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6 Unexpected Ways To Make A Living As A Musician


In today’s music industry, you have so many options for how to make a living as a musician or DJ or songwriter. You just have to know where to look and what options fit your career goals.

So here are six ways to make money as a musician that may surprise you.

Produce And Mix Music For Other Artists

If you know how to produce professional-level music and/or mix music to sound like it could be on the radio or a top Spotify playlist, listen up. You can make money with those skills.

You could be a music producer.

If you already some have great-sounding songs you’re proud of, great. Reach out to artists that sound similar and pitch your music production and mixing services. Offer to do one song for free — that way, they can see how good you are and (most likely) hire you for other projects.

Patreon

Patreon is a clever idea — ask super fans to support you on a regular basis in exchange for VIP treatment. Your fans get to be a part of your music career and you get a chance to have a career.

Singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer currently has over 14,000 patrons (financial supporters) and makes well over $55,000 per month.

By offering exclusives, special access, and community, Patreon creators can earn some decent money. I’m not saying you’ll be making a year’s wages in one month, but you could earn a couple hundred bucks to supplement your income.

Sync Licensing

Sync licensing has grown in popularity in recent years. Songwriters, music producers, and DJs are realizing they can spend more time in the studio and get paid very well for it.

Sync licensing is when your song is used with a moving image. Basically, you get paid a fee in exchange for the use of your song a TV commercial or show, a film, a video game, a movie trailer, or whathaveyou.

The amount of the fee depends on the budget for the project. It could range from $50 (ex. a business’s internal training video) up to thousands of dollars (ex. an Apple commercial).

You can land these deals either by contacting music supervisors directly or by teaming up with a sync licensing company/library (they’re the ones filmmakers go to for music).

Here are a few you can start with:

Live-Streamed Concerts

Yes, artists make money from live-streaming. It can take some time to get to that point, but the better you are at performing and interacting with fans, the quicker you can start making money.

This artist makes $10,000 a month from live-streaming. This busker broadcasts her performances and fans tip her hundreds of dollars. And this singer-songwriter earned over $74,000 in a year from Facebook Live concerts.

Most social media platforms offer live streaming, so you can pick one and start putting on regular online concerts. Not only can you make a bit of dough, but it’s a great way to engage with your fans on a regular basis without even leaving the house.

Corporate Events

Playing corporate gigs is sort of a secret in the music performance world. Most musicians think you need to go on tour or play a bunch of local shows at venues and coffee shops. But that’s not the only option. You can play weddings, business events, or even retirement communities.

Whether you’re a singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar or a DJ who can get people on their feet, you can get into the corporate concert world. There’s already a community of musician who make a living doing this.

To get started, you can check out websites like GigMasters or GigSalad, companies that help performing musicians land these types of gigs. Just make sure you don’t make these common mistakes when setting up and testing your live sound. It could really hurt your chances of getting future gigs.

Non-Music Audio Work

If you’re a producer or DJ, you surely know how to use a DAW for editing audio, and probably for mixing it too. You can harness those skills to add an additional income stream — you can get non-music audio work.

You can start advertising your skills through targeted social media ads or check out job-finding websites like Upwork. On Upwork, you can search for audio-related jobs, most of which involve editing podcasts.

It may not seem glamorous, but you’d be using your audio skills to make a career.

Caleb J. Murphy is a singer-songwriter and music producer based in Austin, Tx., and the founder of Musician With A Day Job, a blog that helps part-time musicians succeed.


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About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

At Audio Issues you’ll learn simple and practical audio production tips you can use right away to improve your music from your home recording studio.  Björgvin is the best-selling author of Step By Step Mixing and the founder of Audio Issues. He helps musicians and producers turn amateur demos into professionally produced records they can be proud to release.

We help home studio musicians and project studio producers make a greater musical impact in their lives by teaching them the skills needed to grow their hobbies and careers. We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use right away to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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