If you want to make a living from music – partly or entirely – then it’s worth having a good think about where exactly the money is going to come from. Almost every professional musician and music-maker has multiple sources of income, which in business-speak is referred to as a ‘revenue model’. To help you build yours, Guestblogger, Maaike lines up ten possible money-making options for your consideration.

Ten Ways to Make Money from Music

While I was studying music at the conservatorium in Rotterdam, how to make money as a musician was a regular discussion topic. There are far more money-making methods than you might think, so here, I’ve made a list of the most common options for business-minded musicians so they can pick, mix, and come up with their own custom revenue model:

#1. Performing

Playing gigs with your band or performing as an act or musician is probably the first thing you think of. But there are a few factors to consider: will you play covers or your own material? Will you arrange your own gigs or find a booking agent, or do both?

#2. Teaching

Besides making and performing music, many musicians also give lessons on the side. You can do this privately by advertising your services online or on local notice boards, or by approaching schools to offer students after-school or lunchtime lessons.

#3. Collaborating with Music and Theatre Productions

Collaborating with music or theatre productions is a great way to secure regular income for a period of a few months at a time. These kinds of projects generally offer a fee for rehearsals as well as the performances and tours, and you could be hired via a temporary contract or taken on as self-employed, in which case you would invoice the company for your work.

#4. Apply for Grants or Subsidies for Your Own Project

Are you busy working on brilliant ideas for your own project? Then it’s worth doing some research to find out if there are any grants or subsidies available to fund it. The best ones will pay project costs and include a fee for yourself. It’s essential that you fully understand the requirements of any subsidy providers since they can differ, but usually this will be detailed on their websites.

#5. Session Work

As a paid session musician you can step in and play for other artists, whether recording albums, or more commercially, radio jingles.

#6. Airplay

Is your music getting radio play, or is it being used to soundtrack films, videos, or online content? Then you have a right to the resulting royalties. Even every time your work is played in the public domain, even if you’re just playing a gig to an audience, as long as it’s in a public space, and as long as your work has been registered with PRS, then you’ll be due a little extra cash.

#7. Selling Merch

If you want the name of your band or act to really get out there, then there’s no better way to advertise than slapping your name on the chests of your fans. Merch has always been an essential money-making tool for bands, making up an average of around 10% of their income. Merchandise can span everything from t-shirts to badges and bottle openers.

#8. CD/Record/Cassette Sales

While people are buying physical music formats less and less, for some genres, there’s still some money to be made by selling CDs, records, and even cassette tapes including a download code.

#9. Accompanying Rehearsals

Are you a classically trained pianist? Many choirs and conservatories hire pianists to provide accompaniment during rehearsals and auditions.

#10. Streaming Income

While the kick-back from streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify aren’t necessarily that high for developing artists, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth finding a good distributor and putting any recorded material out there. It doesn’t just make you a little cash, but puts your music within direct reach of any potential fans, venue bookers, or other people that might be worth connecting with.

So, What Will You Do?

The beauty of many of these options is that they don’t get in the way of any day-job you might have, and ultimately, you can pick out the ones that suit your skills and focus; fit your schedule; and actually feed and support oneanother. And maybe, you’ll discover some other options along the way.

Do you have some good money-making ideas? Let us know in the comments.

See also…

» Improving your music career with 5 daily habits
» SoundCloud Pro, is it worth it?
» Why artists use ghost producers
» 10 steps for finding the right artist name
» How Much Does it Cost to Make a Music Video?
» How to Make a Breakthrough as a Producer

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