8 ways to make money from music

Nowadays, an artist — singer, songwriter, musician, producer, etc — cannot only rely on music sales and touring to live of his passion. Hopefully, there are new and different ways for an artist to make money. And I decided to share these different ways with you, one by one.

But first and foremost… Fan relationships

I think it is quite obvious that your fans have a crucial role to play in your career. An artist would be nothing without them. To create a strong relationship with them is necessary. You need to engage with them, to interact with them. Hopefully, Internet and social media can help you connect directly with your fans and all of this, for free and from anywhere!

Thanks to Internet & social media platforms you can reach a wider audience and grow your fan base. You can also share news and exclusive content with people. But it requires some time, engagement, consistency, strategy, patience and of course, Wi-Fi! 😉

How to make money from music?

The following ways to make money can be used by everyone at whatever stage they are in their career.

1/ Music

You can make money with your own music that you can sell using different methods (read below). But you can also make money working with other people: write, compose and/or produce songs for others, sing lead or background vocals, give music lessons, etc. You have to be flexible in your approach to your dreams.

2/ Recordings

In this category, there are different mediums that you can use to make money: CD, vinyl, digital sales, streaming & live streaming.

  • Digital sales
    To make the most money, I recommend to sell your digital music through your own website — if you do not have a website yet, you should work on this first! Read this post: http://www.oh-sweetmadness.com/create-a-music-website-why-is-it-so-important/
    However, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sell via online retailers! It can help you reach a wider audience notably via recommendations that some of them make to buyers. Keep in mind that online retailers such as iTunes, Amazon or Google Play, take a percentage of sales. So do not forget to read carefully their conditions of use. AND, the second thing is that you cannot collect email addresses from fans who purchase your music via these stores.
  • Streaming
    There are many streaming platforms: YouTube, Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, Apple Music, etc. Do not expect to make a lot of money from these services but they can add up over time. What’s the most interesting with streaming is that it helps people discover your music.
  • Live streaming
    Live videos aren’t new but new opportunities for artists are open since live streaming videos are integrated into social media platforms. Some applications like Twitter with Periscope, Facebook, YouTube, and even Tumblr when linked to other platforms, allow people to make live events online.
    There are a lot of new options and features which allow artists to (re)engage with their fans and integrate live streams into their marketing campaigns too. So you may not make (a lot of) money with live stream but it can really be a helpful tool on your way towards long-term success.
  • CDs & vinyl records
    Having CDs and vinyl records on hand every time you’re playing live shows can help generate extra income. No need to use all of your money to print a large batch you’re not sure to sell, though. Especially with vinyl records that are mostly bought by collectors.
3/ Crowdfunding

This could be a great way to raise money for your music: music recording and producing, marketing campaign, etc. To create a crowdfunding campaign, you can use platforms such as Kickstarter or PledgeMusic. But you can also do it yourself through your website.

Of course, there are pros and cons with both options. For instance, using crowdfunding platforms requires to pay a commission but it can help you reach a wider audience and grow your fan base. While raising money via your website is commission free but you need to have a strong fan base and a good relationship with your fans.

The following ways to make money are mostly for those whose careers are well under way.

4/ Merchandise

There are two kinds of merch: physical & digital merchandise.

Physical merchandise gathers different items that are usually sold before and/or after gigs: tour books, key rings, t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, posters, beanies, etc. The money you earn from this merchandise depends on the number of concerts you perform.

Digital merchandise gathers other contents like music videos, exclusive photos, artworks, etc. This type of merch is sold through your website only.

However, you can sell both physical and digital merch via your website. Personally, I recommend to make available all the items sold during live shows on your website. Why? Simply because some of your fans may not be able to come and see your show. Or the item they wanted to purchase is sold out. Or they didn’t have enough money. etc.

On your online shop, I also recommend to add exclusive items such as calendars, lyric (e)books, live performances,… to increase your chance of sale.

The good things with your online shop are that all items are available to your fans 24/7 — money comes in progressively — and when they purchase through your website you can collect data and emails from fans that may not be on your mailing list.

5/ Gigs

The sums of money earned from live shows varies greatly, but it still is one of the best ways to earn money. When you’re on tour, your income comes f rom selling tickets and merchandise. But apart from these two, there are other ways to make money from your live shows: cover gigs, private events, house concerts, busking, festivals, etc.

6/ Brand Partnerships

Many artists work with brands. The artist can be the new face of a specific product or create a range of products with the brand. No need to be Beyoncé for that! 😉 Even as an emerging artist, you can get a deal with a brand.

To work with a brand, you « have to » have a strong fan base and be popular on social medias. Because brands are looking for reaching a wider audience… and so are you!

And of course, both sides can make a lot of money by working together. We can say it’s a win-win situation!

7/ Royalties

There are three types of royalties: publishing, digital & live performance royalties.

To collect royalties on your music, you should be signed up to a Performing Rights Organisation. This way, you can earn royalties for your public performances including Radio and TV. You can also earn mechanical and sync royalties that cover streaming, sales via retailers, commercials, films, etc.

8/ Sponsorship

Having a strong fan base and many followers on social medias can help you get the attention of some companies. These companies could get in touch with you, or you with them. And thanks to sponsorship, you could get money or free products or services.

I hope you liked this article and that it will motivate you to work your a*se off to make your dreams come true!

Hey! If you have any queries, feel free to contact me. You can either leave a comment below or send me an email via the Contact section. I’ll be happy to help you 😀

Do you know that you can also find these useful advices on YouTube? No? Not yet? Then, subscribe now to my channel! Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2nB0CRy

See you there! 🙂

2 Responses

  1. Assiabyday
    18 avril 2017 at 3:21

    Ton article est très complet et même si je ne suis pas dans la musique ça m’a énormément intéressée. Je me suis rendue compte à quel point vivre d’un art c’est tout un art (haha). Pour la première partie je suis entièrement d’accord avec toi, même nous illustrateurs on a besoin de parfaire cette relation entre nos fans et nous. C’est comme ça qu’on gagnera aussi leur confiance pour qu’ils puissent acheter plus facilement nos œuvres. Du moins je pense comme ça :D. Je pense qu’une personne qui veut se lancer dans la musique a toutes les cartes en main avec tes articles! Merci à toi de partager ton savoir avec nous. Bisous!

    • 19 avril 2017 at 10:27

      Merci beaucoup pour ton commentaire 🙂 Je suis ravie de voir que cela t’a parlé et ce, même si tu es dans un milieu artistique différent de la musique. Et comme tu l’as bien fait remarqué, c’est un art de vivre de son art. Et finalement, peu importe la discipline artistique que l’on exerce, il est nécessaire d’établir des liens avec les gens. L’art, c’est le partage 🙂
      C’est vraiment quelque chose qui me tient à cœur, d’aider des artistes à vivre de leur passion. C’est ma façon à moi de vivre la mienne et d’apporter une contribution au monde de l’art existant depuis la nuit des temps.
      Bisous ma jolie et au plaisir de te lire prochainement 😉

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