How Do Musicians Make Money? 5 Ways to Thrive in Today's Economy

If your passion is in music then you’re in luck! There’s no better time than now to make money and thrive professionally as a musician.

This is largely in thanks to the Internet where, with just a few clicks, you can put out a song and connect with a global audience.

Just a few decades ago musicians had to play on street corners and cafes, hoping a record label would take notice. Today the smart, talented, and dedicated musician knows a diversified approach is the best way to attract fans and record labels alike. Those who treat their music as a business will reap rewards like a business!

The question is, are you smart, talented, and dedicated? If you are, and you’re ready to dedicate time and effort to transitioning music from a hobby to a career, then you too can thrive in today's economy.

The following is a look at five key ways of answering “how do musicians make money in today's world?”.


1. Create a Website

Every creative needs a central online presence to succeed in today’s crowded entertainment industry. Believe it or not, having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube isn’t enough. musicians should always start with a website - a polished web-based portfolio. Social media is a means of attracting new fans. A website is your resume, your professional digital space to show your organized and professional brand presence.

Make business cards that list your band/artist name along with your website and other contact info. On your website, post videos or downloadable links to some of your best songs. Create a place that offers a contact option for services -such as bookings for you to perform for community events, weddings, or club gigs. Also make sure to link to your many social media services as well!


2. Start a YouTube Channel

Now that your website is live, a YouTube channel can often be the bread and butter of today's musician. It’s also a revenue stream you need to use from day one. Use this platform to share your music. If others use that music in their own videos, you make money.

Second, consider creating other engaging and informative videos that will attract audience attention. For example, many musicians find success in sharing video lessons or performing covers of popular songs. Remember, the goal is to attract new fans and engage with existing ones with your YouTube channel.


3. Offer Music Lessons

While this may not be a long-term solution, teaching singing and instrument lessons is a simple method for making money as a musician. It has supplemented many an artists' paycheck and can be a good stepping stone to building publicity, one house at a time! Consider setting this up as an option under the “book” or “contact” page on your website. In addition, make sure to broadcast your availability for these services on all social media channels. Make sure to charge per session, and be clear about the length of time for each lesson!


4. Post Your Music on Streaming Websites

Posting music to online streaming services like Spotify isn’t just for the celebrities. You can too! Here,  you’ll earn small royalties each time a song in your catalog is played. While this may seem small, it will add up over time and it is an excellent way to find new long-term, dedicated fans.

Looking for more of a artist-centered option when it comes to streaming royalties? Check out Bandcamp. When a customer buys something on this platform, whether it’s digital music, vinyl, or a t-shirt, ticket or cassette, 80-85% of their money goes to you, the artist. Did we mention they pay out daily?


5. Host Live performances...and Sell Merchandise.

Live performances and regular touring consistently brings in the most money for every musician. There’s simply more effective method to growth. However, venue gigs can vary in payouts, with some musicians may not make a lot of money. That’s where merchandise comes in. Venues typically allow artists to keep 100% of the revenue generated from merchandise sales. Granted, you’ll need to pay up front for those vinyls, bumper stickers and t-shirts, but fans will buy your swag if they dig your sound!

Merchandise can also easily be marketed and sold online via that fancy website you need to create, remember? Companies like Printful can be easily integrated with your website and personal e-commerce store so that customers simply go to your page, select what they want, and then Printful handles product creation and shipment. You just sit back and collect the dough.

Note that while this type of online service is cost-effective when you're selling small batches, once you go big, you'll want to look for other services to handle bulk orders  for lower rates.


Need Some Starting Cash? Check Out

If you’ve learned anything reading this, remember that diversification is key to making money as a musician. And while all  these methods are ideal for long-term income generation, sometimes what you need is cash to get started. You’ll need money to invest in recording that first album and planning its release, or doing that first big run of merchandise.

For that type of fundraising, consider running a campaign through Here, you can easily create a campaign, list your goals, and share it with all of your friends, family, fans, and others across your social networks. In addition, our supportive community of other creatives will be there to keep you motivated. 

Learn more by visiting our website or download the app on iOS or the Google Play Store today! 

Filed Under:

crowdfunding, Musicians



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