Mary Minter (left), Tom Pihlgren (right)

A favorite comment often surrounding a newly launched band or artist is that they are a "ten year overnight success." What magic lies in that ten year stretch? August Music may know the answer.

It was August, 1996, when an advertising agency owner in Austin, Texas, was struck by the full realization that the newly discovered "Internet" was about to change the face of the music industry for good. Acting on her vision of the unlimited possibilities inherent in the newly discovered medium, Austin Music International was formed.

By the time Mary Minter had fleshed out the business plan for Austin Music International, several interested music industry professionals had surfaced. And in January, 1997, Austin Music International. began business with financial backing in place and its first artist, Lee Person. AMI produced Lee's six song EP, "Pink Waters," with local producer, Steve Becker.

Artist development and guerilla marketing via the worldwide web was the focus of AMI from its beginning. Jerry Yang, founder of Yahoo!, dubbed AMI as the "first ever virtual record label." Attracting the attention of other early Internet innovators came with privileges that now have taken their important place in AMI's history. One of those moments involved being invited by the Texas Music Office, along with the originators of Austin's beloved South by Southwest, to attend PopKomm then held



in Koln, Germany. History was made in August of 1997 when the three companies made their debut sharing an exhibitor space at PopKomm, taking Austin and Texas music to European fans.

Mary Minter remembers that on the second day of their first PopKomm venture, she was showing off the AMI website to some interested musician, when out of the corner of her eye she caught a glimpse of a film/camera crew headed in their direction. The crew was being led by a tall gentleman dressed to the nines in designer attire. As he continued toward the Texas booth, Mary recalls her surprise that they were his destination.

That gentleman introduced himself as Dieter Gorne, the originator of VIVA television, and one of the founders of PopKomm. (Gorne later became an advisor to Germany's elected Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.) Gorne was there to interview the Texas delegation for VIVA television and media! And for the next four years, AMI received special VIP treatment by being invited to attend "Congress" where all of the "Majors" and international music industry movers and shakers convened to share business.

It took four years over many hills and valleys for AMI to select and produce artists for showcasing on the PopKomm stage. Yet it finally happened, and in August of 2000, AMI took Back Porch Mary and Sissy Siero to Koln Germany to perform for their European fans. Before leaving for home, both bands had received tour invitations from European promoters. AMI had met a very important goal for its select musicians!



While the year 2000 brought its share of highs for AMI, it also brought its lowest moment. Original investor/born and bred Austinite, Tom Pihlgren, was diagnosed with cancer, which came as a total shock considering that he had successfully recovered from a kidney transplant. Realizing that Tom's prognosis was not good, the de-construction of AMI now had to begin. By the time Tom passed away in June of 2002, Austin Music International had ceased all business and the corporation had been dismantled entirely.

During this same time, Mary Minter suffered many other losses. Her father passed away, along with an uncle who had also been like a father to her. Having moved to Houston with her husband, Mary needed some time to regroup and gain strength. And by 2004, she was ready to discover Houston's music scene, which resulted in the formation of August Music with the specific purpose of extending AMI's rich heritage.