It’s no secret – musicians have it hard. Sure, new possibilities have opened up with technological advancements. You’re wondering how to make money online with music? It’s possible.
But, the competition is pretty rough. And if that wasn’t enough, it seems that everyone wants to take a cut.
So your dreams of becoming a rock star immediately go down the drain, right? Well, a lot of these things are discouraging. But this doesn’t mean that you should give up on your dreams.
While things are kind of rough, new horizons open up with the wonders of the internet. You can, in fact, earn from your music without ever leaving your home. You can set it all up online!
Sounds too good to be true? It kind of does, but it’s far from an impossible task. Now, there’s a slim chance you’ll become a millionaire this way. But it can still be a nice way to kickstart your career.
In this simple guide, we’ll be looking into ways how to make money online with music. There are some easy ways for you to do so.
Ever since 2005, we’ve all been blessed enough to have YouTube. A platform to share your own content has been a dream come true for many. And when the monetization model kicked in, content creators were thrilled.
One way or another, music writers are content creators. And what made this whole thing awesome is that you could earn from your own music. You could even post your improv session and potentially earn money from it. You’d just have ads in your video, and that’s it!
Of course, the same model operates even today. You can upload your music on YouTube and earn money from it. This can either be through a label or without any intermediary service.
The most important part is that you can earn money through YouTube. This can be through any type of content, as long as it’s allowed. And as far as music goes, some are even making a living through YouTube.
But just make sure to follow the guidelines. A few wrong moves and you’ll get your channel stricken down. That means that you can get all of your work removed and demonetized if you do something wrong. This includes covering someone else’s music without permission.
Sure, it’s a tricky business. But if you post your original stuff, you should be fine.
Next up, we have the good old mainstream streaming platforms. This includes stuff like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Deezer, and others. And, to be fair, we’d call this the “best” way to go. If you want to grow your audience in the long run and become successful, you need to be there.
There are, however, a few tricky parts here. Firstly, you need to have your music officially published. Some are advising that you start your own label for your music and then publish it. Yes, it’s a more complicated process, but it’s the safest way if you want to be fully independent.
Another issue with mainstream streaming platforms is the low payment rate. Even successful artists have complained about this. But if you’re fully independent, you’ll be better off and get more. That means that you have to write, perform, produce, mix, and publish your music
Spotify is usually the biggest “culprit” of not paying artists enough. But then we have Apple Music that has better average payment rates. Some platforms also work as direct digital retailers. For instance, you can sell your music through iTunes. These can either be individual songs or entire albums and EPs.
Just bear in mind that you need to have some following in order for this to work. This means frequent live shows and social media following. It’s not like you can go on streaming platforms and earn immediately.
On the other hand, you have a platform like Bandcamp. Sure, they’re smaller, totally unlike Spotify. But they’re also allowing new and young artists to grow.
There’s a huge advantage of a platform like Bandcamp. They take 10 to 15 percent of all purchased music. The remaining 85 to 90 percent of all sales go to you. And that’s it!
Additionally, it also offers an option to sell merch through them. This also includes physical album copies, t-shirts, or anything else. And, the best part is that you can set the price of this merch. There are no limitations that Bandcamp sets.
Once again, we need to mention that having a fanbase helps a lot here. But then again, Bandcamp is the go-to place for smaller artists. It’s somewhat of an “underground culture bazaar,” as The New York Times called them.
In our honest opinion, Bandcamp is the best way to go. They’re the most transparent company in the business. And you’re free to do as you wish. It kind of has that MySpace vibe to it, only with music that you can purchase.
SoundCloud is another smaller streaming platform. Sure, they’re not so “underground.” But they’re very popular among smaller to medium-sized artists and bands.
It’s mostly oriented towards independent artists, especially those into electronic music. If you make your own stuff from the ground up, SoundCloud can be a great way to earn money.
Of course, the exact earning rates aren’t that easy to figure out. This is the case for every streaming and retail platform except a few out there.
As far as SoundCloud goes, it’s anywhere between $0.0025 to $0.004 per one stream. This is around the same amount you’d get from Spotify. The only one important advantage here. Such a platform is oriented towards independent music makers.
This means that you earn everything. On a big platform like Spotify, everyone gets their cut. Producers, mixing engineers, labels, and everyone else – they’d all take a cut. So SoundCloud could serve you better than bigger platforms.
Twitch is actually one of the best platforms for you to earn as a musician. Everyone from small independent streamers to actual rock stars are doing it.
Essentially, you’re doing the same thing as gamers on Twitch. You can cover songs or play whatever, and people will tip you. It’s up to you to make these performances interesting enough for your audience.
Then we also have the option of full-on Live Streaming Shows. In 2020, this model became increasingly popular. Some of the bigger names turned it into a complete substitute to live shows.
Certain platforms offered space for you to perform. Some companies offered complete technical support. A successful live streaming performance requires a lot of effort. It’s more than just a phone with a good mic and a camera.
With that said, we’d recommend this model to those who already have some following. This is because it requires an investment. And it’s kind of specific. You’ll need to turn it into a regular thing.
But watching a live show from the comfort of one’s bedroom does seem appealing. So this is definitely something that we’ll be seeing more of in the future.
One of the best things for independent artists and content creators are crowdfunding platforms. If you have some following, you can ask your fans to donate for your new album. Or, you can ask for small donations if you do specific covers of popular songs.
You can even use stuff like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon, or GoFundMe to kick things off. If you’re just starting out, these can really help you get started. Content creators of all kinds are using them.
Just make sure to know that they mean nothing on their own. You need to have social media channels first. You’ll be performing and sharing your work there.
The internet allowed us to earn money while sitting at home. And this is all enabled with freelance platforms. Stuff like Fiverr and Upwork can help you make a living!
With that said, you can also sell your music through them. There are plenty of clients looking for music. You can serve as a ghostwriter or a direct collaborator for any kind of project.
But again, you’ll need to have a portfolio first. A website and social media channels can help. There’s got to be at least one place where you can showcase your work.
As cliché as it may sound – be persistent and patient. The chances of you getting rich overnight are extremely slim. But the more you work on your talents, the closer you’ll get to being a professional musician.
Follow the trends. See what’s new in your preferred genres. Try to ride these waves while adding something original to it. You need to balance between being unique and staying within the genre boundaries.
And, above all, use the power of social media. All of the methods need to work hand-in-hand with social media profiles. After all, people need to hear your content somewhere, right?