In today’s digital age, figuring out how to make money as a musician online has become more critical than ever.
Gone are the days when the sole path to financial success lay in touring and album sales. The online landscape offers a plethora of avenues to diversify your income while reaching a global audience.
Read on for an in-depth look at various ways you can turn your musical skills into a sustainable online business.
- Diversify Your Income Streams: In today’s digital age, musicians have a multitude of online avenues for making money, from selling tracks on iTunes to hosting online concerts.
- Direct-to-Fan Platforms: Platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon allow musicians to foster a close relationship with their audience, offering customizable pricing and exclusive content.
- Streaming Services: Utilize platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music to reach a global audience, but keep in mind that per-stream payouts are usually low.
- Monetize Your Videos: YouTube’s Partner Program offers musicians a way to earn from ads, live streams, and channel memberships.
- Licensing and Royalties: Sync licensing and public performance royalties can provide substantial one-time payouts and ongoing income.
- Online Education: Leverage your skills by offering online music lessons or creating courses on platforms like Udemy or Teachable.
Digital Music Sales To Make Money As A Musician Online
Selling your music on iTunes is one of the most traditional yet effective ways to make money as a musician online. iTunes has a vast, global reach and is accessible to a wide audience that includes not just fans but industry scouts as well.
You can distribute your music to iTunes through third-party services like DistroKid or TuneCore, which simplify the process by taking care of licensing, metadata, and royalties. Usually, these services charge either a one-time fee or an annual subscription, but they handle all the complexities, so you can focus on your art.
When someone buys your music on iTunes, you receive a percentage of the sales, usually around 70%.
Bandcamp is an excellent platform for independent musicians looking to sell their music directly to fans. The website allows for a lot of customization in terms of pricing and bundling, so you can offer sliding scale prices or “pay-what-you-want” deals.
What sets Bandcamp apart is the direct relationship it facilitates between you and your listeners. Unlike other platforms, Bandcamp sends out automated emails to your followers whenever you release new music, helping to foster a sense of community and ongoing engagement.
You keep 80-85% of the revenue, while Bandcamp takes a 15-20% cut.
A creative way to add value to your digital music is by bundling it with physical merchandise like t-shirts, vinyl, or posters. You can offer these bundles through your website or other e-commerce platforms specialized in artist merchandise.
The idea is to create a package deal that fans can’t resist, thereby increasing the perceived value of your offering. It’s a win-win: fans get more than just a digital file, and you get to sell merchandise along with your music.
This approach can substantially increase your average transaction value and create a more sustainable income stream.
Streaming Platforms To Make Money As A Musician Online
Spotify is one of the largest streaming platforms, making it a must for musicians looking to make money online. While per-stream payouts are generally low, they can add up over time and through volume.
You can get your music on Spotify through digital distribution companies like DistroKid, TuneCore, or CDBaby. In addition to getting paid per stream, Spotify offers various promotional tools to help artists get featured in playlists, thereby increasing exposure and potential revenue.
Remember, Spotify also provides analytics that can help you understand your audience better, enabling more targeted marketing strategies.
YouTube offers a different avenue for musicians to earn money online through its Partner Program. To be eligible for the program, you’ll need to accumulate at least 500 subscribers and 3,000 watch hours over a 12-month period.
Once you’re part of YPP, you can start monetizing your videos through ads. YouTube offers different types of ads like display ads, skippable video ads, and non-skippable video ads, among others.
Beyond ad revenue, YouTube provides an excellent platform for exposure, allowing fans to share your videos easily. YouTube also offers additional revenue streams like Super Chat for live streams, and Channel Memberships, wherein fans pay a monthly fee for exclusive badges, emojis, and other perks.
SoundCloud offers monetization through its SoundCloud Premier program. To qualify, you must own all the rights to your music and have at least 5,000 plays in eligible countries within the last month.
Once eligible, you can earn money from streams both on SoundCloud and other platforms it distributes to. This offers a good way to monetize your existing SoundCloud audience and gain additional exposure.
SoundCloud also allows you to interact directly with your listeners, providing valuable insights and feedback.
Amazon Music provides another significant avenue for digital distribution. By including your music on Amazon’s platform, you get to tap into a diverse customer base that ranges from casual listeners to avid music collectors.
Amazon Music’s subscription model is similar to Spotify’s, offering per-stream payouts. But Amazon also allows customers to purchase tracks or albums outright, providing another potential income stream.
Distribution services like DistroKid, TuneCore, and CDBaby can also help you get your music on Amazon Music, simplifying the process.
Patreon has become a popular way for musicians to generate consistent income online by providing exclusive content to paying subscribers.
You can offer different “tiers” of membership, each with its own set of perks, ranging from exclusive tracks, behind-the-scenes videos, or even one-on-one interactions.
What makes Patreon attractive is the predictable, recurring income it can generate, allowing you more freedom and stability to create your music without financial stress.
Plus, it’s a fantastic way to deepen relationships with your most loyal fans, making them feel like part of your creative journey..
Licensing & Royalties To Make Money As A Musician Online
Sync licensing is a lucrative avenue for musicians to make money online by licensing their music for use in various types of media, including films, TV shows, commercials, and video games. Production companies pay a one-time fee, known as a “sync fee,” to use your music in their project.
These fees can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the project’s budget and how integral your music is to it. In addition to the upfront fee, you may also earn royalties whenever the media featuring your music is played.
To get into sync licensing, consider working with a music licensing company that can help match your music with appropriate opportunities.
Mechanical licenses are another way to make money as a musician online. Whenever another artist covers your song and releases it, you’re entitled to mechanical royalties.
You can set this up through agencies that handle mechanical rights, like The Harry Fox Agency in the United States. Typically, the covering artist or their record label pays a predetermined fee per copy distributed. While these fees are usually small, they can add up over time and across multiple cover versions.
Mechanical royalties can provide a consistent income stream, especially if you’ve written a popular song that gets covered frequently.
11. Public Performance: Collect royalties when your music is played in public through agencies like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC.
Public performance royalties offer another income stream for musicians. Every time your music is played in public spaces, such as radio, bars, restaurants, or even elevators, you are entitled to royalties.
Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC collect these royalties on your behalf. Becoming a member of a PRO can help you earn money from public performances of your music, both online and offline.
They have a comprehensive tracking system that monitors the public usage of your music and ensures you get paid. Registering your music with a PRO can help you gain both exposure and a steady income stream.
Online Shows and Concerts To Make Money As A Musician Online
In today’s digital age, live-streaming concerts have become an increasingly popular way for musicians to earn money online. Platforms like Twitch or StageIt allow you to reach a global audience from the comfort of your home or studio.
While you can stream for free, many artists use virtual “ticketing” methods, where viewers must pay an entry fee to watch the live stream. Alternatively, platforms often allow for in-stream donations or virtual gifts that translate to real-world money.
This method enables musicians to perform without the logistical challenges of a live venue, making it an appealing and lucrative option.
During your live online performances, including a virtual “tip jar” can add an additional revenue stream. Simple to implement, all you need is to display your PayPal, Venmo, or other payment platform link prominently during your show.
Viewers who enjoy your performance can send tips in real time. Though tips can vary in size, they can add up quickly, especially if you have a large and engaged audience.
It’s a direct and unobtrusive way to earn money during free performances, making your online gigs more financially rewarding.
Ticketed online events can add an element of exclusivity and value to your online performances. Platforms like Eventbrite make it easy to set up an event, manage ticket sales, and even include various pricing tiers with different perks for each.
You could offer standard tickets for the live stream and VIP tickets that include a post-show Q&A, for example. This approach enables you to make more substantial earnings than with free shows and offers fans a unique, intimate experience that they’re more willing to pay for.
Ticketed online events can serve as a significant revenue stream and also offer the flexibility to be as elaborate or as simple as you choose.
Educational Content To Make Money As A Musician Online
Offering online music lessons through platforms like Zoom or Skype is an excellent way for musicians to monetize their skill set. As an experienced musician, you have valuable knowledge that beginners or intermediate players would gladly pay to learn.
You can offer one-on-one sessions or even group classes to teach various aspects like instrument techniques, music theory, or songwriting. All you need is a stable internet connection, a good-quality camera and microphone, and a suitable platform for scheduling and payments.
Online music lessons not only allow you to reach a broader, global audience but also provide the flexibility to teach from anywhere, thereby opening up a reliable income stream.
Creating and selling online courses on platforms like Udemy or Teachable is another lucrative way to make money as a musician online. Instead of teaching one-on-one, you create a course once and sell it multiple times, making it a more scalable income source.
These platforms handle much of the technical aspects, such as hosting and payment processing, so you can focus on creating high-quality content. You can cover a range of topics, from mastering a specific instrument to the ins and outs of music production.
Once your course is live, these platforms also offer various promotional tools to help reach a wider audience, making this an efficient way to monetize your expertise.
If you possess writing skills along with your musical expertise, creating instructional e-books or PDF guides can be a profitable venture. These could range from beginner’s guides to playing an instrument, advanced techniques, or even the business aspects of a music career.
Once written, you can sell these e-books on platforms like Amazon Kindle, your website, or social media channels. The beauty of this approach is the “create once, sell many times” model. Once the e-book is available, there are minimal ongoing costs, which means most of the revenue you generate is profit.
It’s a great way to establish yourself as an authority in the field while earning passive income.
For musicians with significant experience or specialization in a particular area, offering online masterclasses can be a goldmine. Unlike general courses, masterclasses delve deep into advanced topics and usually attract a more dedicated, serious audience willing to pay premium prices.
You can offer these classes live or record them for asynchronous access. Platforms like MasterClass or even your own website can serve as hosting platforms. These masterclasses can cover advanced techniques, industry insights, or niche topics that you have specialized knowledge in.
Offering masterclasses can not only boost your income significantly but also elevate your status as an expert in the field.
Services To Make Money As A Musician Online
As a skilled musician, you can lend your instrumental expertise to other artists by becoming an online session musician. Thanks to high-quality recording equipment and file-sharing services, you can collaborate with musicians from around the globe without leaving your home studio.
Websites like SoundBetter or AirGigs offer platforms where you can list your services, making it easier to get discovered. You can charge per project or even per hour based on the complexity and requirements of the musical piece.
Offering your services as an online session musician can provide a reliable and flexible income stream while allowing you to practice and perfect your craft.
If you have experience and skills in audio production, offering mixing and mastering services can be a lucrative way to make money online. Independent musicians are always in search of quality mixing and mastering services to make their tracks sound professional.
You can offer these services via freelancing websites or through your network. Essential tools include high-quality audio software, a good pair of headphones, and perhaps a dedicated studio setup.
By providing this valuable service, you can generate a steady income while being involved in the creative process of music-making.
Writing custom songs for special occasions like weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays can be a delightful and profitable niche. You can offer these personalized services through your website or platforms that specialize in custom gifts.
A well-crafted, unique song can be a memorable gift that people are willing to pay a premium for. Given that each project is unique, you can charge higher fees than you might for more general services.
Creating custom songs allows you to exercise your creativity while providing a highly personalized service that can bring in significant revenue.
Social Media and Community To Make Money As A Musician Online
Building a membership-based community can create a consistent revenue stream while enhancing fan engagement.
Platforms like Discord offer various tools for setting up community chats, video conversations, and exclusive content areas. By offering different tiers of memberships, you can provide exclusive benefits like early access to new music, private chats, or even virtual hangouts.
A dedicated fan membership not only strengthens your relationship with your audience but also provides monthly revenue that can sustain your creative endeavors.
Leveraging Instagram’s massive user base can be a powerful way to monetize your online presence as a musician.
By using sponsored posts or entering into partnerships with brands, you can earn money while promoting products that align with your image and interests. Whether it’s musical equipment, fashion, or lifestyle products, a well-crafted sponsored post can bring in both revenue and new followers.
Make sure to pick brands and products that resonate with your audience to maintain authenticity.
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo allow you to raise money for specific music projects, such as an album release, a music video, or even a tour.
Unlike traditional financing methods, crowdfunding involves getting small amounts of money from a large number of people. In return, backers receive rewards based on their level of contribution, which could range from digital downloads to exclusive experiences like a private concert.
Crowdfunding can not only bring in the necessary funds for your project but also create an engaged community around your work, serving dual purposes of funding and marketing.
Merchandising To Make Money As A Musician Online
Merchandising is a staple income source for many musicians, and selling branded apparel like T-shirts, hats, or hoodies can bring in a significant amount of money.
Platforms like Teespring make it easy to design and sell custom apparel with no upfront costs. You can create various designs featuring your logo, album artwork, or any other branding elements. Then, market these items to your fan base through social media or your website.
Not only does this give your fans a way to show their support, but it also serves as free advertising when they wear your gear.
In the age of digital consumption, offering digital merchandise can be a savvy move. These could include exclusive wallpapers for smartphones, digital art, or even limited edition downloadable content.
Websites like Gumroad offer platforms where you can easily sell digital goods. The cost of producing these items is often lower than physical goods, and there’s no need to manage inventory or shipping, making it a cost-effective method for generating revenue.
Despite the rise of digital music, there is still a dedicated market for physical CDs and vinyl records. These formats offer a tangible, collectible experience that many fans appreciate.
You can sell physical copies of your music directly through your website or through online retailers. Services like Bandcamp also offer an easy way to manage physical merchandise.
By offering signed copies, limited edition releases, or bundle packages that include additional merchandise, you can make the sale even more attractive to your audience.
Collaborations and Features To Make Money As A Musician Online
Collaborations can serve dual purposes: they can bring in money and increase your exposure. By featuring on another artist’s track, you can tap into their audience and vice versa.
This crossover can result in increased streams, more followers, and ultimately, more revenue. Some artists even charge a fee for featuring on a track, providing an immediate source of income.
Collaborations can be done remotely, making it easier to work with artists from around the world. In today’s connected age, collaborations can be a win-win scenario for all musicians involved.
If you possess the skills for music production, offering your services to produce tracks for other artists can be highly lucrative. With digital audio workstations and high-quality plugins readily available, you can produce music remotely from your home studio.
Freelance platforms, industry connections, or even social media can be used to find clients. Producers often charge either a flat fee, hourly rate, or a combination of both along with a percentage of royalties.
Producing for others not only brings in money but also allows you to network and build your portfolio in the industry.
Content Creation To Make Money As A Musician Online
30. Music Blogging: Write about the music industry and monetize the blog through ads or sponsorships.
If you’re well-versed in the intricacies of the music world and have a knack for writing, starting a music blog can be a rewarding way to earn income.
Blogging allows you to cover a wide array of topics—from reviewing gear, and dissecting music theory, to offering career advice for musicians. Once your blog gains traction, you can monetize it through various methods, such as Google AdSense or sponsored content.
This not only establishes you as a thought leader in the music industry but also generates a passive income stream that can be quite lucrative over time.
Podcasting is another excellent channel for musicians to generate income online. You could start a podcast focusing on music education, industry insights, or interviews with other artists.
As your listener base grows, you can attract sponsors who are willing to pay to reach your audience. Hosting platforms like Anchor or Podbean offer monetization tools that simplify the process of finding sponsorships and running ads.
Consistent, high-quality content is key to attracting and retaining a large audience, which, in turn, can be monetized through sponsorships and ads.
YouTube is a platform where musicians can not only showcase their talent but also share their expertise through instructional videos.
You can create ‘How-to’ content on a variety of subjects such as mastering an instrument, understanding music theory, or digital music production. As your channel gains views and subscribers, you can monetize it through YouTube’s Partner Program, which pays you for ad revenue generated from your videos.
The added benefit is that these videos can act as a portfolio, attracting other revenue-generating opportunities like private lessons or course sales.
Stock Music and Samples To Make Money As A Musician Online
Musicians looking for a passive income stream should consider selling their instrumental tracks on stock music websites like Audiojungle or Pond5.
These platforms cater to filmmakers, advertisers, and other content creators in need of quality music. You upload your tracks and set your price, while the platform takes care of hosting and transactions.
This can be an excellent way to monetize your existing catalog of work, as well as any new instrumental pieces you create, all while retaining the rights to your music.
Another avenue for musicians, especially those well-versed in music production, is creating and selling sample packs. These packs can include anything from drum loops, and vocal phrases, to instrument samples.
You can sell them on platforms specialized for this, like Splice or Loopmasters. Creating sample packs allows you to capitalize on your creative efforts by selling the same set of samples to multiple customers, generating ongoing revenue.
The initial effort required is substantial—curating high-quality, unique sounds—but the potential for long-term income makes it an investment worth considering.
Software and Tech To Make Money As A Musician Online
If you’re a musician with some coding skills or willing to partner with a developer, creating a music-related app can be a lucrative venture.
This could range from a simple metronome app to something more complex like a music theory quiz or an app that helps musicians find local gigs. Once the app is developed, you can offer it on platforms like the App Store or Google Play, either for a one-time purchase fee or as a free download with in-app purchases.
This not only provides a new income stream but also positions you as an innovator in the music-tech space, making you more attractive for other types of partnerships and sponsorships.
In the era of digital music production, virtual instruments, and sound libraries are invaluable resources. If you have the technical know-how, creating your own virtual instruments—such as synthesizers, drum machines, or sampled instruments—can generate substantial income.
Websites like Kontakt Hub or Plugin Boutique are platforms where you can sell these products. Developing high-quality, unique virtual instruments can attract a loyal customer base, not just generating sales but also elevating your reputation within the music production community.
Affiliates and Endorsements To Make Money As A Musician Online
Affiliate marketing offers an excellent way to monetize your online presence as a musician. Websites and online stores often have affiliate programs where you can earn a commission for any sales generated through a unique link you share.
You can create content around music gear—reviews, unboxing videos, tutorials—and then direct your audience to purchase these products through your affiliate links. It’s a win-win situation: your audience gets informed recommendations, and you earn a percentage of any sales made.
Sites like Amazon and Sweetwater often have affiliate programs tailored for musicians.
Brand endorsements can be a significant revenue source for musicians with a decent following online. Companies are willing to pay for you to promote their products or services to your audience, whether that’s through social media posts, videos, or even mentions in your songs.
Sponsored content should always align with your brand and be something you genuinely endorse to maintain the trust of your audience. It’s essential to negotiate the terms carefully, specifying deliverables and payment to protect your interests.
When done correctly, brand endorsements not only bring in money but also offer the opportunity for long-term partnerships.
General and Special Skills To Make Money As A Musician Online
If you’re a musician with a captivating voice, voice-over work could be an excellent way to diversify your income. There are various platforms like Voices.com or Fiverr where you can offer services for narrations, audiobooks, and even commercial jingles.
Being a musician, you already understand pitch, timing, and emotive delivery, skills directly transferable to voice-over work.
This not only provides an alternative revenue stream but also exposes you to a new audience who may be interested in your music.
Creating ringtones from your music is an overlooked yet effective way to generate additional income. With the right tune, your ringtone could become a miniature hit on its own.
Platforms like iTunes and Zedge allow musicians to sell ringtones directly to the consumer. This adds another layer to your sales funnel and can also serve as a promotional tool for your primary music releases.
Musicians have unique insights into the craft of making music. Why not leverage that expertise by writing reviews of other artists’ work?
Many online publications and blogs pay for high-quality, insightful reviews. Websites like Upwork or Freelancer often have gigs for music reviewers.
Your musical background provides credibility, and your reviews can help you generate additional income while helping fellow musicians gain exposure.
Newsletters can be a direct line to your most dedicated fans. Platforms like Substack make it easy to run a paid newsletter, where you offer exclusive content, early access to your new releases, or even private Q&A sessions. This creates a VIP experience for your fans, and because they’re paying, it generates consistent income for you.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one of the most talked-about trends in the digital art and music world.
Musicians can create NFTs for digital assets like unreleased songs, album art, or exclusive experiences. These are sold in cryptocurrency, and because they are unique, they can become collectibles. Platforms like OpenSea or Rarible can host your NFTs.
However, it’s crucial to educate yourself about the implications, both ethical and environmental, before diving into the NFT space.
Online music competitions are a way to not only gain exposure but also win cash prizes.
Websites like Indaba Music or SongDoor hold regular contests where musicians can submit their work for a chance to win. Participation can lead to substantial cash rewards, studio time, or equipment.
Plus, it’s a way to challenge yourself and get feedback on your work.
With years of experience in the music industry, you have valuable insights that budding musicians would pay for.
Offering consulting services—covering topics like music production, marketing, or live performance strategies—can be a rewarding way to monetize your expertise. You can use platforms like Clarity.fm or simply offer your services directly through your website or social media.
A couple of hours a week could yield a significant amount of income, all while helping the next generation of musicians navigate their careers.
Navigating the complexities of the music industry can be challenging, but the digital era has opened up a multitude of opportunities for musicians to monetize their talents. Exploiting multiple avenues not only broadens your revenue streams but also expands your brand to new audiences.
Key takeaways include the importance of leveraging your unique skills, whether that’s through creating virtual instruments or offering specialized consulting services. Affiliate marketing and brand endorsements also offer lucrative opportunities, but it’s crucial to align these partnerships with your brand identity for long-term success.
If you’re just starting, consider platforms like Patreon or Bandcamp to build a dedicated fan base willing to pay for exclusive content.
For more valuable insights into making money and entrepreneurship, be sure to check out our other articles on the blog, such as;
- How to Create a 6 Fig Online Course (that people love you for)
- How to Make 1000 a Day Online; 54 Action Packed Ways
- Make Money Writing Online; 21 Fun & Actionable Ways
- How to Make Money in the Metaverse; 31 Exciting Ways
Mastering the art of online income requires strategic planning, continuous learning, and a willingness to adapt to emerging trends and technologies.
We wish you the best of luck and success on your musical journey!
Beginner musicians can start making money online by using various platforms to distribute their music, such as Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp. Offering music lessons, starting a YouTube channel, and selling merchandise are also excellent ways to generate income. Utilizing social media for exposure can help beginners build an audience willing to financially support their work.
Musicians can make money through numerous websites like Spotify for streaming, Bandcamp for direct sales, Patreon for fan memberships, and Fiverr for freelance music services. YouTube is another lucrative platform, where musicians can monetize their channel through ad revenue. Other options include Teachable for courses, Voices.com for voice-over work, and Etsy for selling merchandise.
Making money as a musician online involves a multi-pronged approach that includes distributing your music, teaching, merchandise sales, and potentially licensing your work for use in media. Websites like DistroKid and TuneCore can distribute your music to multiple platforms. You can also offer music lessons via Zoom or Skype and sell courses on platforms like Udemy. Beyond that, consider options like affiliate marketing and brand endorsements to maximize your revenue.
Artists can get paid online through direct sales of their work, ad revenue, royalties, and fan memberships. Payment can be received through various methods, including PayPal, direct deposit, or cryptocurrency for those who delve into the world of NFTs. Many platforms like Bandcamp, Spotify, and YouTube have their own payment systems that funnel earnings directly to the artist after taking a percentage.
Promotion is crucial for making money as a musician online. Utilize social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to reach a broader audience. Paid advertising, collaborating with other musicians, and utilizing music promotion services can also be effective. Platforms like SoundCloud and YouTube are great for sharing your music and creating a following.
Licensing allows musicians to grant permission for others to use their music, often in exchange for payment or royalties. Agencies like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC collect public performance royalties, while platforms like Audiojungle can be used for sync licensing. Mechanical royalties are collected when your song is covered or distributed.
There are numerous software options for online music production, such as Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Pro Tools. Online services like Splice offer sample packs and plugins that can aid in your production process. Hardware like quality microphones, headphones, and audio interfaces are also crucial for serious music production.
Consistency is key in building a fan base online. Regularly post content that engages your audience, whether it’s new music, behind-the-scenes footage, or vlogs. Interact with your followers to create a sense of community and consider using email newsletters to keep fans updated with your latest releases and events.
Yes, many musicians make a comfortable living online by diversifying their income streams. This could mean combining music sales, lessons, merchandise, and live streams, among other methods. With hard work, strategic planning, and effective marketing, it’s entirely feasible to make a sustainable income as a musician online.
Protecting your music online can be achieved through copyright registration. Many online platforms also have content ID systems that detect the unauthorized use of your music. Utilizing blockchain technology or NFTs can also provide additional layers of protection for your work.