Today, I’d like to share with you some practical tips for making money online from your music. The stereotype of ordinary musicians being constantly broke is still floating around. This by itself is bad enough, but what’s worse is how much it discourages young musicians from fully pursuing their creative dreams.
The truth is that not only is it possible to make money from music, but the technology we have now means that making money online from your music is so much easier than it ever has been in the past.
Creating music for use in soundtracks is a great way to turn instrumentals and music that doesn’t fit your usual genre into an extra source of income. Indie music licensing is growing more and more as film, tv and commercial producers are looking further afield.
If you’ve been spending years or even decades mastering your instrument, why not show others how to get to where you are now? All you need is a good quality camera and a microphone, which you may already have. Both are relatively inexpensive. Plus, with ad revenue from sites such as Youtube.com they can quickly pay for themselves.
Much like being in a supermarket, music can be a ‘cash or credit’ situation. You can either take credit for your work, or take cash. Once you’ve developed a bit of a following you can take both, but it’s nice to know you can start getting paid very quickly by writing music for others to perform. This is incredibly common in the music industry, and many of the biggest music stars actively use ghostwriters.
Finding somebody who can master a track or even an entire album is easier than ever thanks to websites such as Fiverr and other platforms that allow people with different skill sets to collaborate. By mastering music for a fee, you can make a very healthy income and build a formidable skill set at the same time.
This can either be through your own website, or through a third-party such as iTunes. Be aware that third party retailers will take a commission of the total price, which can be quite high.
To get the most exposure, make sure you gather a few favourable reviews from friends, family and anybody else you can persuade. This will dramatically increase your chances of selling online to people who may have never heard of you before.
High quality artwork
I know, I know. You’re a musician so why should you care about how the album looks? However, you’re missing a great opportunity to show off your band’s aesthetic with a visual representation as well as having a bit of fun. High quality, interesting artwork is also much more likely to catch somebody’s eye as they flick through all of the music available to them – so it translates to more sales and downloads too.
You don’t have to work 8 hours a day at a job you don’t want just to fund your music, nor do you have to persuade a record company. Instead, take your music public from day one and encourage others to chip in to help take it from a concept to a polished album or single. Online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Gofundme are excellent for this.
Doing guest appearances on internet radio shows and podcasts is a great way to boost your profile. Just like a normal radio show, being part of an interview or doing a live performance is a great way to reach a massive audience without having the hassle of building one from scratch. Be sure to let the listeners know where they can find your music online for download or streaming.
Instead of creating whole tracks, create tiny snippets of music. This can be in the form of loops, sound effects and samples. Developing new content for other music producers is much more exciting now thanks to user-to-user online marketplaces being supported by DAW developers. You can get in on the action in tons of different ways. Everything from programming brand new VSTs to making presets.
By now you should be feeling much more confident about having a career in the music industry. Whoever told you that you can’t make money online from your music was wrong.
Zac Green is chief editor of popular music blog ZingInstruments.com. He believes that music isn’t just a thing you do – it’s a mindset, an attitude, a way of life.