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Resound and Heard Presents Merge to Become One of Austin’s Biggest Indie Promoters

"Both of our companies were growing in the same direction," says Heard co-founder Stephen Sternschein.

Texas promoters Resound Presents and Heard Presents are merging, creating one of the biggest indie concert promotion outfits in Austin. The agreement unites longtime business partners and Margin Walker Presents co-founders Graham Williams and Ian Orth with Heard Presents co-founders Stephen Sternschein and Dave Machinist, who own Austin’s Empire Control Room, Garage and the Parish.

The merged companies, and their combined staff members, will operate out of new offices in South Austin with aims to expand into Central Texas.

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“Both of our companies were growing in the same direction and ultimately we were either going to have to hire a bunch of the same people and have duplicative resources or we could just share the resources,” Sternschein tells Billboard.

Williams adds that many in Austin’s independent music scene had gone through the COVID-19 pandemic and “barely made it out alive.” He says, “We all went through this really tough, scary thing that we thought may be the end of our careers and livelihood and for survival, we came together around the culture that we have built and found a way to move forward.”

Prior to Transmission, Williams was the talent buyer for Emo’s, one of the city’s best known venues during the late ’90s and 2000s and experienced the frustration many smaller club owners face in a competitive market like Austin.

“We would take these unknown artists and help them grow to the next level, which meant not being able to work with them again once they outgrew the club,” he says. “When I started my own company in 2007 the idea was that no artists should be forced to play a room they don’t want to play, just because they played there last time and they owe a favor to the promoter. Fans should be able to see artists in different places and all the businesses should be busy enough that they all survive and do well. Austin is such a busy city right now and we just need more and more of that. So my hope was to build something that was wasn’t an island on its own, but a part of something bigger that could grow and connect all the dots locally.”

Resound will continue to specialize in producing, presenting and marketing shows and events in multiple locations and markets in and around the region, Williams and Sternschein tell Billboard, while Heard will focus on venue operations and management, concessions and event production.

“It helps us continue to build up our private events business and creative agency work,” Sternschein says. For a private client, that include everything from white label production services to marketing or artist services. “If the client is looking for talent, we can have resound book talent, in a much more streamlined and effective way than we were able to in the past.”

The combined companies plan to produce 1,000 shows through the Resound Presents brand, and working in partnership with the Red River Cultural District (RRCD), will donate a portion of its ticket sales to a different charitable cause each month as part of its investment into creative communities through live music events and experiences.

At the Parish — now located at 501 Brushy St. in Austin, after moving due to a lawsuit with the venue’s landlord — Resound and Heard Presents have launched a listening lounge concept called My Oh My, featuring upgraded sound and audio equipment, DJ booth and easy-to-order classic and batch cocktails, beer and wine and food options from the kitchen connecting the complex out front all from one easy-to-order menu. The Parish soft-opened with Moontower Festival in late April and a number of touring shows, and plans are in the works for both a restaurant partner to open the food service component and for a grand opening celebration to take place in the coming weeks.

Resound was founded by Williams and Orth in 2021, months after closing Margin Walker Presents in 2020 after four years due to the COVID-19 venue shutdown. Williams was previously the founder of both Transmission Entertainment and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Festival. Prior to Margin Walker, Orth produced the popular dance party Learning Secrets, an event he cofounded in 2005.

Heard has been producing live music for Austin since 2012. Machinist is a professional musician and recording studio owner, while Sternschein was a founding board member of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which formed in 2020, and helped organize a grassroots lobbying effort that resulted in a $16.2 billion federal aid program that benefited professional artists, agents, managers, promoters and venue operators. He was also an executive producer for the award-winning Save Our Stages Digital Fest.

The new offices for Resound Presents and Heard Presents are located at  211 East Alpine Rd, Suite 100 in South Austin. For more info, visit ResoundPresents.com.