If you’re a musician piecing together how to make money from music, you’ve landed in the right place. The world of earning from your passion can be incredibly profitable, and I’ll dive into 11 diverse strategies that can help amplify your musical career and income this year.
You’ll learn about the global stage of streaming services and the intimate settings of living room concerts. You’ll also discover the exciting realm of film and TV licensing and the educational sphere of music lessons.
So, let’s dive into the opportunities available to turn your passion into a reliable income source.
How To Make Money From Music
Here are some of the best ways for how to make money from music!
1. Streaming Services
Streaming has revolutionized how we listen to music. It’s also an excellent revenue source for musicians. Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music pay artists for every stream their songs receive.
The trick here is to get your music heard by as many people as possible. That said, earning a substantial income through streaming royalties takes serious work and dedication.
Luckily, there are fantastic online courses that can help you build a sizeable fan base that actively interacts with your music on these platforms.
One notable mention is Spotify Growth Engine by John Gold. Various musicians have skyrocketed their streams by following the step-by-step tutorials in his course. Plus, John practices what he preaches. He grows the Spotify following to his own music while teaching his exact methods.
2. Live Performances
Performing live in front of an audience can be a bit daunting at first. But nothing beats the immediate feedback you get from fans!
Concerts remain a vital income source for musicians. Despite the digital era, nothing compares to the live music experience. Musicians earn from ticket sales and merchandise at these events.
Musicians everywhere started performing in front of a global audience without leaving their homes during the pandemic. For better or worse, we live in a new reality. Digital performances are here to stay. Live streams are a great way to connect with fans. You can sell digital downloads, tickets, and receive tips from fans on these live streams.
Living Room Concerts
A living room concert is a truly intimate performance experience. These small-scale gigs can be quite profitable and are a unique way to connect with your audience. Sofar Sounds does an incredible job of building a memorable environment for intimate living room concerts. They also ensure musicians are well compensated for their talent.
Street performances or busking can be a viable approach on how to make money from music, potentially evolving into a full-time profession. Top performers can earn up to $50 per hour, and areas with high foot traffic present remarkable opportunities for income. Moreover, busking is a fantastic platform to hone performance skills, increase confidence, and draw in new fans.
3. License to Film & Television
Licensing your music to film & television through music companies can be rewarding and profitable. This avenue offers exposure to potentially millions of viewers who will hear your music. In addition, it provides a consistent residual income.
The impact is twofold when your music lands on a major show or film.
- It significantly boosts your visibility. Licensing helps you gain more followers and increase your streams and sales.
- It provides you with a quarterly paycheck. These royalties aren’t a one-time deal but continue to accrue. A song you wrote years ago could still generate income today.
Here’s a personal example. Several years ago, one of my songs was featured on a popular show. Seemingly overnight, blog posts and videos started surfacing online. I discovered a cover of the song and fan-made music videos.
The exposure from that show’s episode, which reached over 2 million viewers, resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in royalties. Even today, I receive quarterly payments for this song and other tracks licensed by the same publishing company.
With new streaming services emerging regularly, this avenue presents incredible opportunities for musicians to monetize their talent. Each platform opens up potential income streams, expanding the reach of your music and maximizing your earning potential.
Hence, the more music you write and license, the more money you’ll generate residually every quarter. So, keep composing music, keep producing, and keep seeking those licensing opportunities. If you want to learn how to do this from a pro, I suggest following Michael Elsner, who knows the licensing world like no one else.
4. Teaching Music Lessons
Teaching music lessons can be rewarding and profitable. Whether you specialize in guitar, piano, or any other instrument, there are students eager to learn.
I’ve taught piano & guitar and learned that this path requires more than just musical talent. To successfully teach online music lessons, you must be:
- capable of following a structured format
I fell short in this area due to a lack of efficient planning. That said, use tools and apps like Todoist for organization and time management. If you’re disciplined, reliable, and passionate about music, this is a great opportunity to generate income, with a national average of $26/hr for online music teachers.
5. Sell Courses
Selling online courses is a creative way to share your expertise as a musician. Decide on a course topic based on your skills, such as:
- instrument mastery
- music theory
- production & engineering
Promote it via social media, email lists, or ads. Teaching courses not only earns you an income. It also establishes you as an expert in your field. If you need help, here’s a guide on how to make an Udemy course.
6. Sell Merch
Selling merch is not just an additional income stream. These items give fans a way to connect with you and your music on a personal level.
Clothing & Accessories
Band t-shirts, hats, pins, and other merch have been popular among fans since the dawn of concerts. They’re still going strong because they create connections and serve as mementos of memorable shows.
CDs, Records, & Cassettes
Despite the digital age, countless music lovers cherish physical music formats. So, it’s a good idea to sell CDs, records, and cassettes. Interestingly, after more than two decades, CD sales are experiencing growth, while vinyl prices are also soaring.
7. Social Media
Social media is a powerful avenue for musicians to amplify their reach, engage with fans, and generate income. How much you earn depends on how you choose to utilize this route.
Choose your platform. The most popular for musicians are:
- Twitter (now X)
Knowing which platform your target audience is most active on will help you monetize your content effectively.
Get Paid for Posts
Sponsored content is a popular way for musicians to earn money on social media. Here’s a simplified guide:
- Identify Relevant Brands: Choose brands that align with your image and values.
- Connect with Them: Either approach them directly or wait for outreach if you have a large following.
- Agree on Terms: Discuss the deal details, including payment, content type, and frequency.
- Create Authentic Content: Develop posts or videos that genuinely showcase the brand while staying true to your style.
- Disclose Sponsorship: Always be transparent with your audience about sponsored content.
I truly believe paid ads are one of the most powerful methods available to musicians searching for how to make money from music. They make reaching a larger yet laser-targeted audience for your music simple.
Mastering this method can blow up your mailing list and increase your merchandise sales effortlessly. I know musicians who have built six-figure businesses and gone full-time using this strategy alone. They followed this course by John Oszajca.
Here’s a brief breakdown of how paid ads work:
- Set Goals: Define your goal – gaining followers, growing your mailing list, or selling merchandise. You can even have an approach that combines them all.
- Pick a Platform: Choose the platform where your target audience is most active. Facebook & Instagram ads are golden.
- Design Attractive Ads: Make sure your ads are visually appealing and align with your brand.
- Target Your Ads: Use the platform’s targeting options to reach the right audience.
- Monitor Performance: Regularly check ad performance and adjust strategy as needed for best results.
YouTube has revolutionized how to make money from music, providing musicians with an accessible platform to showcase their talent and generate income. There are various ways to earn and engage with fans.
- Ad Revenue: Once you qualify for the YouTube Partner Program (1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours in the past year), you can earn revenue from ads on your videos. This includes display, overlay, and video ads.
- Channel Memberships: Musicians can offer channel memberships to their subscribers. Members pay a monthly fee to get perks like exclusive badges, new emojis, and access to exclusive live chats, depending on the membership level.
- Merchandise Shelf: Your YouTube channel lets you showcase your official merchandise directly below your video content. This makes it easy for fans to buy your merchandise.
- Super Chat & Super Stickers: During live streams on YouTube, your fans can purchase Super Stickers or Super Chats. These features highlight their messages in the chat stream, creating a new way to earn money.
- YouTube Premium: When a YouTube Premium member watches your content, you get a part of their subscription fee.
9. Music Grants
Often overlooked, music grants offer a practical solution for musicians learning how to make money from music. They provide funds to support various aspects of a music career, such as:
- recording and production
Many organizations, foundations, and government programs offer grants specifically for musicians. These grants are typically awarded based on merit or project proposals. They don’t need to be repaid, making them a financially viable option for musicians.
Applying for grants can be competitive, but the potential financial support can significantly offset costs. They provide musicians with opportunities for creative growth. If you’re interested in this route, research available grants, their requirements, and deadlines to increase your chances of success.
10. Session Work for Other Musicians
Performing as a session musician for other artists can be lucrative and rewarding. Platforms such as Spotify’s Soundbetter and Airgigs have streamlined the process.
This platform prides itself on providing access to the finest mixing & mastering engineers, singers, songwriters, producers, and studio musicians available for hire worldwide.
Listing your services on Soundbetter is free. The company promotes your talent, connecting you with musicians seeking skilled professionals. Artists post project details, and you can apply to work on them. Payments are secure, providing peace of mind for both parties.
AirGigs.com was established in early 2012 as the pioneering platform for engaging top-notch session musicians, vocalists, and audio engineers from the comfort of their recording studios.
From songwriting to mastering, there are various categories to choose from. The platform handles payment transactions, ensuring prompt payment for musicians upon work delivery.
Last but certainly not least, musicians can monetize their vast knowledge and unique experiences through blogging.
Creating engaging content on your own website allows you to share insightful tips, practical advice, and captivating behind-the-scenes stories that resonate with your audience.
You can effortlessly nurture a sense of community while opening doors for potential collaborations with like-minded artists. Blogging unlocks endless possibilities for musicians to showcase their talent. They can inspire others and expand their reach in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
Monetization can come through various avenues, such as:
- sponsored posts
- affiliate marketing
- ads on the blog
- selling merch
Here are 21 blogging tips proven to boost engagement and earnings.
Unlocking Your Potential: How to Make Money from Music
The music industry is diverse and dynamic. It’s filled with opportunities for musicians to turn their passion into profit. There’s undoubtedly an avenue that perfectly complements your distinctive skills and aligns with your interests. Every idea on this list contributes to the multifaceted journey of making money from music.
Remember, the path to a successful music career is not just about talent. It requires creativity to stand out in a saturated market. You need dedication to hone your craft and persist through challenges. You need an entrepreneurial spirit to seize new opportunities.
In an ever-changing industry, it’s crucial to be adaptable and open-minded. Embrace diverse strategies to expand your reach while consistently learning and growing. Above all, remain true to your art. Authenticity is what ultimately resonates with audiences at their core.