Street performing (a.k.a. "busking") is legal in Austin and does not require a permit unless you are performing in the City's park system. Please obey the following City Code requirements and best practices during street performances:

  • Acoustic performances only, with sound at 85 decibels or under - NO amplification allowed
  • Don’t block sidewalks
  • Noise or music cannot be audible to a nearby business or residence after 10:30 PM CST
  • Always cooperate with Austin Police requests
  • Safety first! Make sure you’re performing where people can safely gather without danger of stepping into a roadway
  • Performing artists are allowed to entertain in the parks provided they are registered with and approved by the Parks and Recreation Department.  The Performing Artists in the Parks Permit fee for performing artists is $10 per day, and permits may be purchased in two-week increments. Please call 512-974-6797 for more information.

For City compensated street performing opportunities, please check out the Music & Entertainment Division's Street Performance Program.

Other Music & Entertainment Division Programs Listed Below

Please contact Stephanie Bergara for the latest information.

ATX Musician Compensation Initiative

The Music and Entertainment Division has instituted the following programs and pilots to compensate local musicians for performances and song use:

ATX Music and Entertainment Pilot Program

The Music and Entertainment Division is launching the Pilot Program through private developer funds earmarked for Block 23 music inclusion. The one time fund of $150,000 will pay guarantees to ATX musicians to perform at certain points surrounding the Block 23 development, drawing downtown visitors to newly opened public spaces and buildings in the area. The Pilot aims to establish best practices for expanding the program to additional key areas in the city.

ATX Music Licensing Initiative

Any music utilized by the City of Austin will be paid for in accordance with industry standards and regular license agreements. Licenses will pay for music included in Music on Hold, ATXN, AIBA, libraries, etc. The Division is currently creating a Standard Operating Procedure hand book for both booking live music and licensing music for all City departments to reference year-round.

Music on Hold

Music on Hold is one of the City government’s fun and unique ways of showcasing Austin’s great music—usually in sixty seconds or less. Anytime someone calls into the City telephone system, if they are placed on hold, they will be listening to a well-curated playlist of Austin music. Music on Hold showcases Austin’s fantastic and diverse music, and it gives our citizens a little something to listen to while waiting.

ATX Tour Aid

Coming Soon.

Daybird Local Live Music Series

The Daybird Local Live Music Series is partnership with Visit Austin and local venues to promote and create live music experiences featuring Austin musicians during earlier hours for visitors and locals alike.

SXSW Official ATX Music Showcase

SXSW offers an incredible opportunity for bands to gain recognition from a variety of platforms. Every year, the Music & Entertainment Division produces and promotes an official SXSW music showcase that exclusively exhibits Austin musicians.

Community Engagement

Internship Program

ATX Music Office Interns work along with staff on all Division projects to ensure goals are met while learning about the music industry as a whole, as well as Austin’s unique live music scene.

Online Programs

Online distribution outlets for content created by the Division, as well as a curated stream of music from local artists streamed via ATXN.

  • ATXMusic Talks: Facebook Live panel discussions on topics surrounding the Austin music industry.
  • Notes in Time: Notes In Time is an on camera Austin musician interview and intimate performance series.  The program episodes showcase established, and up and coming Austin artists across genres and generations.  The purpose of this unique series is to promote Austin musicians and the Austin music brand worldwide, provide additional revenue streams to our musicians and to preserve our rich and diverse cultural history for future generations.  This effort is a collaboration between the city of Austin’s Music & Entertainment Division and ATXN Channel 6.
  • City Hall Sessions: Live music performances take place at every weekly regular meetings of the Austin City Council. The performing musician receives a Proclamation from the Mayor, designating the performance date as this artists “Day” across Austin, TX. City Hall Sessions chronicles these performances along with interviews from the musicians.

City Council Live Music Proclamations

The City of Austin is incredibly proud of our local music culture, and every Austin City Council meeting includes live music to kick off the Council session. These selected performers are also bestowed the honor of a “Proclamation Day” with an accompanying certificate, and their band name permanently included in the City calendar. These musicians will have their own City of Austin “day” for the rest of their lives, and many have annual celebrations of their day with fans and supporters.

External Communications

The ATX Music Office provides updates on Austin’s live music scene and City events via its website, printed collateral disseminated throughout the city, a monthly electronic newsletter, and social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Love ATX Music Month

KUTX, the Austin Music Experience; the Austin Music Foundation; and the City of Austin Music and Entertainment Division has declared February "Love Austin Music Month" and are making a concerted effort to highlight and spread love of Austin music.

Music Commission Liaison

The Division serves as a liaison to the Austin Music Commission, which advises City Council on music development. Responsibilities include studying the development of the music industry, assisting in the implementation of programs to meet the needs created by the development of the industry, and reviews matters that may affect the music industry in Austin.

Scoremore Panel Series

A panel series organized in collaboration with ScoreMore Shows. These events focus on helping aspiring music industry professionals to network, develop professional development skills, and balance goals. Past panelists have represented Margin Walker Presents, I Heart Media, Front Gate Tickets, Orb Recording Studio and more.

ATX Nightlife Initiative

The Entertainment Services Group was formed in 2016 to create and manage policies, tools, and partnerships that promote unique, vibrant, safe, and well-planned live music and nightlife experiences in Austin, while promoting venue preservation and sustainability. The Group’s multi-faceted approach includes researching and recommending land use planning and compatibility standards, piloting innovative sound monitoring and mitigation technologies, and building communication and partnerships with business coalitions, neighborhood organizations, and City Departments to best manage and enhance entertainment districts and nightlife, while preserving resident’s quality of life. Programs include:

Creative Space & Nightlife Development Guides

Coming Soon.

Musician Loading/Unloading

The Music & Entertainment Division has collaborated with the Austin Transportation Department to provide access to loading and unloading zones specifically for musicians who perform at venues in Downtown Austin. These 30-minute active loading and unloading zones make the task of handling musical gear both easier and safer for performers while also restoring mobility and freeing up parking for other downtown traffic. If you are a venue owner and interested in obtaining a Musician Loading/Unloading Zone, please contact the Division for next steps and to connect with the Austin Transportation Department.

Music Venue Loan Program

Supports music and nightlife by reducing sound impacts for nearby residents and helping to preserve live music venues. This program offers low-interest micro-loans to entertainment establishments for the purpose of sound mitigation, and to live music venues for capital improvements that are revenue generating or help expand programming.

Night and Weekend Staff

Serves as a resource in the field for venues, monitors compliance with outdoor music permits, acts as a liaison between venues and residents to investigate and solve problems, observes entertainment areas during nighttime hours and raises awareness of emerging issues.

Ombudsman

Serves as a single point of contact and resource for nightlife establishments and music venues regarding City operating, permitting and code enforcement requirements and acts as a liaison between venues and City Departments.

Outdoor Music Venue Permits

The Entertainment Services Group administers, manages and monitors outdoor music permits for venues and special events to promote compatibility between entertainment venues and residents. We provide consultation and best practices to entertainment venues and events to help them enhance sound quality, reduce sound impacts to neighbors and comply with their permits.

Red River Extended Hours Pilot Program

The Red River Cultural District is an entertainment district in Downtown Austin, Texas, United States. The district runs along the 600–900 blocks of Red River Street. The Austin City Council approved a resolution creating the district on October 17, 2013. In January 2017, City Council approved the Red River Pilot Program to extend the number of hours the Red River Cultural District outdoor music venues can play amplified music.

Sound Impact Plans

After receiving a sound permit application, the Entertainment Services Group conducts a Sound Impact Evaluation of the site, including on-site inspections and sound measurements, discussions with nearby residents and business owners, and any additional research to assess potential impacts. Based on this evaluation, the Group then creates a Sound Impact Plan recommending approval (with possible restrictions) or denial of the application, as well as any appropriate restrictions for stage construction and orientation; size, location and orientation of speakers; appropriate sound buffering; and on-site decibel meters. If a Sound Impact Evaluation is required for any City parks, the Music & Entertainment Division will coordinate its review with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Sound Monitoring and Management Solutions

We continuously research, pilot and work to implement innovative technologies and solutions for sound monitoring and sound management to enhance sound quality and promote compatibility between nightlife and residential.

Venue Summits

Summits are held twice a year to maintain communication between Austin’s entertainment and live music venues and the City. These events are a forum to discuss City permitting and operating requirements, policy development, planning and emerging issues for live music and nightlife in Austin.

Music Industry Development

ATX Live! Youth Program

Coming Soon.

Music Friendly Community

Austin has been named a ‘Music Friendly Community’ in the State of Texas. Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony presented the certification to Austin Mayor Steve Adler on November 6th at Austin City Hall. Participation in the Texas Music Office's "Music Friendly Community" program provides Texas communities with a network for fostering music industry development, and sends a clear message to industry professionals that certified communities are serious about attracting and developing music industry growth.

Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance

This music-specific trade and export alliance, the first of its kind, is a public-private partnership involving City Council, City staff, and private industry leaders in both cities. The Alliance will encourage joint programming and exhibitions, meaningful trade partnerships for music products and services, and enable the growth of new commercial music business ventures by acting as a gateway for emerging entrepreneurs as well as established professionals. The Alliance seeks to accelerate the music industry market sector in Austin and Toronto in terms of jobs, revenue, and business expansion.

Sector Summits

To promote resource awareness and industry-wide collaboration, the Music & Entertainment Division hosts Music Summits. Held four times per year, the summits help to maintain better communication between the City and various industry stakeholders. These events work as a platform for musicians, music industry professionals, and venue owners to voice their concerns, learn about new City program updates, as well as, network.

Continuing Education and Workforce Development

The ATX Music Office is coordinating with Austin music education nonprofits on establishing curriculum and classes covering all aspects for competing and finding financial success in an ever-changing industry. In addition to classes, mentors, and project-based initiatives, an interactive online resource facilitating the program will be created in association with Austin’s tech community.

Music Industry Directory

The Office of the Governor’s Texas Music Office created the Music Industry Directory, capturing music businesses of all kinds, from commercial music to education to tour services. In collaboration with the Texas Music Office, the Music & Entertainment Division provides the maintenance and promotion of Austin’s portion of the directory.  The listing serves as a very much needed industry asset, connecting members of the community together to cultivate a stronger Austin music community.