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A lot of my clients asked me what options they have when it comes to making money in the music industry.

  • Is it really that difficult to make a living out of music?
  • Which options do you have as an independent artist?
  • What options do you have if you don’t want to become a full-time artist?

In this article, I want to take a deeper dive into making money in the music industry not only as an artist but through other avenues as well.

Let’s start off with the most obvious one.

The easiest way to make money as an artist is by playing shows. At the same time, it’s also one of the hardest ways because it’s not easy to get booked, especially as a new artist. Some people get started by playing in their hometown which can turn into an income pretty quick if they play on a weekly basis.

Other people start with producing and releasing music eventually leading to getting gigs (if everything goes well). It doesn’t matter how you get them but the fact is that playing shows as an artist is one of the best ways to make a living in the music industry.

The second option you have as an artist is royalties.

Royalties are the money you get when your track has been sold or streamed on one of the many platforms out there. Releasing music properly will distribute your music on multiple stores and streaming sites. All these platforms individually monitor how many times your music has been sold or streamed. These outlets then pay the amount of money you’ve earned annually, bi-annually, quarterly, or monthly depending on the platform.

Let’s say you’ve released a track that is available on Spotify and that track has been added to a few big playlists. This could result in having millions of streams and that can turn into a few hundred or even a several thousand euros.

I always like to view my royalties as a holiday pay. You never know how much it’s going to be because it depends on how well your tracks have performed over the past few months. However, because you never know how much it’s going to be it’s hard to depend on it when you have bills to pay.

The third option to make money could be offering other services in addition to playing shows and releasing music.

As an artist, you have a lot of unique skills. If you take a minute to think about it making music isn’t a common thing. It is an art form that requires many areas of expertise and when we dive deeper we discover several skills that can make you money.

Here are a few of them:

  • Recording
  • Mixing
  • Mastering
  • Ghost Producing
  • Sound Design

All of these skills can be used to generate a revenue stream.

Let’s say you’re really good at mixing music and someone approaches you to mix their track. At first, this could be something you could do for free however when you notice that several people are approaching you for this skill, it’s a smart idea to start asking money for it.

Another thing you could do with your producer skillset is selling sample packs.

If you are known for your sound design consider creating your own sample packs. This could be a great value for someone who isn’t capable of doing this and they are probably willing to pay for it.

My favorite things to do with my producer skillset is setting up masterclasses. I really believe this because I believe in sharing knowledge.

All the hours you’ve spent in the studio for that last few years, all the money you’ve spent on gear, tutorials etc. etc. could become of great use right now.

Why don’t you try setting up a masterclass?

As a professional artist, you’re able to start sharing your knowledge about music production and actually make some money. You can easily create an event on Facebook, communicate that you’re going to host a masterclass to your fanbase and sell tickets through platforms like Eventbrite.

Don’t underestimate the knowledge you have, it could be invaluable to someone else.

When you’ve built your artist career to a higher level another option will appear.

Selling merchandise.

When your brand has become so big that you’ve got yourself a large and active fan base it’s a smart idea to start creating your own merchandise. This is useful because it makes your brand stronger and you’re able to make some money off of the sales.

This way of generating a revenue stream isn’t for artists who are getting started or who have released their first few tracks. This will only work for artists with a large, loyal fanbase.

If you are a music producer but you don’t really like to release music under your own name then here’s an option to make money for you.

Have you ever considered selling your beats?

There are a lot of artists out there who struggle with making music or who can sing but aren’t capable of creating their own music. They want to perform and making music isn’t their strong point. They could be your client since they are looking for music. If you can sell them your music you are able to ask for a flat fee or arrange another deal based on percentages. What kind of deal you create if completely up to you and your client.

Let’s say you create two tracks a month on average and you are able to sell those tracks every month. Each track could go for anything between EUR 100,- and EUR 10.000,- depending on how good your music and how big your brand is.

That’s a nice way to make money, isn’t it?

If you do release music under your own name, you could always think about selling the tracks that don’t really fit your artist brand. It might be a good way to make some extra money on the side.

Now that we’ve gone through a few options that you have as an artist I’d like to show you some options if you don’t aspire to become a full-time artist. Becoming a full-time artist requires a lot of things and some people just aren’t made for it (like myself) but it’s possible that you still want to work in the music industry.

What options do you have if you don’t want to make music and still want to work in the music industry?

Well, there are a LOT of options but I will write down just a few of them…

  • Manager
  • Booking Agent
  • Label Manager
  • Product Manager
  • A&R Manager
  • Stage Manager
  • Event Manager
  • Publisher
  • PR Manager
  • Tour Manager
  • Licensing
  • YouTube Blogger

If you want to know which jobs are available worldwide, I’d suggest starting networking and see which jobs are available or visit this website which shows you the best jobs at this moment. Now that you know a few of the options that you have as an artist and non-artist it’s up to you to decide which route you’d like to take.

Would you like to be a full-time artist or would you like to work behind the curtain?

What is your dream job and how are you going to make a living out of it?

 


 

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This guide is helpful to you when:

  • You don’t know where to start
  • You want tips and tricks to finish your tracks
  • You don’t know how to get your music signed
  • You want to know more about music marketing
  • You want to know more about the music industry