A Hamilton software developer has devised the means by which local musicians can bring their music to fans for free at a time when venues and gatherings are prohibited.
Nick Di Felice, who is a Hamilton-based software developer and who himself is active in the local music scene, has created Hamontify, a music streaming service featuring Hamilton and surrounding area artists.
“This project is an attempt to try and keep the Hamilton music scene alive while everyone is at home writing music and the venues are closed,” Di Felice told IntheHammer.
“The idea is to give bands a way to keep connected to their local fan base and promote new music.”
So how does Hamontify differ from other music streaming services like behemoth Spotify?
Firstly, DiFelice points out, Hamontify doesn’t attempt to compete with the bigger services: it’s a free platform for Hamilton-area artists to get their music out there.
“The way music is today it’s really easy to get it out there: you don’t need to sign with a big label anymore,” he said.
“But when your music is uploaded to something like Spotify, you’re competing with big bands and your music can get lost in a sea of infinite music. If you’re on a bigger platform, it doesn’t mean you’ll get heard.
“The goal here is to build a local following — 40 listeners on Spotify isn’t much at all — you can’t gain any traction with that, but 40 Hamiltonian fans could mean 40 more people in the door come showtime.”
Being featured on Hamontify doesn’t preclude one’s music from appearing on other streaming services. In fact, Di Felice said, artists can link their Hamontify profile back to another streaming service, or anywhere they want.
“The end goal is to maintain word-of-mouth,” he explained. “Major platforms are not a good spot to promote music locally.”
The platform isn’t just for local artists to take advantage of either. Di Felice said he’s spoken to several local independent music labels about the possibility of allowing them to promote their artists through the platform and curate content and he sees potential for venues to use it similarly as well.
In getting Hamontify up and running, Di Felice met with some resistance from artists who were reluctant to ‘give away’ their material for free, a sentiment that Di Felice says he understands but he notes that even without a service like this, people are already giving their content for free in a variety of others ways.
“The best advertising for local bands is to play shows, but we don’t have that right now,” he said.
“And I’ve always believed that you shouldn’t make people pay for your music before they’ve had a chance to listen to it.”
So far, a lot of Hamilton artists seem to agree.
Hamontify currently features dozens of local musicians and has already earned more than 100 subscribers.
So how does one subscribe or upload content?
For starters, it’s all free. You just visit Hamontify and sign up. For artists, it’s free also to submit your content which is then vetted and uploaded to the service.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” Di Felice said. “Ten years ago, something like this would have taken half a million dollars to create but I had the server space and the tools were already out there [to program it].”
The site, he said, pretty much runs itself at this point and his involvement, and that of a fellow local musician who contributes to its blog, is minimal at this point.
“The artists and their work are at the forefront,” he said.