing and other support services for free or at reduced rates. These services would have cost $100,000.

“This is going to give us an opportunity to try something that really has never been tried anywhere else,” Adler said. “This is going to give us the support we need to try to crowdsource in our community a $10 million fund to … help preserve some of our music venues.”

Read the post on Community Impact.

@austinmonitor: Music Commission recommends new policies to rescue Austin’s music industry

Following the path set by recommendations in the ground-breaking Austin Music Census created by Titan Music Group and commissioned by the Austin Music Office, the City of Austin now sets about implementation.

Austin’s music industry is hoping for a new era of cooperation with city government, and the Music and Creative Ecosystem Recommendations are meant to kick-start these long-awaited changes.

At a special meeting of the city’s Music Commission on July 12, a packed room of music industry professionals and city officials came together for their last discussion of a set of new city policies meant to rescue Austin’s flailing music industry. Last March, City Council passed the Austin Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution, which put the music industry at the top of its agenda.

Council gave its staff 90 days to come up with a set of policies to address problems, such as a lack of affordable housing for artists and the closure of popular music venues, that have been pushing musicians out of Austin. After months of discussion, the commission put its stamp of approval on the staff’s newly released plan, voting unanimously to recommend that Council adopt the policies.

“We’re aware that what we’re doing tonight as a Music Commission could be transformative, or leave many in the music community untouched,” said Chair Gavin Garcia. “The mayor and (City Council) are aware of the challenges we face, and that urgency is warranted.”

Read the post on the Austin Monitor website.