After criticism of the low pay for live musicians, SXSW has reluctantly agreed to a pay rise for artists. Here’s the latest.
Applications for SXSW 2024 opened this week and come with a slight salary increase over previous offers. $350 per group and $150 for solo artists. That’s an increase of $100 for a group and $50 for solo artists. The new tariffs were published on the earlier this month SXSW website, but the organization has not announced the increase. What hasn’t changed is that artists don’t get any money or access to the festival – they have to make a choice. Get paid and pay for the festival, or get paid with a bracelet to experience the festival.
SXSW said it was expand the perks that come with the bracelet, including free meals and drinks. The $35 filing fee, which has also been criticized, remains in place, although SXSW has said it will waive the fee for “certain local music organizations.” specify the waiver requirements. International artists continue to receive no financial payment and are only able to accept a bracelet.
Artists have criticized SXSW and its low pay, labeling it exploitative. Austin-born musician Thor Harris has commented on the festival’s handling of artists. “SXSW’s salary structure has been one of their most shameful aspects all along,” Harris told KUT 90.5 last year about his experience.
“You do well and get accepted into SXSW, then you can’t say anything about the pathetic pay,” adds Audrey Campbell, frontwoman of a garage-punk band called Pleasure Venom. “Because it feels good to get booked, and that’s what a musician should be, isn’t it?”
Thousands of artists signed a petition asking SXSW to pay its artists more — and asking owners Penske Media to increase it to $750 for artists. “As much money SXSW makes here, they can save $750 plus bracelets for any artist or band, international or not,” Campbell adds. “I don’t know of any other legitimate festival where you can choose between the two. It’s just ridiculously exploitative.”