While leading Austin’s music development efforts for seven years, I learned that there are fundamental aspects that often get overlooked when working on music policy. Turns out no matter how savvy you are, every meaningful policy initiative—regardless of its projected impact—requires partnerships to work. Having solid, trust-based community relationships is non-negotiable. And every voice matters in those conversations.
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Sound impact can be addressed in three ways: through the source, the path, and the receiver. Most sound policy focuses on the role (and responsibilities) of the source, gives scant attention to the path, and overlooks the role of the receiver completely.
When policy does not specifically and proactively address the concerns of future residents in or near an entertainment district, it has made the nightlife economy an easy target for those who do not understand sound management, and gives those trying to solve conflict only two options: turn it down, or turn it off.