Everybody’s got to work, but there ain’t no reason why it shouldn’t be fun. That quote from Fats Waller perfectly encapsulates the approach of successful musicians who use their passion and drive as a foundation to build their careers around their music. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been playing gigs since before you could drive, you probably want to know how to make money from your music.
1) Play shows
Promoting your music is easier said than done, but playing shows is an activity that’s simple and can be turned into a source of income. If you’re not set on being famous, you can make money by building an online audience—the Internet lets anyone with a microphone or camera start their own TV channel or radio station, so why not do it? The web has given more people access to more music fans than ever before; just check out YouTube, Spotify, Bandcamp, and SoundCloud. There are countless ways to use these sites—for promotion, sharing, and for selling—but if you want to earn money off your audio skills and give paying gigs a try, create some original songs and host them on as many platforms as possible. You might even consider setting up a Patreon account to get paid directly by your fans. You don’t have to wait until you become famous to start making money from your songs!
2) Sell your music
Selling your music, in any form, is a great way to turn your musical talents into a little bit of extra income. While some musicians rely on shows and sponsorships for their main source of income, others sell downloads or physical copies. You can create an original song, or you can cover someone else’s track. Even if you’re not a musician yourself, you can make money off other people’s tracks through platforms like Audiomack and SoundCloud. And if it turns out that making music isn’t your thing? No worries! There are plenty of other ways to earn money by creating audio files.
Licensing your music gives you a steady paycheck, but it’s important to know that you don’t have a lot of control over who your music gets licensed for and what they do with it. The upside is that licensing deals can be quite lucrative—particularly if your songs are popular on streaming services. If you think licensing might be an option for you, make sure to do some research before signing any contracts. For example, BMI Pro has clear information about how much money is made on its platform every year.
4) Build an audience
To make money off your music, you first need an audience. There are plenty of ways to build one: Get your songs onto online services such as Pandora and Spotify, perform live for people, put up videos of yourself performing on YouTube or Vimeo (use auto-generated audio on your recordings—it sounds better than silence) and ask fans to share them, work with a promoter who’ll book gigs for you in return for a cut of revenue, license samples from your music for other producers and so on. The key is to think big but start small. Don’t be afraid to experiment; it may take time before you find an approach that sticks.
5) Have a storefront
For most people, having a storefront means having an actual brick-and-mortar location that sells your wares. But in today’s digital world, there are plenty of ways to make money using music even if you don’t own or run a brick-and-mortar business. For example, you can sell digital music files or music apps. You can also get paid for performing—regardless of whether your performances take place in a physical venue or on YouTube. In addition, you can play at various venues across town and sell merchandise (merch) featuring your name or brand. It all adds up to one big opportunity for musicians who know how to make money using their talent!
6) Join Patreon
If you’re an artist or creator of any kind, consider joining Patreon. For a few dollars per month, Patreon users support creators in exchange for exclusive behind-the-scenes content and gifts. Patreon is more than just a place to donate—it’s also a community where you can feel connected with your favorite artists and creators on a more personal level. If you have big goals in mind but aren’t sure how you’ll get there, Patreon can be a great way to earn money while honing your craft. Before Patreon, I had been recording music every day for years without doing anything with it. After signing up for Patreon and taking my audience into account with each post, I was able to start selling my first record online within weeks!
7) Use Bandcamp affiliate program
Bandcamp is an audio-hosting service for indie artists. To make money, you link your site to Bandcamp and receive a cut of their sales. You can also become an affiliate by promoting Bandcamp in a sidebar widget or by placing ads on your site with links that direct traffic back to Bandcamp. The cool thing about using a platform like Bandcamp is that they provide all of the necessary tools and widgets, making it easy for bloggers like you to promote their service without having to manually put together a lot of code. This means more time writing posts and less time messing around with software! – made via (www dot bandcamp dot com)
8) Get YouTube sponsorship
While you could get paid directly by YouTube, it’s really hard to qualify for and maintain. So instead, you can try selling advertising on your channel and earn a profit every time your viewers watch one of those ads. Monetize your YouTube videos with Google AdSense. To do so, simply sign up for an account with them then put their code somewhere prominent on your page—usually in a video player or right below it. This will allow you to run text-based ads alongside or before/after your video content. You can also earn money from music (see below). It’s more difficult than making money from video because audio has fewer potential buyers and discovery is more difficult (as most people discover new music on the radio). But it is possible!
9) Brand yourself using merchandise
Find companies that relate to your music and reach out. For example, if you have a band that does covers of classic rock songs, look up some local or national businesses that use these sorts of songs in their commercials or sell products related to them. You never know who might be interested in buying your tunes. This will require more work than sending in an email once every few months, but reaching out directly is almost always going to get you paid faster—and on a regular basis.
10) Reach out to brands directly
Many brands have their own channels where they post about upcoming products, collaborations, or promotions. Get in touch with a brand directly and let them know you’re a fan of their work. If they like your work too, it could lead to music being used in an advertisement—or even gig opportunities. You can find company contact information on social media pages and websites; if you’re not sure how to get started, check out these tips for making cold calls. To increase your chances of success: Make connections with people who already know someone at that company—then when you reach out, it’s more likely someone will listen instead of feeling like it’s just another random request.