The ubiquity of coronavirus has made it hard for musicians to generate steady revenue. Especially for those artists who relied on live events as a major source of income. Now that almost all the major events have been postponed, it is about time musicians start diversifying their income. Furthermore, if you are an artist reading this blog, then upon rebuilding your business model you can survive this pandemic, as well as the ones that might come in the future. Without further ado, here are 10 ways you can make money as an artist.
Producing music for other bands and artists
Being a record producer is one of the ways for you to diversify your income. As a musician, if you have made enough milestones in your career, bands and artists will start approaching you to produce their music. All you have to do is to oversee the sound recording and pitch ideas for song structures. For a musician, this comes naturally. As a matter of fact, many musicians take this as a hobby, and transition to this field after a successful music career. Being a record producer, you can charge anywhere between $30 to $150 per hour. Hence, while you’re not busy touring or releasing new music, you can help other artists record their sound.
YouTube and Twitch
We have already talked about how effective YouTube is, to generate revenue. For artists, this is a great way to promote their music. When it comes to the business side, artists can still earn passive income through their YouTube channel. In addition to YouTube, artists can also use video-streaming sites such as Twitch to earn additional revenue. If you are an artist, you can live stream on Twitch playing your favorite song or offer lessons. By doing this, you will get tips from the viewers as well as a part of income through Twitch subscribers. The downside of this is that you would be needing a solid fan base to earn a lucrative revenue. For starters, you can make anywhere between $100 to $200(minimum) per month from Twitch.
If you are a musician yourself, you will know what exactly a signature instrument is. For those of you who don’t know, signature instruments are more like a collaboration between a musician and a manufacturer. For instance, Gibson, a leading guitar manufacturer teamed up with Les Paul in the 1950s to release the infamous Gibson Les Paul. Similarly, if you have enough fame in the guitar world, you can get a call from one such manufacturer for a signature model. Although the product will be sold by the manufacturer, you will get a cut of every sale they make. This is the recurring, passive income that we were talking about, from the beginning
Musicians love to get endorsed by the companies that manufacture their instruments. The reason for this is the amount that they would save while purchasing the product. Furthermore, if a company takes an interest in you and is willing to endorse you, then you will be listed on their official website next to the iconic musicians that the company has worked with, in the past. To clarify, sponsorships are different from endorsements. You can’t expect to get free stuff while endorsing but you can surely expect a huge discount
Merchandise is a part of the conventional business model that almost every single band follows. Needless to say, merchandise is one of the easiest ways to make money as an artist. The best part, you don’t need a separate design to run your merch line. Just the logo of your band or the cover art of your new album would suffice. In fact, merchandise is something that never goes unsold. Even if you are not able to make sales online, you can take the unsold mercy with you on tour and sell it at the venue. Then again, this is not something new. Many bands have been doing this for years and without a doubt, they will continue doing this for years to come.
Musical clinics have become prevalent with many musicians holding one in the cities they visit while touring. To give you a gist as to what a musical clinic is, it is a place where the artist and their fans come together in order to discuss the techniques and give useful tips to the attendees. As a musician, you charge around $10-$50 per person. However, some clinics are offered for free. The positive side of this is that the clinics are usually held in music stores. Hence, if you are an influential drummer, a music store owner will pay you a small amount to play at their shop. Furthermore, this is another way to market yourself and get new fans.
Own a record label
Record deals are often viewed as a status symbol. Although it is a great relief to have a label backing you up, you can make a lucrative revenue without a label. The problem with record labels is that they hold the rights of you and take a major chunk of your royalties. For instance, you may have to pay a share of every stream or sale you make. In other words, you can keep all of the revenue coming from album streams and digital downloads to yourself if you are an independent artist.
On the other hand, if you are getting a steady recurring revenue, then it would be a good choice for you to invest in a record label. Own a record label and release your music through your label. In addition to that, find other artists looking for a label and give them a record deal. Now you will get revenue from your music and a share of royalties from other bands under your label.
Use your artist identity to build and market companies independent from your band
Here is where things might start to get a bit perplexing, to say the least. Before we get there, it must be noted that this only applied to those of you who already have a good fanbase. To make things easier for you, here is an example. Periphery, a Grammy-nominated Progressive Metal band is also known for “GGD” or “Get Good Drums”. This software allows musicians to use sampled drums for their tracks. To make this happen, the band’s former bassist and current drummer teamed up to record and sample every drum sound. They then developed software that hosted their drummer’s sound files. To market it, they used their artist identity by squeezing “GGD” in almost studio sessions. In addition to that, the band flaunts the software through playthroughs. Eventually, the company took off and is sought by many artists across the world.
Releasing new music
This must be a no-brainer. A musician without releasing a new album or song is almost like science without gravity. The reason for this is that it is their main source of income. As a matter of fact, new music opens the door for many sources of income. Streaming, digital downloads, physical copies, and merchandise, to name a few.
Even though this article’s intention was to stray from the conventional business model, you can’t ignore live shows. As a matter of fact, many artists still earn 80% of their total revenue from live shows. Furthermore, artists love to play across cities and countries. In fact, they think of it as a hobby. But, if you are an artist on hitting the road, then you might as well consider churning some extra profits from shows. Of course, you will be paid by the promoter but, you could earn extra if you bring out your Merchandise with you on the road. Furthermore, you can enhance your profits if you could arrange a VIP meet and greet with your fans. On average, bands charge $20 for normal tickets and around $100 for VIP. See the difference!