19 Ways To Make Money As A Musician

Musicians today are faced with diversified revenue streams and modern income sources. The revenue generation model has expanded, offering plenty of opportunities to earn money. Listed below are 19 different ways to earn money as a musician.

1. Acquire publishing royalties

Sign up to a performance rights organization to collect royalties on your music. You can earn money through performance royalties (radio, TV, live venues), mechanical royalties (licensed reproduction of your music by publishers or digital aggregators) and sync royalties (TV, commercial, film).

2. Apply for a music grant

Music grants are a great way to raise money to create and preserve rare or culture-specific music. Find a grant that fits your music and create a compelling proposal to secure funding. Music and art grants are extremely competitive. Incorporate specific strategies to get ahead of the curve.

3. Busk at crowded street corners

Secure a spot at a crowded street corner during the weekend and perform your tracks. Place a tip-jar in front of you to generate some income. Busking is a great way to promote yourself and make some extra money. 

4. Write songs for other musicians

Not everyone is good at writing song lyrics. Provide songwriting services to other artists and bands. Charge a suitable charge for your time and services.

5. Compose music for video games

The video game industry is booming and provides a lucrative source of revenue for musicians. Compose music for video games to earn more money. Gaming developers are always on the look out for appropriate music. Approach developers and send in your demos to get your first gaming music contract.

6. Attract brand sponsorships

If you have a large fan base, brands and companies are likely to sponsor you. Sponsorships can help you generate money, buy extra gear or avail free products. You can also secure corporate support for a tour in exchange for providing free publicity to brands and companies. 

7. Sell sheet music

You can generate revenue by selling licensed songs and compositions as sheet music. You can sell sheet music on your website or at performances.

8. Produce and sell ringtones

Mobile phone ringtones have good prices. You can generate additional income by licensing your songs for use as ringtones. Turn your music into ringtones and sell them on your website or make them available on iTunes. Ringtones are a great way to make an additional income.

9. Set up fan-funding

You can crowdsource money from fans to support an upcoming recording project or tour. Use crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Pledge Music. Set up a compelling campaign to get backers to support you.

10. Rent out gear or studio space

Consider giving your instruments or studio space for rent during down time. Sparkplug is a great place to list your gear for free. The site allows you to communicate with potential renters and also collects a deposit fee.

11. Create music for corporate videos

The corporate video creation trend is on the rise. Collaborate with a videographer and provide music. Consider providing free music initially, to build a portfolio. You can then charge for every assignment you undertake.

12. Work as a session musician in studios

Contact local studios and fill in as their regular session musician. You will get paid for working in a live setting by the local studio owner or music producer.

13. Take music classes

You can also generate revenue from teaching your musical craft. Have students come over or provide online teaching sessions through Skype. Teaching music is the best way to make additional revenue.

14. Play for an orchestra

Playing in an orchestra has plenty of benefits such as attractive pay and travel opportunities. Try to get into an orchestra and become a salaried member of the troupe. 

15. Perform house concerts

House concerts are gaining a lot of popularity. Performing in someone else’s living room might not give you instant stardom. However, house concerts are a great way to earn an additional revenue and gradually build your fan base. Get in touch with people who would willing to open their doors for a concert. Collect money through ticket sales.

16. Sell CDs and Vinyl

Sell album CDs through your website or after a live performance. Sign every CD to make it more personal. Additionally, also sell vinyl. Vinyl is making a comeback and its sales has increased by 30% since 2013. Offer attractive and exclusive packaging to boost sales.

17. Stream your music

Put your music up on streaming sites such as Spotify and SoundCloud. Although per-stream payments are very low, they accumulate over time. In the mean time, focus on other lucrative revenue streams to generate income.

18. Sell merchandise

Merchandise sales make up a large chunk of income for popular musicians. Once you have a considerably large fan following, design and sell suitable merchandise. Consider physical merchandise items such as t-shirts, mugs and badges. Additionally, design digital merchandise items such as sheet music, lyric books, posters and artwork.

19. Compose music for local theatres

Collaborate with a local theatre and compose music for their productions. It may be a small start, but it can go a long way in building your portfolio. It’s also a great source of additional income. 

Over the years, the methods of generating money in the music industry has transformed. Musicians no longer have to depend upon live performances or album sales to generate revenue. In a digitial era, the opportunities to earn money as a musician are endless. 

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Manasa Boggaram is a writer and has a strong passion for music, positive news and constructive journalism. When she is not researching story ideas or writing blog posts, she spends her time reading books, discovering new music and eating lots of street food.

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