Top 5 Ways to Earn Money as a Musician

There are plenty of opportunities for musicians to generate income from their music. There’s a lot of hard work involved of course, but if you’re determined and driven to reach your goals, no obstacle is too hard to overcome.

If you want to earn money from playing acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass or any instrument, you need to be really good at your craft. Daily practice is a must and learning new skills should never stop. You need to show people you deserve their money and you need to keep them coming back for more.

When you’ve decided to try your hand at making money through your music but don’t know where to get started, read on. We’ve picked out the top 5 ways you can earn real cash by doing what you love. Do one or do all, it’s up to you. The most important thing is that you have fun while working to reach your goals. It’s probably worth getting the right axe before you start, so have a look here first before you begin.

Playing live

Musicians testing the waters would often go busking at first in the hopes of getting passersby to show their appreciation by dropping cash in their tip jar. There’s also a chance an agent or promoter would be seeing them play and become interested enough to offer a gig.

Musicians who play live in venues earn cash through show guarantees and/or door split deals. Low-paying gigs are common for newcomers, but keep at it and you’ll soon be able to ask for a higher fee. You might also get lucky when a talent scout or music manager drops by to listen.

Selling music online and offline

Making your music available for purchase online (via digital distribution channels) and offline (via music stores selling vinyl and CDs) is another surefire way to earn money as a musician. Make both options available for people so they can listen to you using whatever device they have. Make it easy for fans to buy your music and listen to it however they like.

For digital distribution, explore your options. You can enlist the services of an aggregator or put a download link up on your website. For selling physical copies, make these available in record shops, music stores, book shops and other places that support musicians. Oh, and don’t forget to bring copies with you when you play live.

Becoming a session musician

Playing for other artists can help you make money when you don’t have any solo gigs yet. Working as a session musician is also a great way to improve your skills, gain experience, build your portfolio and network with other people who can create career-building opportunities for you. Landing a job as a regular session musician also pays well especially if the artist you’re working with lands a big deal or starts on a new project and wants you to be part of it.

Selling your merch

T-shirts, stickers, posters, badges, buttons, bottle openers, keychains…name it and you can sell it to generate extra income. Selling artist or band merchandise will not necessarily make you rich, but it will help in promoting your music and giving fans a bit of yourself long after your gig is over. There are actually music fans who collect merch, so make sure you have them handy and available for purchase at gigs and through your website.

Learning and applying other music skills

Our last tip for musicians seeking to earn money through music is to do paid work that may or may not have anything to do with their music. Odd jobs such as acting as a booking agent or music producer for another musician, managing a new artist, teaching guitar lessons and so on can get money in. You’ll still be earning money from music and music business-related skills. If you don’t know how to do any of these things, well today is a good day to learn how to do them!

We hope this inspires and motivates you to get better at your craft so you can get started on making money through your music and skills as a musician. Explore the opportunities that come your way and evaluate which ones will help you reach your goals. Good luck!

Posted in