The Musician’s Guide to Making Money in a Post-Pandemic World

The pandemic has been hard on the music industry. Countless live events – like festivals and concerts – went on hiatus, causing a severe drop in income for dependent artists and musicians. And even last year only saw a modest increase in live events. While musicians are returning to the stage around the world, they still aren’t out of the woods from a financial perspective.

If you’re a musician, you have to get creative and do something different if you want to stabilize and, indeed, grow your income now. Here, indie band The Naticks offer some powerful suggestions on making money off the back of your music-related skills:

Package and sell your music

High-quality original beats are always in demand. While it may take time to get noticed and get a revenue stream going, digitizing and selling your music is an option well worth exploring. You could put up original beats for sale on an online marketplace like BandCamp, or put it up for sharing in a music library. If you have an album, you could make money from a streaming service like Apple Music.

Explore live streaming options

Live streaming remains popular. The industry was worth $30.29 billion in 2016, says Findstack, and has now grown to a staggering $70.05 billion. Although you won’t get a significant cut of the earnings (expect 10 to 15 percent), the income will add up over time. For example, if you have a channel on Twitch, you could make money from selling direct subscriptions, private shows, video ads, and in-event items (like T-shirts and merchandise).

Launch a business

Launching a business is arguably the best, most sustainable way of making money. Businesses, by nature, generate a passive income once they find their feet. Then there’s the flexibility and freedom. You could launch a music-related business – say an event hosting agency or music streaming site – or utilize other skills.

You must choose the right business entity when you launch. Forming a Rhode Island LLC is a popular choice because it protects your private assets from business ones. Furthermore, it’s more flexible to administer, requires less paperwork, and offers tax benefits. Every state has its own rules around LLC formation. Check the rules before you proceed. You can use a lawyer (expensive), file the paperwork yourself, or use a formation service, which offers a balance of affordability and convenience.

Put yourself out there

When making money as a musician, whether as an independent professional or business owner, it’s important to put yourself out there. That means you should be willing to get out of your comfort zone, be approachable, approach strangers, and express yourself. Some suggestions: 

  • Put yourself online: Getting a website or social media accounts allow you to showcase your creations. It allows prospective customers, clients, and fans to get to know you and see what you’re about.
  • Advertise: Advertise your services, whether online or offline, to find more gigs. Not advertising enough will keep your earnings down, regardless of how good you are.
  • ●        Network: Networking with fellow musicians, industry artists, and people of influence may open up new revenue-generation opportunities, not to mention allow you to improve your skills.

Get a job, full or part-time 

Jobs may not be glamorous, but they do pay the bills. You could find work in the music industry, something that takes advantage of your skillset, knowledge, and possibly education. Some suggestions include being a composer, transcriber, voice actor, staff musician, and music producer. You don’t need to play music directly. You could take on a support role like an agent, publicist, manager, sound engineer, or even security personnel. 

Conclusion

To maximize your income as a musician, think like an entrepreneur. Yes, playing music is art – but earning money from it is business. Research the market, figure out where the demand is, and advertise your services to stay in business. 

Image via Unsplash

-Julie Morris, Contributor

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