We know you’re not in music for the money. But if you want to sustain a music career (and aren’t the heir to a multi-million dollar fortune), you have to figure out how to make money as a musician. As the world has moved increasingly online since the pandemic, it’s easier than ever to make money from home. Don’t get us wrong, live performance is still a great way to make money, network, sell merch, etc. But for all the germaphobic or immunocompromised musicians out there, this is your time! There are many ways to make money online from home, and we’re here to guide you through them. Here are just 6 of the ways musicians can make money from home!
1. Teach Music Online
Teaching remains one of the best ways to make money as a musician. It may feel intimidating, but even if you don’t consider yourself an “expert” in music, there’s still a lot you can teach newbies. If you don’t have experience teaching, you can offer lessons at a discounted price to those who can’t afford the typical $60 (or more) an hour. You can teach lessons for voice or instruments, but less common options like songwriting, music business, and music production are worth considering as well. Teaching lessons has the added bonus of forcing you to practice. So, it can be a great way to help you improve your music skills while you get paid. Thumback is one of many options if you’re interested in giving teaching music online a try.
2. Sell Merch Online
You might consider offering CDs, vinyl, branded clothing, or unique items that have a special significance within your community. You may be surprised by how many friends, family, and middle school classmates are willing to buy a shirt to help support your indie music journey. Many people people want momentos they can show off if you ever make it big, so makes signed or personalized pieces a great option.
You’ll need to select an e-commerce platform before starting an online store. Wix, Shopify, and Big Cartel are some of the most popular options. If you don’t yet have a website for your music, you might consider creating a central hub for your fans that includes a merch site, a section for announcements, ways keep in touch with you, etc. Setting up a merch store is a great option to have “in the background.” It’s not likely to pay your rent, but you can think of it as another puzzle piece that will help sustain you.
3. Monetize on Digital Platforms
You may feel discouraged by the major streaming platforms’ lack of transparency over how payment calculations work. But putting your music on streaming platforms is still worthwhile, and you can earn money from it. You never know when your music will get added to a popular playlist. If you manage to get on one of Spotify’s official playlists, you’re guaranteed to get a bigger payout. The best way to earn money from streaming is by making your music available on as many streaming platforms as possible, including Soundcloud and Youtube.
Youtube offers many ways for creators to make money. You can post your recorded music just as you would on Spotify and Apple, and you also post acoustic “at-home” versions of your music. If you play an instrument, you can also post videos teaching people how to play their favorite songs on piano or guitar. This can be a great way to drive people towards your own music by first offering them a service they need. Live Streaming your home studio performances is another great method for putting yourself out there and monetizing your music. While you can do this on Youtube, you can opt for more control of your content by selecting a paid livestreaming platform.
4. Start an Online Music-Related Business
Selling merch is a great introduction into having your own music related business, but it’s only the beginning. One of the best ways to make money as a musician is by offering services to other musicians. If you haven’t already, setting up a home studio will allow you even more avenues to make money from home. You can sell loops online, produce other artists’ music, make remixes, or offer mixing and mastering services. These sorts of collaborations can be great networking opportunities and they can introduce the fans of other musicians to your own music. Using a service like Fivver, you can get paid to make album art or make marketing content for other musicians. You might even decide to sell music equipment or set up an online records shop.
5. Submit Your Music to Music Publishers
Maximizing your passive income streams is one of the best ways to make money online. It’s relatively easy to submit your work to indie music publishers, so why not give it a try? While there’s no guarantee of when or how much money you’ll make, there is massive potential for both income and exposure from minimum effort. If you don’t yet understand how music publishing works, we have an introductory breakdown here.
6. Try Non-Music Freelance Work
While music may be your passion, there might come a time when you have to find other ways to pay the bills. The key is to choose something flexible enough that you can still take opportunities that will advance your music career when they present. If you have another passion that’s easier to make money from, you should consider monetizing it. Working as a freelancer provides the flexibility you need to continue honing your music craft while making a living. A few job ideas for you as a new freelancer could include:
- Blog writing
- Video editing
Of course, all of these interests can be combined with your music knowledge. You can work as a music blogger, a music photographer or music video editor, etc. Finding success as a musician requires passion and dedication at the best of times. It’s an ever-evolving world, and artists have to constantly adjust by finding new ways to make a living while prioritizing their art. At least, until someone decides to make arts patronage a thing again.
Even if you’re a touring musician, we know that music can be a highly unstable career. Fortunately, the modern means by which fans consume entertainment makes it easy for musicians to make money online. Having flexible work options and side gigs can help fill in the gaps as you get your music career off the ground. These are just 6 of many ways you can make money as a musician. What are some other methods that have worked for you?
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