7 Proven Ways to Earn Money as a Musician

Written by: MT Team

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

Music is the soul of humanity. It creates emotions and connects people as nothing else does. Happiness, sadness, excitement; everything can be expressed through music. Listening to your favorite song can fix any kind of bad mood and so does dancing to your favorite tune. Listening to music is one thing but the ones who create this music for us deserve all the credit in the world. 

Creating music is not an easy feat by any means. The thoughts, the talent, and the efforts that go into it can’t even be fathomed by many. But what’s even harder than creating music is getting recognition. There are countless musicians across every genre across the whole world. It isn’t easy for every musician to make ends meet. But if you have the talent, you can find a way through anything. Here are 7 ways through which you can make money as a musician.

1. Gigs

When you need the money, it doesn’t matter if it is from a big gig or a smaller one. Many musicians hesitate in performing at small-time gigs and prefer occasions that offer a chance at bigger recognition. They often fail to understand the benefits of smaller gigs. They not only provide earning opportunities but also help you create a foundation and a fanbase. You don’t have to wait for tours of big bands and artists to showcase your talents.

Accept everything good that comes your way. Many musicians perform at weddings, festivals, college ceremonies, etc, and make good money out of it. People usually record these events for the internet nowadays and it also presents chances of you getting recognition online. 

2. Streaming Royalties

Everything is becoming smarter and shifting online these days. Albums and billboards are still relevant and they always will be. Other than the traditional means of releasing albums or singles, artists now release them for streaming services as well. These services pay you for the number of times your music gets streamed by its users. These are called royalties and every streaming service has its different rates and policies.

If you do not have a big-time label, you can simply upload your music onto one or more of these music streaming platforms. Spotify, Soundcloud, and iTunes are the top three choices for uploading your music online and getting paid. Spotify pays based on the number of plays you have on your streams and playlists, so some beginners prefer to buy Spotify plays to get a kick start and earn more money.

3. Teach Others

There is no shortage of aspiring musicians in the world. Many beginners look up to taking lessons from professionals in hopes of becoming the best. If you are good at what you do, you can make a good fortune out of teaching it to others. You can find people in your locality who are in search of a music teacher. There are many online platforms too where you can get paid for teaching music. Some of the best websites you need to check out for that are LectureOwl, Udemy, Podia, Teachable, and Thinkific.

You can also take up being a music teacher as a whole profession in a school or university. You do need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a music stream for being eligible.

4. YouTube 

YouTube is currently the biggest video streaming platform in the world. People from various fields have tasted success through YouTube and so can you in music. There are many succeeding opportunities on YouTube for budding and settled musicians. First of all, you can upload your original copyrighted music and get paid for it as normal YouTubers do. Especially, if you have your own music videos, it is a must to have a YouTube channel.

You can also cover popular songs and tunes in your style and hope to go viral. Last but not the least, you can collab with other artists casually or within music videos to gain exposure. 

Many YouTubers have got famous for making original and cover videos. Some of the best examples are Justin Bieber, Bo Burnham, 2Cellos, 331ERock, all of whom got popular in different genres of music.

5. Create And Sell Merchandise

If you have even a small fanbase, creating your own merchandise will not only help you earn but also give you an identity. The first step here is to create a logo that would represent you, your duo, or your band. Designing a logo isn’t that hard once you have a visual idea of what you want. You can also pay graphic designers to do it for you. 

Once the creation part is done, you can sell your merch through Shopify. Shopify is pretty easy to set up and has proved beneficial for many small artists and influencers. 

6. Play Locally 

If you don’t get any gigs at colleges or festivals, you can consider playing locally. You can be a part-time street performer. It not only helps you with money but gives you exposure in public as well. Many street performers go viral online too which kicks off their professional careers.

Playing in bars is another amazing option. Bars usually have comedians and musicians performing for their customers. You can start with any local bar you can find around you.

7. Sell Your Music

There are more direct ways of selling your riffs, beats, and samples. You can get your music licensed and then sell the rights to someone else. Your music can be sold to be used in movies, video games, advertisements, or any other entertainment form.

You can also earn through commission work. With websites like Upwork and Fiverr, you can get people to pay you for different types of tasks.

In Summary

Music is a beautiful thing. Aside from enjoyment, one can make a legitimate career out of it. However, the earnings are going to vary based on your perseverance. The more original, unique, and consistent you are, the sooner you are going to make your way up the music career ladder. Until then, keep working hard and stay consistent.

About MT Team
Posts on all things related to instrument education, gear reviews, and so much more. Written by the MusicianTuts editorial team.

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