This article gives insight about different ways an artist can promote and monetize their music online and offline to maximize their income
Below are twenty ways to make money with your music in 2021 and beyond, read ,learn and apply.
1. Sell Your Music (Ways to make money with your music)
Digital distribution is a must; you need to be readily accessible through all media platforms or find a friendly aggregator that places your music all over the net for you or you may choose to set this up yourself. Selling music at shows is also important. You can sell CD-Rs, make sure they are reasonably priced to sell at all your gigs, or online. If you’re pressing physical copies, check out your local record shops to get them in on consignment. You can easily duplicate your CDs without spending much, including printing and a plastic-wrapped case, so most of each sale will be profit, even after huge discounts.
Weren’t expecting to see advertising on a post about how to make money? You need traffic and awareness. Advertising achieves both. And if you convert your traffic right it will make you money. Advertising is not just for albums. You need to advertise for singles, EPs, and even streaming. Facebook ads can generate 3x returns.
Cassette sales are at their highest in over a decade. While still a niche format, they can be a unique item to offer your fans at shows, and to sell online.
Resources to sell cassettes
- Sell cassettes commission-free with Bandzoogle
- Sell cassettes through Bandcamp
4. Digital downloads
Digital downloads are experiencing a similar fate as CDs. Sales are now decreasing with the popularity of streaming music platforms. Yet just like CDs, digital downloads remain a source of revenue for many independent artists.
When selling digital downloads, be sure to sell direct to fans through your website. Not only will you make more money, but you’ll also collect valuable email addresses. This way you can let your fans know about new releases, upcoming shows, and more.
5. Streaming revenue
Streaming music can be a sensitive topic for some musicians and songwriters. While payouts from streaming music tend to be small, they can add up to become a significant revenue source over time for some musicians.
In addition to streaming music being an income generator, it’s also about music discovery. Streaming platforms provide actionable data that you can use to help with marketing your music, and booking gigs.
Resources for streaming your music
- We recommend distributing your music to streaming services with CD Baby, Ditto, Distro kid, and Tune core who are the best distribution partners of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.
6. Live shows – original music
Performing live is still one of the best ways to make money as a musician, generating nearly a quarter of the overall income for independent artists.
There are many venues available to perform your original music. These include traditional music venues, bars, clubs, coffeehouses, colleges & universities, and music festivals.
Performing live is also one of the best ways to sell merch. If you’re going to be playing a lot of live shows, be sure to stock your merch table.
Resources for live shows:
- Sell tickets
- For help with show and tour booking, check out Indie on the Move
- Use Bandsintown for Artists to reach fans and promote your shows
7. Live shows – cover songs
Playing cover gigs is sometimes frowned upon by musicians. But these shows often pay well, and allow you to get paid to play your instrument. Plus, there’s often no need to do promotion for these gigs.
There are lots of opportunities to play cover gigs. These include at bars, restaurants, weddings, corporate events, and other private parties.
8. Live Shows – house concerts
“In the ecosystem of gigs, house concerts are king!” – Joy Ike (Singer-songwriter)
House concerts can be a nice way to fill gaps in your touring schedule, and can also net you some impressive income.
While attendance for house concerts is limited by nature, ticket prices are often higher for these intimate events. Plus, the majority of the revenues goes right to the performer, and the potential for merch sales is very high.
9. Live shows – online
Online shows let you reach fans from around the world in areas you might not be able to get to while touring. Plus, they’re a great way to generate extra income.
You can broadcast the live show right from the comfort of your own living room. Fans can pay to get access to the live stream, or you can pass the virtual hat for tips during the show.
Resources for online shows
- YouTube Live
- The complete Facebook Live toolkit for musicians
- Instagram Live for musicians
- How musicians can use Twitch to build an audience
- Tips/donations: Venmo, PayPal.me
10. Physical merch
Selling physical merch can create a nice additional income stream, especially at your live shows. If you play live often or go out on tour, always have plenty of merch in stock.
T-shirts, CDs, and smaller items like buttons and stickers are usually good sellers. Be sure to also have all of your merch items available for fans to buy directly through your website.
Resources for selling physical merch
- CD Baby Merch
- Sell physical merch commission-free with Bandzoogle
- The Ultimate Guide to Selling Band Merch Online
11. Digital Merch
Merch doesn’t only have to be physical items. You can also sell digital merch items like video lessons, sheet music, and lyric books to your fans.
While they might take longer to create, the cost to produce can be much cheaper than physical merch, and there’s no need to keep track of inventory.
12. Crowdfunding (Ways to make money with your music)
Crowdfunding can be used to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of producing your album, and more. But don’t just treat it as a way to make money.
With crowdfunding, it’s all about making a connection with your biggest fans. Bring them along the journey with you, from songwriting, through recording, to the release and marketing of your album. Communication and creativity are key, and with proper planning, the money will follow.
Resources for crowdfunding your music
- Crowdfund your next project commission-free with Bandzoogle
- Crowdfunding your album: 11 dos & don’ts
Subscriptions are where fans pay a monthly recurring fee for access to content, like your entire discography plus any new releases. You can also offer early access to new music or videos, merch discounts, exclusive subscriber-only online shows, and more.
Subscriptions can be incredibly rewarding for you and your biggest fans, and help you generate more predictable revenue.
14. VIP fan experiences
In the age of digital music, scarcity is valuable. You should include VIP fan experiences in crowdfunding campaigns, or as part of your subscriptions offering. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
For any gig that you play, try offering your super fans a little something extra. A meet and greet after the show. VIP seating with drinks included. Maybe even a pre-show dinner with the band.
15. Create a Website
A website or blog is a great way to showcase your music sell your CDs, and advertise your availability for gigs. It is a good idea to have a website which features some examples of your talent. Ask your client to write a recommendation on your website if they are happy.
No idea where to start? We have a platform designed specifically for band websites, i.e. giglue.com, which helps you create a professional looking website. Learn about the benefits of a professional looking website.
16. Gig at Weddings or Bar
Playing cover gigs at bars, weddings, and other private events is frowned upon by some musicians. You won’t become a rockstar playing at weddings. But those shows can pay really well, and allow you to get paid to play your instrument. There’s no shame in that. And if you do well, word will spread and you’ll soon have a bonafide business on your hands. If you’re still working on getting a regular following for your own music, this is a relatively reliable source of income that lets you play music. If you,re performing original composition, you can earn royalties from live performances. Whether you perform at a bar, restaurant, club, or other music venue, Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) will pay royalties from those live performances.
17. Create Sound Files
For those who play an array of instruments, especially the more unique ones, composers often need your help when creating their music. And since you can’t be everywhere all at one, recording those sound files and creating an online database where they can purchase them is good for them and for your pocketbook. In this way you can earn well that too online.
18. Sell off Old Instruments
Websites like Olx and Quicker provide easy opportunities to clean out your closet. If you’re hard-pressed for some money, it might be time to let go of old instruments that you have replaced or no longer work.
19. Crowdfund Your Song or Concert
Crowdfunding can be a great way to generate income for your music career. Sometimes, part of being a great musician is throwing concerts that are really above and beyond a standard performance. A well-executed crowdfunding campaign can help you raise enough money to offset the cost of producing and marketing your album. Musicians ask for their fans to chip in, if they are unable to monetize the for concerts. That being said, this can actually be a fairly good way to get a large one-time round of income as long as you deliver what you promise to your fans and market yourself correctly.
20. Work as a DJ
You know music and you know how to have fun, right? Start djing for events, and while you’re there, throw a couple of your own songs into the mix. Most venues will give a very large percentage of the money people spend on concert tickets directly to the band. The bigger the venue you’re able to fill, the bigger your paychecks are. DJs generally make money through bookings at clubs and bars. Rock bands tend to book in rock venues and the occasional nightclub. When you’re a band with a good following, throwing a lot of concerts is a very financially wise decision. It’s a great way to get exposure for your music. Well, unless you’re producing hip-hop and you’re djing a polka party.
To make the best out of all these strategies you should consider your strengths and environment while also focusing globally and use these 20 ways to make money with your music.
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