As much as most artists would love to create music all day, that may not pay the bills. The good news is that there are ways to make money as a musician without a label.
While you work toward mainstream fame, follow these tips from MRCNN/MRCPROMO1 on how to earn an income as a musician…
Sell Digital Music
Live performances offer an unmatched experience for musicians and fans, but digital music lets you sell the same performance multiple times. Uploading music to sell digitally involves low overhead costs, though returns may trickle in slowly.
The good news is that even new artists can get their music onto streaming services. Check out the highest-paying streaming platforms to choose the best fit with the highest earning odds.
Monetize Social Media
If you create content from your music or performances, posting it on social media can make you money. For example, many creators generate income on TikTok by joining the Creator Fund, running ads, or collecting virtual gifts, explains Shopify.
Most social media income streams require at least a few thousand followers, but if you enjoy content creation, this might be a fun way to earn money.
Work with Brands
Artists can work with brands in a variety of ways, some involving social media. One way to earn money with music is to apply for an affiliate program where you earn money when people purchase products you recommend. Affiliate programs usually require a blog or social media to sign up.
Setting up a “work with me” page on a website or link in your social media bio can also help you catch brand leads. Or, like some big names in the music industry, you could name-drop a brand in the hopes that they like your work.
Selling logoed or theme merchandise is another way to level up your music career. From custom tees to logo keychains, consider what your fans or followers might want to purchase.
You can sell merchandise through multiple channels, whether via an online store, social media, or a dropshipping model.
Dropshipping, or print-on-demand, services mean customers order through a third party, so you don’t have to create, package, or ship goods.
It isn’t for everyone, but teaching music is another way to earn income as an artist. You don’t have to stick to teaching children, either.
Though a formal music teaching career may involve a degree or certificate, starting a small business gives you an avenue to teach less formally.
Virtual music lessons are a great way to teach without the need for rental space. You can even create self-paced courses that earn passive income. Learning to teach music online can take some effort (and equipment), but it might be your new favorite day job.
Write (& Sell) Songs
If penning lyrics is your favorite pastime, writing songs for other artists could earn you a paycheck now and over time. Copyright.gov explains that songwriters can work with publishers to get paid for songs.
A relationship with a music publisher could get your songs into the hands of high-profile artists. This income stream can lead to other opportunities, but it’s also a way to earn long-term income through royalties. However, music streaming royalty payments may not amount to much if you only sell a handful of songs.
Another way to make money from writing songs is to offer songwriting services to clients. Writing a song for a customer is a way to make quick cash, though it won’t involve earnings beyond the point of sale.
Treat Music as Your Business
Musician entrepreneurs wear many hats and must manage multiple responsibilities. Especially if you generate multiple sources of income, documentation will be an important step in keeping organized.
When it comes to working with clients, drawing up a contract helps you appear professional and ensure you receive payment on time. You can make signing easier by using a PDF filler online, which is both free and secure.
Earning an income as a musician isn’t as impossible as it may seem. In fact, by trying out one or more of these ideas, you can start benefiting financially from your musical talent right away!
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