Choosing a career in a creative field can be exciting and yet daunting. On one hand, you are following your dream and expressing yourself artistically. On the other, life as a musician can be a long road, paved with ups and downs, and no guarantee of success. If you decide to make the leap, finding ways to support yourself become vital. For all those music superstars reading this who have already made it big, this article may not pertain to you. But for anyone else looking to pursue music as a career, here are a few ways musicians can make money.
1. Playing Concerts
Getting paid to perform might be the most straightforward method of earning money. Whether it be at a large concert venue or smaller places like clubs, restaurants, or bars, artists are usually compensated for playing for others. The key for those just starting out is hustling to get these kinds of gigs. You need to get to know the music promoters and owners of the establishments and build relationships with them so they will allow you to play on their stage.
Performing also gives you the opportunity to expand your fanbase. When you have a larger group supporting your efforts, more venues will be open to booking you and you can increase the amount of money you earn for playing.
2. Livestream Music
The fastest, easiest way to get your music distributed to the world is through a music streaming service. A quick online search will provide you with several sites that explain how to upload your music to Spotify. Once your songs are available on Spotify or another streaming service, you get paid each time the songs are heard. The more popular you become and the more streams of your music that are played, the more money you make.
3. Digital Music Downloads
Another important outlet for an artist to connect with fans is to have a personal website. You can sell downloads of your music so your followers can play it whenever they like across all their devices. Instead of just streaming your music, they will have a copy of their own. You can also sell downloads of your songs on other sites like iTunes.
4. Fan Subscriptions to Your Website
If you’ve grown your fanbase to the point where you have a significant following, you have the option of selling a subscription to your website. For a monthly fee, your fans can access material they otherwise would not be able to. You can post new music, interviews, or livestream concerts for your subscribers. Having subscribers requires you to create content for them, but the benefit is that you will have a regular source of income to count on each month.
Merchandise is a big source of any artist’s revenue stream. At any concert you put on, you can set up a table to sell t-shirts, posters, CDs, albums, or anything else your fans would want. Merchandise can also be sold on your personal website, so your followers who are outside of your local area and can’t attend your shows can still buy your products.
6. Licensing Your Music
Making your music available to be licensed for film or television gives you the ability to earn royalties for your songs and a great way to expose your music to a wider audience. You can also earn money licensing your music to sites like TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook, where you will be paid a fee each time a song is used.
7. Session Work
Artists who are recording music often need backup players and if you are a talented enough musician, your services could be in demand. Playing music on other artists’ albums is a great way to make money as well as a name for yourself in the industry. Why not earn some income playing with others while you’re working to make your own career take off?
Many artists have side gigs as music teachers to help make ends meet. You can promote yourself as a teacher and find work on your own or you can partner with a music store or school that will assign you students. Either way, it can be a fun and rewarding way to spread your love of music and earn money at the same time.
Living Your Dream
Making money playing music might seem tough, especially to those just starting out, but with time and effort, there are many ways artists can earn a living through music. Performing your music, selling it through multiple outlets, merchandising your music and image, or teaching others are just a few of them. It’s well worth it for the reward of a career spent following your passion. Good luck!
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