By Jeffrey Martin
A Hamilton music industry directory, a live music event source, a constant stream of local music industry news, and music playlists to showcase Hamilton’s diverse music scene. The site’s project team quietly launched the long-awaited “cityofmusic.ca” website during August and September. Despite a very small budget and limited resources, music strategy team member and Greater Hamilton Musician publisher Glen Brown took on this critical project and made “function” a priority for the new website.
“We wanted to give Hamilton musicians, professionals and businesses a place to call home, in a sense being part of something bigger – a sort of Hamilton music community portal to the rest of the world,” says Brown. “It’s about exposing people to Hamilton music, past and current. Filling our new music industry directory will give us a sense of the breadth and size of the city’s music community. It is really about building a community that is in many ways invisible until you meet people and you find out how many different people and parts there are to it. And it is quite exciting.”
A new independent Hamilton music association will most likely assume control and ownership of the music site. At the moment, it includes some 20 “music playlists” by genre that continuously feature Hamilton singers, musicians, bands, ensembles – blues, jazz, hip hop, choral, orchestral, children’s, rock, roots, punk, folk and a lot more. The volunteer team reviewed more than a dozen websites of “music” cities from around the world to get a sense of what was good, bad and how well they showcased their respective music scenes. The verdict: cityofmusic.ca is what other cities could emulate if showcasing their music scene is truly the goal. And with streaming becoming an increasingly popular way of listening to music today, this site’s platform can pull video content that’s available on YouTube and VIMEO. Presto, you have almost 200 Hamilton music performances to groove to from across the musical spectrum. The web team is anticipating lots of suggestions from music fans.
“If someone wants to find out more about what’s going on in Hamilton’s “singer-songwriter” music scene for example,” says Brown, “they can pull up our playlist and listen for a half-hour to get the vibe. That goes for blues, jazz and so on.”
The “events” section of the website is probably the most tenuous in terms of being useful. “We’re asking all the people in Hamilton who create music events – bars and clubs, promoters, music organizations, ensembles and institutes – to change their tactics. We need them to post their events on Ontario Live Music.ca – it’s powerful, it’s big. We’ll have all the Hamilton-area events featured on our website – and that includes ALL genres of music. It’s going to take a lot of effort on our part and the music community’s part. We want Hamilton music fans to have one all-encompassing source for all upcoming live music performances and events.”
Brown also sees this as an opportunity to help our new emerging artists get a leg up, connect them to established artists or other music professionals, offer workshops and learning opportunities so they can better manage their craft and their music business – their livelihood.
“New artists don’t often know how to get to the next level. Hopefully we can help bridge those gaps – and the website can be a central source for everyone in the music community as this site really belongs to our music community.”