12 Ways to Diversify Your Income as a Professional Musician
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Making a living as a musician can be a stressful grind that is often a financial challenge. When putting all of your eggs in one basket, you can be taking a great risk on your well-being and financial stability. Instead of trying to make all of your money on just touring or studio sessions, it’s always best to have at least 2 or 3 different ways for you to diversify your income. It’s important to consider different avenues of income as an artist, and thankfully there are quite a few to explore.
Check out some of the best ways to diversify your income as a professional musician below:
Livestream technology has allowed musicians to bring the live concert experience to the comfort of their homes along with the homes of fans around the world. With COVID-19 putting a stop to live entertainment, artists have quickly found out that live streams can be a great source of income. Whether you’re playing solo, with a full band, or even just streaming video/audio of past performances or new recordings, livestreams allow you to connect with your fanbase and give them an opportunity to offer their support. You can sell your livestream access for a small fee, or also consider a free stream with the option to tip. Play2Fund is the best source on the internet to host your livestream sessions!
Wedding & Corporate Bands
Although playing corporate parties and weddings isn’t a dream for most artists, these gigs can provide great income and financial-stability for a working musician. Not only are they very commonplace, but they pay great and can help sustain your finances with only a few gigs a month. According to popular wedding website theknot.com, the average cost to hire a wedding band is $3,700.
There’s always gigs to be found at restaurants and bars! You may be working mostly for tips, but if you scale down to just you, an acoustic and some covers you can find yourself making good money on a busy night. A duo team can also do good even after splitting the income. These gigs are easy-going, low-stress and oftentimes a lot of fun for all involved. Consider checking out Craiglist or local musician groups on Facebook to find new gigs near you, or take the old-fashioned approach and just go from business to business in person and ask if they would be interested in your service.
Fill Tour Gaps
If you find yourself out on the road with days in between gigs, consider trying to fill those gaps if you feel you have the energy. You can always advertise private gigs at house parties and other events, or find a good spot to do merch signings and meet & greets.
The VIP experience at live events is becoming more and more popular. There are companies that provide lushious hotel and travel packages for large-scale acts, but grassroots VIP packages for smaller touring bands can be easily put together as well. Consider an extra ticket package that includes sound check entry, small meet & greets and merch packages. For an example on pricing, for a simple meet & greet package before the show consider charging 75-100% more than a standard GA ticket.
Need an investment to help fund your next project? Don’t hesitate to turn to crowdfunding for help. Crowdfunding goes far beyond asking for handouts. Consider making tiers for donations that offer something to the fans. For instance, if you’re recording an album you can make the first tier a physical or digital copy of the release once finished. Higher tiers can include personal thank you’s, merch packages, VIP experiences, concert tickets and much more. US Jazz Composer Maria Schneider was able to get three grammys for her album “Concert in the Garden”, which was completely crowdsourced from fans online.
Get unique with your merchandise! Fans can always expect to find stickers, t-shirts and physical album copies at a show. If you offer up something more unique fans may be more inclined to make a purchase. The sky’s the limit, but some good starting points are lighters, items for pets, frisbees, keychains, koozies, patches and socks! You can also create digital merchandise at little cost to you, including recordings, lyric collections, and pre-recorded lessons.
Jingles, Sound-Alikes & Theme songs
There’s always good money to be found in creating jingles and other theme’s for TV, Radio and other advertisement purposes. You can market your services to local advertising agencies and small businesses that need musicians to help create catchy & original music. According to carrersinmusic.com, the average salary for a full-time jingle writer is $57,000!
With most music being available for free online, many fans still prefer to collect physical copies of their music while helping to support their favorite artists. CDs are cheap to produce and easy to distribute, and if you can afford to press your recordings on vinyl there will always be fans wanting to make a purchase.
Being an expert in a subject is a great reason to start your own podcast! If you have a lot of musician friends and subject matter to discuss, a podcast can not only be a great way to gain income through sponsorships, but also help you grow your image and fanbase. Lots of musicians are utilizing their charm, connections, and storytelling capabilities to launch extremely successful podcasts that are turning out to be great new sources of income. Creators are paid by stream counts, but more lucrative are the sponsorships you can get with a large-audience platform. Some successful musician podcasts include “Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast”, “Eric Krasno Plus One”, and “Questlove Supreme”, just to name a few.
One of the most common ways for a musician to make some extra bucks, lessons are not to be ignored. You can do in-person private lessons for an hourly fee, or consider doing livestream lessons to fans around the world. Another option is to create pre-recorded lessons to sell as packages online. The average cost of a music lesson ranges between $50 and well over $100 per hour, allowing musicians to make a solid living as long as they have a good number of students. You can consider growing your student list by allowing first lessons free and referral discounts for current students.
Studio Session Work
There’s always a need for studio musicians in big cities, especially those that are music-oriented. Whether you’re working freelance or with an agent, consider making room in your schedule to hop on some studio work to help diversify your income. This is also a great way to diversify your recording resume and explore playing genres of music outside your comfort zone.
Creating diverse paths of income for yourself as a musician not only grants you financial stability, but offers you the peace of mind of knowing that there will always be ways for you to generate income. As we are currently seeing with the growing Coronavirus pandemic facing the world, there can sometimes be factors outside of your control as a musician that can put you out of work. Having different ways to make money outside of the standard practices is essential to the well-being of a professional musician.
Being An Artist Is Being An Entrepreneur
These first few months at Play2Fund have been extremely enlightening. Musicians are true entrepreneurs. They develop a product, they figure out how to execute a marketing campaign, they deal with lawyers, with cash flow, with investments, they create an audience, etc. Isn’t that more or less what an entrepreneur does?
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