The Texas Music Office was established in 1990 with the legislative mandate and mission statement “to promote the development of the music industry in the state by informing members of that industry and the public about the resources available in the state for music production.”
The idea for a Texas Music Office originated in 1985 during the Sixty-ninth Texas Legislature with the creation of the Texas Music Commission, an advisory board consisting of nine members appointed by Gov. Mark White. The board recognized the growing popularity of Texas music throughout the world and the perceived need to promote Texas music as part of the state’s overall economic development. Ultimately, the Texas Music Commission recommended the creation of a sister office to the Texas Film Commission—both under the newly-created Texas Department of Commerce. Casey Monahan, an Austin American–Statesman music journalist and marketing analyst, was hired as the Texas Music Office director, and the office opened on January 20, 1990. At that time, the TMO had the distinction of being the first government office created to promote the music industry of a state.
In 1991 under request by Gov. Ann Richards, the Texas Music Office (along with the Texas Film Commission) was moved to the Office of the Governor. That year the TMO published its first Texas Music Industry Directory, a comprehensive guide to all aspects of the music industry in Texas, including listings for recording studios, music venues, booking agents, music publications, producers, and musical groups. The print edition was produced through 2006. Monahan was also instrumental in bringing a chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to Texas in 1994. TMO launched its website in 1995.
The office has collaborated with the University of Texas law and business schools to produce the online publications, Getting Started in the Music Business (1999) and The Musicians and Retailers Guide to the Internet (2000). The Texas Music Office has also worked closely with the organizers of South by Southwest in orchestrating various companion events and seminars during the festival. The office initiated a project with the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA) to produce a comprehensive encyclopedia of Texas music and subsequently partnered with TSHA and the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University to help publish two editions of The Handbook of Texas Music (2003, 2012).
In the 2010s the TMO website contained more than 19,000 listings for music-related businesses, bands, and events. Its Business Referral Network functioned as a clearinghouse for music industry information in Texas, and it maintained a database of Texas music pioneers as well as related bibliographic sources. The TMO consisted of three full-time staff, and its offices were housed in the Texas State Insurance Building in Austin. Brendon Anthony succeeded Monahan as director in 2015.