I’m not gonna lie: earning a living as a musician is never easy. Especially when you’re not a performing musician, but more the creating type.
Sure you got those lucky bastards who end up in Hollywood (I can name some of my old fellow students!), but that’s only the best 1 percent or so.
And even so, do you really want that? I heard stories of work, work, work, more work, not enough sleep and sacrificing a lot in the areas of health, social life, family and relations. I think a Hollywood career is only for the most hardy people. But me? I’m not willing to sacrifice the things that make me healthy and happy.
So, where does the money come from when you’re short on commissioned work? I’ll give you a nice list of possible streams of income for musicians!
1 – Parttime job
No, it’s not fun, but you have to pay rent and eat something healthier than macaroni with ketchup. When you don’t want to rely on other people’s generosity or if you don’t have any savings, a side job is a great solution. If you don’t live too luxurious, you maybe could get by on 3 or 4 days, leaving you more time to make music!
2 – Stock music libraries
As a composer or music producer, chances are you’re writing music anyway to maintain your skills and try out new things. Polish up those pieces and upload them to a stock music library to earn some passive income!
3 – Advertisements
Another great way to earn some passive income as a musician is to display advertisements on your website, especially when you have a blog. There are basically 3 ways to do this:
- Google Adsense
- Affiliate links and banners
- Partner up with a media agency
The first two possibilities can be done anytime you feel like it. Partnering up with a media agency usually requires a minimum amount of unique visitors on your website. Last time I tried, it started at 10.000 unique visitors per month. This basically only works when you own a blog and want to invest a lot of time in it.
Beware of too much ads though: they can clutter your website easily and lead people away from you and what you’re selling.Take a look at these 5 surprising streams of income for musicians! Click To Tweet
4 – Recurring crowdfunding
We all know crowdfunding by now, do we? People pre-funding a project by letting people buy the product (and/or some extras) in advance. Usually, these services let you collect a total sum for one project. But there are also crowdfunding websites that let you collect funds on – for example – a monthly basis. Your fans can support you for a small amount of money per month or per creation, you reward them with your creations and/or some exclusive freebies. Most well-known site is Patreon.com.
5 – Creating ecourses
They take some prep work, but when they’re uploaded, it’s just a matter of cashing in: creating your own online courses. You’re a professional in music, so there must be something you’re really good at! Something you could actually teach to others. Best known site for hosting your own online courses is Teachable.com.
So what’s it for you? What forms of income for musicians do you exploit?