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The City of Hamilton: Marketing Tips for Indie Artists

Back in March, I freelanced for The City of Hamilton's "Music in Hamilton" blog series- check out my tips for emerging indie artists!

Check out this link to view the article on the city's website, or read my piece below!


You’ve done it. You’ve started the band, you’ve recorded your EP, you’ve released your first single. You’re officially a #HAMONT indie musician. ...Now what?

You’ve got the talent, you’ve got the look, and you’ve got the ambition- and yet, you have 30 streams on Spotify, and 150 followers on Instagram. When your management team is yourself and a couple buddies, how do you develop a marketing strategy? Or create, and follow-through, a five-year plan? Who and what will help you get your art noticed?

As a music blogger myself, my work is based on promoting local acts. The three biggest tips I can give are, one- develop your image. Find your sense of style and the right audience will find you.

Lisa LaRocca is the Director of Operations at Sonic Unyon Records.

“Artists should use all available avenues to market themselves to ensure they reach the largest possible audience,” said LaRocca. “If you leave something out, you are undoubtedly leaving out a part of your fan base. Different fan segments utilize different media. There may not be as much fan crossover as you think between your followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and those who read print ads. You should target your promotion on each to the fan segment they reach. As Marshall McLuhan would say, the medium is the message!”

Two- network. Reach out to industry professionals, become familiar with local venues, and collaborate with like-minded artists.

Shiona Mackenzie is a Music Department Support Services Officer at Mohawk College.

“As a supporter of the arts in Hamilton with a special interest in music, I encourage aspiring musicians to collaborate with fellow artists in the community and strive to be found where listeners go,” said Mackenzie. “Develop an accessible, responsive website with distinct, identifiable branding and a downloadable EPK. Offer merch and build an email list to communicate with your fans. There are many opportunities to market your sound online- playlists, podcasts, blogs, video channels. But, remember, there is nothing like a live performance to create buzz, in an intimate venue or a popular festival alike!”

Three- be consistent. Most up-and-coming artists don’t have the time or cash to constantly be releasing music, but keep your online presence busy. Don’t let your fanbase get bored. Post clips from performances, share any and all updates on new music, visit local venues and promote other bands’ shows. Supporting the community is a major pillar in the Hamilton music scene, stay active and alert on new events to get involved with around the city.

Art is a tricky business, but a worthwhile one. Remember that feeling you get during a great performance, or after recording something new in studio- feed that passion. You’ll be rewarded.


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