Making money in the music industry can be a hard thing to do. Most people look at successful musicians and assume that they are paid well. In most cases, this isn’t true. In fact, musicians and producers have to work extremely hard to gain their skills and keep the work coming in. Creative work ebbs and flows; that’s just the nature of the game.
For those who hustle in the modern day, there are numerous ways to make money as a musician right from the comfort of their home studios. Music and music video distributors have made it much easier for musicians to publish their music and collect royalties on their own. While album sales might not be the best way to make money, there are plenty of creative pathways for musicians to make a living doing what they love.
1. Streams: Music and Music Videos
The first and most obvious way that musicians can make money is by collecting royalties from streams. Just like using a music distributor to upload your music to streaming platforms, artists can use music video distributors to deliver video content to online marketplaces and increase their potential streaming revenue. Streams only account for a small percentage of most artists’ income, but they can help fortify an artist’s career by getting their music out to a broader audience. Music videos are a great way to increase streaming revenue. The best way to take advantage of these streams is to find a great music video distributor who can get your music videos onto exclusive platforms like Tidal and Vevo.
2. Songwriting Credits
For those who compose and write songs, submitting your music to publishing houses and licensing libraries is a valid avenue for making money. These are hubs for music that industry professionals can pull for movies, tv shows, commercial spots, and potentially for other artists to record. Many pop artists employ teams of songwriters and producers to help create their masterpieces. Songwriting and music licensing are excellent ways to get into that side of the industry.
3. Produce for Other Artists
Separate from writing for other artists, producing for up-and-coming songwriters, bands, and artists is a great way to create a revenue stream. If you have recording skills, a computer with a DAW (digital audio workstation), and some decent microphones, you can easily record and produce artists right from home. Many musicians with production skills utilize this avenue to make money, widen their network of collaborators, and gain experience that might lead them to a higher-level job in the industry.
4. Sell Merchandise
Merchandise and physical media remain one of the only major ways that fans can directly support artists aside from buying their albums for digital download. Merchandise can be tricky to move, but a dedicated fan base will likely snatch up limited runs of shirts, tapes, stickers, or any other form of merch you might produce for your band. Limited runs are a great way to add a layer of exclusivity to your sale and give bands a better marketing scheme for advertising their merch. Plus, with a great music video distributor, you can make short videos to distribute across social media platforms.
5. Gain a Social Media Following
This brings us to our last tip: actively work on your social media presence. No artist likes promoting themselves, but it’s a necessary part of the process if you want people to engage with your music and know that you’re out there. Music video distribution will help get your aesthetics noticed by fans, but social media provides a unique opportunity to engage directly with fans and give them a peek into your life as an artist. Fans love getting inside looks into their favorite performers’ lives, creative processes, and likes vs. dislikes. It’s also a great place to promote things like music video releases, merch runs, and new music releases.
There are numerous ways that musicians can make money from home. But it does take time, determination, and creativity to get those revenue streams off the ground. In general, it’s best to think about the multiple points of attack approach. If an artist has an active following on social media, markets their music, releases videos through a music video distributor, sells merchandise, and takes work as an independent producer or performer, it’s entirely possible to make a good amount of income right from home.
Again, it’s no easy task getting those streams up and running. But for the dedicated musician, it’s completely possible to create a network of jobs and opportunities that culminate into a livable wage, all from the comfort of one’s home office or studio space.