Local London, Ontario, Canada Music Scene
The local music scene of London, Ontario is somewhat connected with the Toronto music scene, although Toronto is a music bigger scene that has its own profile. London, Ontario is located north of Lake Erie and also shares patrons with the music scenes of Cleveland and Detroit. Rock bands who have made a mark in the region include Justin Bieber, Shawn Colvin, Guy Lombardo, Carmen Lombardo, Tommy Hunter, Meaghan Smith, Lara St. John and Chad Price. The area has been known for inventive folk artists such as Basia Bulat, who plays autoharp.
Approaching public stations to get airplay is much easier than commercial stations and doesn't involve as much red tape. There are commercial stations, usually in the rock or alternative vein, looking for local talent, but they usually want to deal with Canadian bands that heavily invested in their own gear and have spent a lot of money on recording. That tells them the band is serious, even though that's not always the best local music. London does not have a long list of public stations providing the opportunity for local music airplay, but it's an issue that deserves more attention.
The idea that major label music is still what dominates on the charts is somewhat of an illusion. Indie music does in fact make up a third of music sales while no major label can claim a bigger slice of the pie than indie. Many of the top acts of the past five years have in fact been on indie labels, although they received marketing and distribution help from the major labels. Keep in mind that YouTube hits are now factored into Billboard's national charts in America, since more people, especially young people, are spending more time on YouTube than absorbing the redundant rotations of mainstream media. CKON-FM (97.3 FM) is a non-profit station between the United States and Canada that plays native Mohawk music mixed with lots of other genres. The key rock station in the area is CFPL (95.9 FM).
The rise of the indie artist in London is an important time marker in pop culture. It's important to distinguish between an indie artist and a regional artist. An indie artists can be global. If that's the case it is probably due to the internet. A regional artist, on the other hand, may have nothing to do with the internet yet still command a larger following than a global indie artist. As much as the internet empowers musicians to go global, it's still important to develop a local base at live venues such as The Embassy, Cowboys Ranch, Molly Bloom's Irish Pub and the Alex P Keaton. As history shows, a local act is usually only as successful as how often it is exposed at night clubs.
Through social media it's possible for a London artist to be both global and regional. This scenario is really the best of all worlds. The regional following becomes the key to selling CDs and merchandise while getting live exposure while the global audience may be more sparse, but it expands the artist's reach and can become substantial over time. Social media also serves as both a global and regional platform. It's a great tool for bringing a crowd together for a show. It's also a great tool for letting the rest of the world know about your music.