The Austin Music Memorial commemorates individuals who have played significant roles in the development of music and in the Austin musical community. On July 26, 2007, the Austin city council approved the memorial, which is a program of the City of Austin Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office. Ten inaugural inductees in 2008 included a cross section of musicians, bandleaders, and musicologists that represented a broad spectrum of genres and the “rich cultural legacy, history, and diversity” of Austin. The list included Carl Besserer, Kenny Dorham, Ignacio “Nash” Hernández, Américo Paredes, Doug Sahm, and Roosevelt “Grey Ghost” Williams.
The Austin Music Memorial nominates a group of individuals each year based on three eligibility requirements: the nominee must be deceased for three years prior to the induction year, must have been either a native of or worked and lived in and around Austin, and must have made an important contribution to Austin music.
Each honoree is memorialized with a personalized engraved disc that is placed on the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts “City Terrace,” that overlooks Lady Bird Lake. On March 30, 2008, the inaugural class was honored as part of the grand opening of the Long Center. Subsequent inductees through 2013 included T. D. Bell, Lonnie Guerrero, Gene Ramey, C. B. Stubblefield, Clifford Antone, Townes Van Zandt, Kenneth Threadgill, Stevie Ray Vaughan, T. J. McFarland, Walter Hyatt, Pee Wee Crayton, Stephen Bruton, and A. C. Littlefield.
On August 4, 2014, the Austin Music Commission recommended that an indefinite moratorium be placed on the Austin Music Memorial. The group cited that rising costs were significantly affecting the budget of the city’s Music and Entertainment Division, which had been created in 2009 and after the establishment of the memorial, and that the program did not “currently align with the needs of Austin’s music community.” The commission also stated that new initiatives were being implemented to honor the city’s music contributors. The Austin city council subsequently passed a resolution supporting the moratorium.