10 Ways To Make Money With Your Music That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago

10waystomakemoney

1) Crowdfunding

Kickstarter has lead the way with nearly $120 million going to successful music projects. IndieGoGo is a close second and, unlike Kickstarter, allows creators to keep the money even if a project is unsuccessful (if the creator chose “flexible funding”). The most successful music crowd funding project is of course Amanda Palmer’s project which raised $1.2 million for her album. But there have been over 18,000 successful Kickstarter music projects (mostly funding albums) ranging from $1,000 to $1.2 million. Crowdfunding has been a great way for indie artists to bankroll their albums and tours without a label or investor.

And the newest of the crowdfunding bunch is Patreon. I call it Crowdfunding 2.0. Creators on Patreon ask their fans for continued financial support (patronage). Most patrons pledge $1-5 per piece of content released (music video, song, blog post, podcast, whatever) But some have pledged upwards of $1,000 PER PIECE OF CONTENT, because they can afford it and they really love the artist. Patreon launched in 2013 and is now paying out over $1 million per month to creators. This model embraces the new philosophy of asking your fans for support, not forcing them to buy. Because album sales are in a free fall, this is the next best solution for independent musicians with a highly engaged audience.

+Time To Pay Attention. Creators on Patreon Now Receive Over $1M Per Month From Patrons 

2) PledgeMusic

Some people lump PledgeMusic in with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I don’t. PledgeMusic is different. It has changed the way the modern album campaign works. The pre-order on PledgeMusic is much more than just an advanced purchase of the album. Running a PledgeMusic campaign invites the fans into the entire album making process from start to finish. Some bands literally live stream from the studio to their backers. Many large bands who don’t need the money still run PledgeMusic campaigns (without the crowdfunding element) because it increases fan engagement and opening week sales. Artists like 311, Ben Folds Five, Imogen Heap, Howie Day, Korn (with the backwards R) and Lucinda Williams have all run campaigns. Many actually charted on Billboard in the opening week (all pre-order PledgeMusic sales are reported to Soundscan for chart placement).

+PledgeMusic Looks To Change The Future Of The Album Release

3) Self Managed Digital Download Stores

BandCamp has been the most successful artist-managed music store (no labels allowed) and currently pays out over $3 million a month to independent artists. Their “name your price” model has personally allowed one of my fans to pay me $200 for my new album and another fan paid $20 for a single. BandCamp is moving to a Patreon-esque subscription service in 2015. CD Baby, Loudr and Tuneport also offer self-managed download stores that have become increasingly popular amongst the indie music community.

4) BandPage Experiences

BandPage started as a Facebook app to allow bands to post music to their Pages. It has evolved into a musician-fan experience haven. Artists offer “experiences” like meet and greets, soundcheck access, pre-show ping pong challenges, pre-show guitar lessons, green room hangs and anything else you can think of. These experiences have brought in additional income for bands on tour above the standard ticket/merch income.

5) YouTube Ad Revenue and Sponsorships

Companies like Audiam, INDMusic, Fullscreen, Maker Studios, ONErpm, AdRev, Believe and Rumblefish collect YouTube ad revenue for artists and labels. Multi Channel Networks like Fullscreen and Maker also act as agents for their creators and negotiate high paying sponsorships for their videos and YouTube channels.

6) Online concerts

StageIt and Concert Window are leading the way in the online concert world. Most shows are “pay what you want” and encourage tipping. I’ve played a few StageIt shows and have averaged about $5 a head for a “pay what you want” concert (from tipping and tickets). Not bad for playing songs from my living room.

7) Gig Masters

This is like an online event planning company. I’ve never tried it out, but I have a few friends who get booked for weddings and corporate parties all the time through the site. Customers leave reviews of the artists and the artists’ ranking rises the more positive reviews they receive. Gig Masters costs $200-400 for the annual membership, but one booking will typically pay for that.

8) SoundBetter & AirGigs

Mixing and mastering engineers, producers, instrumentalists, singers, and full demo production studios get hired through these sites by artists for their recordings. Live in a remote village in Tanzania and want your epic 127 track production mixed by a Grammy winning mixing engineer? Done! Well, if you can pay their rate of course. This has been a great way for freelance artists with home studios to get extra work – especially if they aren’t plugged into an active music town.

SoundBetter just implemented a search by location feature so if you want to find recording studios or live sound engineers in your town, you can find them here as well.

9) YouTube tips

This is a new feature just rolled out this year by YouTube (to compete with Patreon). It’s not available to all YouTube users yet (you have to apply), but it’s a great way for fans to pay artists directly through YouTube – without having to leave the site.

10) Licensing Companies

Traditionally, licensing departments were a division within publishing companies. But with more and more demand for independent music on TV shows, commercials, movies and trailers, licensing companies have been popping up every day to connect indie artists with music supervisors. Some of the biggest have been doing it for 5-10 years now and have built up pretty solid relationships. Music supervisors love discovering new music to place in their projects, however, with so much music out there they typically only accept music from sources they trust: labels, publishers, artists who they have build relationships with, and now licensing companies. In addition to these more traditional licensing companies that pitch music directly to music supervisors with big budgets, many companies like, Triple Scoop Music, The Music Bed and Audiosocket, clear music with the artists in advance and put the songs up on their site for a set fee to be used, non-exclusively, by photographers and indie film makers. Passive income baby!

+How To Get Songs Placed On TV and In Movies

For all the doom and gloom discussions within the music industry right now, hopefully these 10 avenues shed some light onto how you can diversify your income stream and make a solid living as a musician.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

 

Photo is by Earl McGehee from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons License

About The Author

Ari Herstand
Writer, Musician, Whiskey Drinker

Ari Herstand has been a DIY musician for over 10 years, has performed over 600 shows around the world and released 4 studio albums and 2 live albums. He has had songs featured on multiple TV shows, commercials and films and has shared the stage with Ben Folds, Cake, Matt Nathanson, Joshua Radin, Eric Hutchinson, Milk Carton Kids and Ron Pope. He created the music business advice blog, Ari’s Take in the Spring of 2012 to help DIY musicians navigate the independent world of music. Herstand was born and raised in the Midwest and got his start in the Minneapolis music scene. He rose to prominence locally and consistently sold out the 800 capacity Varsity Theater. He became the go-to musician in the scene for music business advice before he moved to Los Angeles in the Summer of 2010. Currently residing in West Hollywood, Herstand still spends a good portion of his time on the road touring. When at home he splits his time writing music, writing articles, writing his book (out November 2016 with Norton Publishing), playing shows at the Hotel Cafe and acting in TV shows (see him in his co-star appearances on Mad Men, 2 Broke Girls, The Fosters, Sam & Cat, Touch and others).

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19 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Here’s the best, though:

    11) Sue pirates! 🙂

    But thumbs up for Patreon, too! Good guys, nice place.

    Reply
  2. Remi Swierczek

    Ari, It’s all little money.
    All ten sources in mature state will not generate billion dollars per annum.

    Music has to be locked in virtual walls and monetized at the discovery moment.
    Beyond discovery point music is a public domain and monetization is nearly impossible.

    Reply
  3. Komuso

    “Live in a remote village in Tanzania and want your epic 127 track production mixed by a Grammy winning mixing engineer? Done! Well, if you can pay their rate of course.”

    That’s some quality music biz advice there Ari.

    11. Become a music biz advice guy by writing breezy blog posts. #HipsterLefsetzAri

    Reply
    • indie dude

      music licensing has been around a lot longer than a decade as well…I stopped coming here for a while and now I remember why…

      Reply
  4. Mix Engineer

    Soundbetter is a shithole though. Tons of people wanting their complete albums mixed and mastered for $200 – good luck getting competitive quality.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    A bunch of those are the same and have been around forever, crowd-sourcing? Thats like what buskers do with their hat on the ground… You just took things that used to exist without the internet and now are calling them new ways to make money fro music when in reality its just old ways now transferred to the internet… A pro hype positive rah rah rah propaganda piece for the new age muso’s coming up in the net age…

    Some of those are like Mechanical Turk, pathetic… More third world country ways to make money where that currency equates to usefulness, first world people having to resort to some of those third world rate incomes will further spin society and the economies into the toilet and further widen the gap from rich to poor gutting the middle to bleed out…

    Have humans debased themselves to these levels where they will accept such disrespectful slave labor and convince themselves instead that its actually amazing and incredible? wow man…

    Gotta think outside the box!

    Here’s another one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YK2Mrh8HPIQ

    Reply
  6. Sam Page

    This is a useful list. I would also add streaming revenue, because that’s by far my top source of recording revenue. Sure, it’s not enough for me to justify doing music full time, but what percentage of people can make a living doing their art full time?

    A lot of people complain about how hard it is to make a living as a music artist today. But is it any harder now than it was 20 or 40 years ago? Has there been any rigorous research on this or is it all just anecdotal evidence and speculation? I do think it is much easier to be a productive music artist today than it used to be, primarily because of the advent of digital recording and the ever-increasing opportunities for promotion on the internet. So if it really is harder to make a living as a music artist, it might just be because there are many more productive music artists to compete with.

    Reply
  7. JJ

    Ari, you left out a big one for music licensing. Song Freedom. Me and a lot of my buddies have our music on there and they are the only ones that I know of that also do that stuff with the majors. They have artists like Imagine Dragons right next to my stuff, for the same price. It’s pretty damn cool! And super nice people to work with. You should check them out and get your stuff on there.

    Reply
  8. David

    The article describes Amanda Palmer’s Kickstarter campaign as ‘the most successful’ crowd funding project, but according to her article here http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/13/amanda-palmer-art-business-difficult-honest-decisions “while it grossed over $1.2m, it netted – when all was said and done – close to zero”. Of course profitability is not the only measure of success, and Palmer says she deliberately chose to run it as a loss-leader. But her account is interesting anyway.

    Reply
    • this guyoverhere

      Crowdfunding is supposed to net 0. All the money collected is supposed to be used to fund the project it is being pledged for and for deliverables, not to create a profit.

      Reply
  9. Rakib

    Many people want to make money at home and they want to find a work at home job to do it with. Ultimately what happens is they become frustrated as they search from website to website looking for the right job. This brings up the question, why are work at home jobs so hard to find? In this article we will take an honest look at this problem.

    1. First of all you should know that most of the opportunities to work at home are not actually paid jobs. This is true because most employers do not know you and have no control over the work environment when you do it from the comfort of your own home.

    If you realistically think about this, why would someone pay you an hourly rate when they do not know if you are really working or not? Therefore many of the opportunities to work at home are actually in the form of business opportunities where you work for yourself.

    2. There really are some companies looking for people to work from home. This phenomenon is known as telecommuting and does provide an opportunity for people with legitimate skills to get paid working from home.

    This benefits both the company and the worker because the business does not need to provide a space for you to work from, and as an employee you do not have to get up and drive to work every day.

    Many companies now will offer work at home jobs that include an hourly rate and benefits. These benefits can include paid vacation, retirement plan, and health insurance.

    One such website or you can visit is Tjobs.com. They match employers looking for workers with employees who are looking for opportunities to telecommute. This works out very well for people who have skills such as sales, customer service, website design, and other categories.

    3. Another thing I want to talk about is websites that present themselves as work at home jobs doing data entry, taking paid surveys, and typing at home. Generally these websites are trying to sell you information on how to get involved in this type of work.

    There are companies who will pay you for your opinion, or to do data entry and typing. The websites that are selling you the information deserve to be paid because they have taken the time to develop a list of companies for you to contact.

    In the future work at home jobs will become more readily available. Until that point you need to be conscious and only deal with reputable companies before spending any of your hard earned money.

    To learn more about the top paid survey sites please visit: http://getpaid-survey.com

    Reply
  10. Tareq

    Everybody I have talked to that has start using the Internet eventually asks the question: How can I make money online? And for most people, they never learn what they need to do in order to make a couple hundred to thousands of dollars online.

    Everybody wants to make money online, but very few people know where to start. For most people it comes down to having to learn advanced skills that they never have time to master, resulting in the feeling of helplessness about making money online.

    Luckily for me, I found an easy way around that about a year ago. Instead of trying to learn crazy web languages or graphic design, I started search for nontechnical ways to make money online. This led me to taking paid surveys online.

    One of the great things about the Internet is that it can connect people and companies almost instantly, and companies have found out about it. Companies have found that they can receive almost instant feedback about their products, services, or ad campaigns through the Internet. This is called market research, and before it used to take companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and many months to find average and sometimes outdated data.

    Now, companies have a direct and almost instant link to people that use their products, and will pay people to help them speed up their market research. When I found out about it, I was a little skeptical, but I decided to try my hand at it anyway.

    What I found was that I could make decent money just by filling out online surveys for an hour or so, everyday. It was surprisingly easy since I could do them while chatting on Facebook or after my kids went to bed, so I figured I would give it a month and see how much I could earn. At the end of the month, I was so excited when my first check came in the mail for

    Reply
  11. jimenamercer

    Everybody I have talked to that has start using the Internet eventually asks the question: How can I make money online? And for most people, they never learn what they need to do in order to make a couple hundred to thousands of dollars online.

    Everybody wants to make money online, but very few people know where to start. For most people it comes down to having to learn advanced skills that they never have time to master, resulting in the feeling of helplessness about making money online.

    Luckily for me, I found an easy way around that about a year ago. Instead of trying to learn crazy web languages or graphic design, I started search for nontechnical ways to make money online. This led me to taking paid surveys online.

    One of the great things about the Internet is that it can connect people and companies almost instantly, and companies have found out about it. Companies have found that they can receive almost instant feedback about their products, services, or ad campaigns through the Internet. This is called market research, and before it used to take companies hundreds of thousands of dollars and many months to find average and sometimes outdated data.

    Now, companies have a direct and almost instant link to people that use their products, and will pay people to help them speed up their market research. When I found out about it, I was a little skeptical, but I decided to try my hand at it anyway.

    What I found was that I could make decent money just by filling out online surveys for an hour or so, everyday. It was surprisingly easy since I could do them while chatting on Facebook or after my kids went to bed, so I figured I would give it a month and see how much I could earn. At the end of the month, I was so excited when my first check came in the mail for $638.28!

    After a few months, I built up a reputation so that survey companies would give me even higher paying surveys, giving me even more money. Overall it has been a very smart choice that fits into my lifestyle, and hasn’t required me to learn anything advanced computer skills. If you are trying to make some extra money, give online surveys a try.

    So how does it work?

    1. Find a website that has a large survey database. I have tried a few, but personally, I like Surveys At Home because they have prescreened the survey websites to find the ones that pay the best.

    2. Sign up with a few sites, 3-5 to start then add more to receive more surveys

    3. Start taking surveys, simply fill out accurate information. They usually take 10-20 minutes per survey.

    4. Cash out and receive your payment either with PayPal or by mail.

    Best or all, you don’t need to spend any money, there is no risk or scams, and the sites are free to join. If you are looking to earn some extra income, surveys seem to be one of the best ways to go.

    Reply

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