Nowadays, the music industry is more fragmented and competitive than ever and things like file sharing, streaming and consumers buying single tracks Vs. entire albums on sites like iTunes have taken a toll on artists at every level. But the internet has changed the game for everyone, especially the up and coming DIY artist. For the first time in history, a musician can connect with millions of would-be fans and other musicians across the globe and earn a living with their music. The best part is you can forgo the major labels and their million-dollar marketing budgets that leave many signed artists in servitude and creative unhappiness. Musicians can now be in total control of their own careers and receive a much larger part of the revenue from sales and other income than they would have in the past.
Regardless of whether you are an independent artist or on a small indie label, the internet has created more opportunities for success than ever. With so many ways to promote, sell and make money from your music it's important to pick a few ways and laser focus on them to avoid spinning your wheels. Here are just a few things to consider when trying to decide how you will make money from your music.
Get Out And Play Live
If your band or your music is still unknown then performing for free may be a great idea and is a way you will be able to get more experience, build a following, and gain confidence. If you are just starting off, some of the places where you can get gigs include bars, clubs, coffee shops, and other small locations. Once you've slugged it out in the clubs for a while you can seek out small events, festivals, community events and fairs to get a bit more money. If you're in a cover band there is a huge opportunity here.
When playing out live, you should always try to make personal connections with everyone from the audience, the staff, and the club owners. You just never know where that next opportunity is going to come from. Most importantly leave the audience wanting more by playing your absolute best and get them on your mailing list so you can promote future events.
Sell Your Merchandise
Whether you're just starting out or you've already established a name for yourself, it is important that you start thinking about merch to sell. Some of the products that you can sell beyond your music include CD's, vinyl, t-shirts, buttons, caps and other items. However, ensure that these items are not too expensive for your fans. An ideal place to sell these is when you are playing for an audience at a live show and your website. Ensure what you are selling is unique and appropriate for your target market. Although your fan base may not guarantee you immediate profits, having a merchandise table will make you look professional. You will be surprised how fans really want to support and promote you when they love your music and you show real appreciation back to them.
Sell Your Music Online
You can sell your music via MP3s in all the major download stores like iTunes, Amazon, Google, and the rest, but they usually take a pretty big cut of the proceeds. Still, you need to be there because that is where people buy music. Get your music on streaming sites like Spotify, Rhapsody or Pandora. You can launch a website, promote it at live shows and market it through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and set up an online store to sell your music. To learn how to publish your music on iTunes and other similar digital music stores, make sure to check out our How To Sell Your Music On iTunes article.
Diversify Your Income Source
As a musician, you do not have to focus on just your own music to earn some income. If you are in the music production industry you can consider making money by being a music producer or engineer. Remember there are many upcoming musicians who are always willing to record their music but they are often put off by the high fees charged by studios, engineers, and producers. Target the local bands and upcoming artists who might not enough cash to record with established studios or own the gear themselves. Apart from these, consider offering music lessons. If you are a good guitar or piano player, you can offer people lessons and make some extra income and maybe even gain a few new fans.
There are many ways playing music can make you some cash and many not mentioned here. If you are determined to do this then these tips will help you achieve results and keep the dream alive.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What are some of other ways musicians can make money when they are starting out?