Most people associate success as a musician or independent artist with performing live gigs, concerts, or tours. Many music artists have recently discovered that due to the pandemic of COVID-19 and the pause on live performances, there are many other avenues and opportunities for earning a living with your music career.
While many of these business ventures have been around for quite some time, they have become increasingly popular. The online world has opened up a world of new opportunities for musicians to create a comfortable and sustainable career within the industry and find new ways to earn a living, and create success for the future.
Music Licensing Opportunities
If you have ever wanted to hear your original song featured on a YouTube video, commercial advertisement, television, or movie, then you should consider submitting your music for licensing. Synch licenses have become an excellent way for independent artists to earn money while establishing relationships with music supervisors and producers for future work on projects where background music is necessary.
Many music licensing companies will feature your works within their library, providing you access and exposure to all kinds of creatives looking for that perfect song to use. Of course, you have a much better chance of being discovered by submitting to these agencies, but you also have the option to pitch your music if you have a network of people or companies that you can reach out to as well.
Streaming Your Music
Since digital downloads and streaming are easily accessible to fans, you can earn streaming royalties through digital distribution of your music. You can stream your music through places like SoundCloud, Apple Music, and Spotify, as well as many others out there. As a result, you will gain more exposure, and you can use your social media platforms and website to inform your fans where they can find your music.
Most distribution networks can send your music to multiple streaming platforms. In most cases, your music will get added to playlists with similar musical styles or genres. But, depending on their core audience of listeners and what they offer in terms of pricing and royalty payments, you may want to do some research ahead of time to endure that you are submitting to a distribution service that aligns with your needs and will provide you with the most revenue.
Many musicians have expertise in knowledge of the voice or a specific instrument. One of the easiest ways to earn money as a music artist is offering music lessons, both in-person and online. For example, if you previously played the keyboards in a band, you can provide private piano lessons for adults with a music school in a one-on-one setting.
Private music lessons offer a great way to guide others in learning how to play and provide them with the many benefits that music education offers. They can also be rewarding for you as an instructor to see your students develop and improve upon their skills.
Selling Merchandise For Fans
Does your band or artistry have you making products that your fans can purchase? It can be a way to generate some additional income by creating and selling simple products, including t-shirts, hats, mugs, or stickers.
If you aren’t looking to create many products, you can sell digital merchandise, such as personalized video shoutouts for fans or the composition of an original song for purchase. Get creative with what you can offer listeners and ask them for feedback on what they would like you to sell.
Create Online Courses and Workshops
The online world provides you the opportunity for a broad outreach. For example, suppose you don’t feel that one-on-one lessons are beneficial. In that case, you could create pre-recorded videos or tutorials on a specific aspect of music that you are most knowledgable, creating a course or workshop with an intended goal.
Online courses, masterclasses, and workshops that are recorded ahead of time allow for passive revenue, where you do all of the work upfront in creating and developing your slides, videos, and materials. Once you launch the course or class, you can just sit back and allow people to purchase over and over again, bringing you income with each sale.
Sell Sample Music and Demos
For example, if you are a drummer, you may not have vast experience creating complete musical works. However, you can still provide submissions and sample music for sale by making beats or beat samples for purchase, especially if you have experience mixing and mastering sound or creating sound files.
There are multiple uses for samples and demos of sound. For example, a music teacher may want to create a host of warmups to sell, but to make them more exciting and enticing for people to purchase, she wants to have background beats and tunes that follow her warmup structure. Podcasters are always looking for intro and outro music. You can easily find ways to create small musical snippets and pieces that benefit others and earn you money.
Submit to Music Blogs
Multiple music blogs allow open submissions and love to feature emerging or independent artists on their websites. However, you must take time to research blogs within your specific genre or musical style and submit your music in a way that stands out above the others.
Take some time to review all of the submission guidelines for blogs and ensure that you are following them because they will quickly filter out your submission if not. Include all of your necessary metadata and contact details so that they have an easy time following up with you as well. Blogs are a great way to reach new fans and gain more exposure.
Studio or Session Work
One last way you can make money as a musician is by marketing yourself as a studio or session musician. Recording studios often just hire artists to do session work for musical projects or albums. You could potentially be employed as a backup vocalist or guitarist when the artist wants to create a specific or desired sound.
Putting yourself out there to do sessions and studio work can help build your network of musicians and allow you to collaborate on various projects, which can be very fulfilling. You might even have the opportunity to be hired as a permanent backup for a band or artist. You also will get many hours of practice and be able to advance and excel in your craft.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short
With all of the opportunities, musicians can find more than one way to earn money and create a sustainable lifestyle. However, constructing a system of diverse revenue also allows you not to put all of your eggs in one basket, as long as you can manage your time wisely and still benefit from making music.
Live performances are not the end-all, be-all for musicians anymore. Diversifying your income opportunities and opening yourself up to these new endeavors can allow you to reach more people with your music and create and build a network to help your music business grow successfully.