Music in Hamilton

Musician Entrepreneur Conference

The Musician Entrepreneur Conference is an annual event held every October during Small Business Week. The conference is free to attend and is targeted towards independent local musicians who want to develop their music business skills. The Musician Entrepreneur Conference is a priority for the Hamilton Music Advisory Team (HMAT) and is supported by the Musician Conference Working Group.

2021 Musician Entrepreneur Conference

The 2021 Musician Entrepreneur Conference took place virtually from October 18 to 22, 2021. The panel discussions were presented live on zoom and streamed to Facebook @HamOntMusic. Recordings and are available to watch below. Topics covered included knowing your worth as a musician, cowriting and collaboration, authentic branding, mental health supports for musicians; and getting back on stage.

Thank you to the musicians and music industry reps who spoke at the 2021 conference.

Joshua Pascua and band perform at the 2019 Musician Entrepreneur Conference

Panel Discussion 1

Know your Worth
Get advice from music industry experts who’ve worked extensively in many facets of the industry. Understand what factors go into to determining a musician’s worth so you don’t undervalue your experience, skills and audience; how to communicate your value; steps to negotiating fees/contracts as an independent musician; and how to protect your brand and intellectual property.


Panel Discussion 2

Plays Well with Others - Cowriting and Collaboration
Understand the important elements of co-writing and collaborating such as agreements and standard ‘split sheets’ (ownership percentages) for writing and the master. Get insights on how to best start a conversation about collaborating: what to consider; different types or formats for collaborations; resources available; setting expectations; and navigating potentially awkward conversations.


Panel Discussion 3

Authentic Branding
As an artist releasing music and playing live, you need to think deeply about the other ways you communicate with your audience outside of music - your look both online and on stage, your opinions - anything you present outside of music to your audience contributes to your brand as an artist. In this panel, the speakers delve into the details of branding, giving you tips and things to consider when developing your brand.


Panel Discussion 4

Mental Health supports for Musicians
The conversation is led by Ace Piva, Tour Manager, Addiction Recovery Coach and Founding Partner of Over the Bridge, about mental health and recovery supports available to musicians. This conversation is about MENTAL HEALTH, SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER, and personal experiences. Speakers may talk about suicide, self-injury, depression, anxiety, or reference other mental health conditions that may be triggering. Continue at your discretion.


Panel Discussion 5

Welcome to the Stage
We have brought together industry experts and local musicians to talk about live performances and how musicians can get back on stage (or maybe get there for the first time!). Panelists will include a venue owner, a festival booker and a musician taking a DIY approach to gigs. The discussion will focus on how to get a gig and what to expect as a musician performing in 2021/2022 with evolving COVID-19 regulations.


The Musician Entrepreneur Conference is a priority for the Hamilton Music Advisory Team (HMAT) and is supported by the Musician Conference Working Group.

2020 Musician Entrepreneur Conference

The 2020 Musician Entrepreneur Conference took place virtually from October 19 to 23, 2020. The panel discussions were recorded and are still available to watch below. Topics covered included the “nuts and bolts” of planning an album, grants available to musicians, getting ready to record at home or in the studio, marketing on a shoestring budget, and audience engagement after your album has been released.

Panel Discussion 1

Planning Your Next Release
The first panel discussion of the 2020 Hamilton Musician Entrepreneur Conference brought together industry experts and local musicians to talk about the album planning process. Whether you have just started a project or in the middle of one, our speakers provide tips on how to organize your time, your money, and your work to make the best release.

Panel Discussion 2

Grants for Musicians
A conversation about funding available to Hamilton musicians. The conversation starts with grant officers from FACTOR, the City of Hamilton's City Enrichment Fund, and Canada Council for the Art's Explore and Create Program sharing information about their grant programs.

Panel Discussion 3

Getting Ready to Record
A conversation with local musicians and recording studio reps about recording in studio and at home. Get some advice on how best to prepare for studio time if you are making the leap to a professional studio setting and some tips you can use when recording at home. 

Panel Discussion 4

Marketing with a Small Budget
A conversation intended for emerging or self-produced musicians who do not have a label or marketing team backing them with a budget. Speakers talk about free or low-cost marketing strategies with a focus on social media content.

Panel Discussion 5

My Album is Done. Now What?
A conversation on what to do after your album is released. What is the best way to get your music out there and keep promoting your work? The speakers continue the marketing conversation and talk about ways to promote your album, build your audience and start to see a revenue stream from your music.