The internet is somewhat of a double-edged sword for musicians and artists. Sure, it made it possible to spread the word about your works. But, it’s hard to compete with so many music makers online. With that said, earning some money on the side with your original music was also made possible. And if you’re wondering how to make money online with music, we’ll help you out.
Imagine this – you can even make a living writing and recording your original stuff! Sure, it may take some time and effort to set it all up. But it’s far from an impossible task. With this said, we’ll be finding ways to help you out by bringing some of the ways to make money with your music online. And we’re talking about safe-proof methods that we’ve experienced first-hand!
Selling through your own website
To start things off here’s the basic simplest way. Buy a domain, make your own website, and sell your music through it. You won’t need any mediators, just sell the music to your fans with no obstacles along the way.
There are a few options for how to do this. But the method comes with its upsides and downsides. Some of the positive sides are:
- No commission
- You’ll need a website anyway, so why not monetize stuff on your website?
- You’ll get a chance to build a solid fanbase and communicate with them directly
But, there are a few downsides to this model:
- This can’t be the only way to build your fanbase and it has to go hand-in-hand with your social media
- You already need to be somewhat famous. Otherwise, people just won’t trust giving you money.
- There’s hardly any chance that it will be the only way to earn money
Put your music up on streaming platforms and online retailers
Of course, the only safe-proof way these days is to put up your music on streaming platforms. This is where everyone will be looking for new stuff. Sure, you can’t expect to rack up those streaming numbers straight away, but it’s a start.
There might be some controversies surrounding it though. Plenty of artists are complaining that they’re not earning enough through these platforms. This usually refers to Spotify, Amazon Music, and others. Some have been a bit more satisfied with Apple Music. But, the biggest success for smaller artists seems to be through Bandcamp.
Of course, there are a few things to consider here. You can even start your own independent label and apply for streaming platforms. Although a bit riskier method, this will make you more independent and you’ll own all rights to your music. It can pay off in the longer run.
Aside from streaming, there are other platforms that operate as music retailers. For instance, iTunes offer selling individual songs and albums. The same can be said about Amazon. At the end of the day, this can be a much simpler way to sell your music compared to soon-to-be-outdated physical formats.
Sure, it can’t work on its own and you need to have some fanbase to get things going. On the other hand, recommendation mechanisms of streaming platforms can help you spread the word as well.
Monetize your YouTube channel
The monetization of YouTube content has been one of the main sources of income for independent musicians. Aside from your original music, you can also create music-related content. This includes tutorials, lessons, playthroughs, and even some comedic or entertaining content.
Either way, monetizing your YouTube channel is a pretty simple way to add to your income. Plus, as you grow, you’ll also open up a way for sponsored content within your video.
But there’s a catch. Make sure to know that YouTube is very strict with copyright strikes. Sometimes even playing a riff from a famous song can get you in trouble.
Monetize Facebook and Instagram videos
Although not as popular, Facebook and Instagram have also opened up ways for the monetization of content. The model is pretty like the one on YouTube. You record videos, post them on these platforms, and the videos will get pre-roll ads. What’s more, if people use your songs in their stories or vlogs, you can even get paid for that.
Crowdfunding platforms can be life-savers. Plenty of musicians managed to get things going and record an album this way. This includes both unknown and somewhat famous ones. This can be a good way to get things started, and you can offer special packages to it.
At one point, when you get more popular, you can even offer to appear on someone else’s album. And it can all be set up as a special package through crowdfunding platforms. GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon are just some of the names to check out.
Do online live streaming shows
As you already know, the world changed during 2020. But what’s interesting is that musicians found a way to earn money while still playing live. The answer lies in online live streaming shows. Some specialized platforms offered their services, allowing you to charge exclusive live shows to your fans.
Of course, this only works if you already have a following. But it’s also a great way to grow from there. It also requires specialized equipment, although some of these platforms offer that as well.
Either way, the method has allowed getting things rockin’ from the comfort of everyone’s homes. The times have shown that it works, and some may even prefer this over actual live shows.
Live streaming with tips
It’s one thing to have the internet working in your favor. But it’s a whole different thing to use video streaming services with “tip jars.” This is the perfect solution if you don’t feel like asking your fans to pay for a ticket. You can do a show or an impromptu performance while people are giving you tips.
Now, the possibilities here are endless. For instance, you can do an entire set through a platform like Twitch. Or, perhaps, you can do causal covers set where you talk directly to your audience. The latter method can be extremely useful. And if you’re entertaining and interesting enough, you might just get a solid amount of tips.
A platform like Twitch is most often used by gamers to make money online. But there are also some musicians on there as well. We even have some already established names using the platform for this purpose. Of course, YouTube also offers the same model and you can get some tips going through it as well.
Sell merch and digital products
Now, merch and various digital products aren’t exactly music. However, these are a byproduct of your music and hard work. In fact, a lot of artists out there are making a living selling their merch and not their music.
Some platforms, like Bandcamp, also offer an online merch store. Additionally, it’s really easy to print t-shirts these days. All you have to do is have a great-looking design. And all of the hard work will be done by these individual companies, from printing to shipping. In short, your hard work is basically outsourced here.
Then we also have additional stuff, like sheet music or tablatures. You can also sell digital artwork these days. This is especially a great option if you’re both a musician and a designer. Plus, your band or a project needs to have great aesthetic value, right?
Sell music through freelance platforms
This is not exactly the same as other solutions. Sure, freelance platforms can be a great source of income as well. But you’ll be making music for someone else’s needs. Now, this can be someone’s album or music for their social media and their website. Some are even looking for ghostwriter musicians. Whatever is the case, you should always check the terms first and know what you’re applying for.
Additionally, you should think of the rates here. Of course, getting your name out there on freelance platforms can take some time. It’s far from an impossible task, but you’ll have to do lower-paying offers first.
Platforms like Fiverr and Upwork are constantly filled with job offers for musicians. You can make some decent money through them. Just bear in mind that, in most cases, it won’t be as free as making the music that you like.
No matter what you choose, patience is the key
Let’s get one thing straight first. You can’t expect to start earning money straight away. This is a long and tedious process. It takes experience and a lot of trial and effort if you want to make it all work. What may work for one musician may be a bad business model for another one.
Be that as it may, you should know that things don’t happen overnight. Plus, you can’t expect to just make music, put it out there, and wait for the cash to flow in. Social media, streaming platforms, and other methods all work hand-in-hand. It’s up to you to find how you can combine them all together. And while you wait for that, you can always make some extra cash with paid online surveys.
Just remember that making music for the sole purpose of making money rarely ever works. In order to make appealing music that people will like, you first need to know what you’re doing. So love for music and proper knowledge and skills are a must.