Revenue Streams for Musicians – 7 Lucrative Ideas

Let’s look at it this way; as long as you’re making music, someone somewhere owes you money. What’s more, the money increases each time someone purchases your music, streams it, or just plays it on YouTube or radio. If you are hardly making real money from your “great” music, stick around for some easy and actionable tips. There are numerous lucrative revenue streams for musicians that can help you ensure that each single or album you release earns you cash to its maximum potential. Remember that great music can even generate revenue and royalties for a lifetime.

Today, there are more money-making opportunities for musicians than ever before. The trick is finding the best opportunities and ensuring that your earnings have a foolproof way of finding you. Keep in mind that, in 2012 alone, research shows that over $ 1 billion in music publishing royalties went unclaimed because of unverified or missing data. If you are serious about your craft and want to make real money from your passion, dive right in!

  • 7 Smart Revenue Streams for Musicians
  • Best Marketing Strategies for Creating Solid Revenue Streams for Musicians 
  • conclusion

7 Smart Revenue Streams for Musicians

If making music is something you love, there are tangible ways to ensure your efforts pay off. Irrespective of whether you want to make this your side gig or a full-time job. Unfortunately, selling music is not one of those jobs that come with a profit guarantee. Not even turning into an overnight sensation can assure you that you will make a fortune.

Turning music artistry into your dream career may not be easy, but it is possible. The trick is not to diversify too much and lose focus or spread out too little and limit your earning potential. Here are 7 of the best revenue streams for musicians that can see you begin making the big bucks:

Work With Digital Distribution Companies and Earn Streaming Royalties

You are yet to grow from a small-time musician if you are yet to discover the power of digital distribution companies. Such companies handle the non-musical processes and distribute music to outstanding streaming services like Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple music. Moreover, they collect royalties on behalf of their clients, ensuring you have an easy way to collect your bucks now and then.

The ideal digital music distribution company will share your music with a decent number of major streaming platforms. Even though different companies have different pricing structures and services, we researched for you. Here are 3 of the best distribution companies you could consider:

  • Landr— pay as little as $4 per month to gain access to all streaming services and keep 100% of your streaming royalties.
  • TuneCore— spend 9.99 yearly and gain access to an array of tools and services to promote and sell your business. Again, the pact involves retaining 100% of your streaming royalties.
  • CD Baby— Plans start as low as $9.95/ single, and you can profit from both digital music distribution and sales from physical CD and Vinyl music. The best part is that CD baby has no royalty-sharing pact.

Create a YouTube Channel

Success in the music industry was once a far-fetched dream until artists began to understand the power of YouTube.  You may not know that even though there are numerous revenue streams for musicians, YouTube is on top of that list. Through the platform, you can make cash each time someone plays your content. Because using the platform is 100% free, you simply need to learn how to earn more likes, views, and subscribers on YouTube.

First, make sure you upload quality content. Take the time to spruce up your videos and create something people will love to watch. Second, make sure you do your keyword research for the most suitable titles, hashtags, and descriptions. The idea is to make it dead simple for your fans to find your music, watch it, and make you money!

Leverage on Sync Deals

The popularity of sync deals is currently at a fever pitch as traditional record sales slowly decline. Such arrangements allow you to earn money by allowing your music to feature in visual media. For example, your music may feature in video games, movies, and TV shows. I’m sure you’re now wondering how you can get your hands on such deals. Well, it’s not simple. However, it is possible to make thousands or a couple hundred thousand bucks from the right deal.

The trick here is to make great music. Also, make sure you create an instrumental version of your music. Most importantly, go through your lyrics to ensure they are clean and free of nasty talks or swearing words. While sync deals can come knocking on your door, it is a lot easier to find the best clients by working with a music publisher.

Work With a Skilled Music Publisher

One of the most lucrative revenue streams for musicians is music publishing. Unfortunately, this income source is often misunderstood and underused. Think of it this way; you earn a unique set of intellectual property rights with each song or record you release. Therefore, it means that you are entitled to royalties each time someone uses your intellectual property. Some of the areas your songs may play include streaming sites, physical venues, and radio stations. Usually, these platforms must pay a yearly license that aids in the distribution of royalties.

For most music artists, the task of collecting royalties and managing them is both complicated and time-intensive. Here is where a music publisher comes in. Along with pitching music to sync deals, your music publisher will also collect other royalties owned to you by each radio play, live performance, stream, or download. The expert will have a vested interest in doing a great job to earn reasonable commissions.

Revenue Streams For Musicians Brand Partnerships

Another enticing revenue stream for music artists gaining traction as a prime source of income is a brand partnership. Again, while physical record sales bring more desirable monies at once, they require too much heavy lifting. Like sync deals, brand partnerships assure you of a nearly stress-free way of making a steady income. You could either endorse the existing services or products of a specific brand or work with it to create a new signature product or service line. For instance, you can have brand partnerships with a fashion clothing line, instrument manufacturer, or social media app developer.

So, how can music artists earn money from brand partnerships? Well, if you are just getting started in your career and yet to gain a sizable following, you may have to sit this one out. It is supposed to be a win-win agreement for both an artist and a brand. The brand you work with will want to take advantage of your popularity and gain more exposure or sales by posing in front of your already established audience.  With a significant number of social media fans and a solid presence online, you are likely to attract more than a few brand endorsement requests consistently.

Sell Band Merchandise Through Merch

Yet another income source that ranks high on the list of the best revenue streams for musicians is selling band merchandise in merch stores. This option can fatten your wallet without necessitating taking time off writing lyrics or performing your music. Even though fashion pieces are the top-selling merchandise on merch, you can feature a full range of products. For instance, you can sell branded tote bags, posters, bottle openers, or coasters at a marked-up price.

Here’s the deal, as a growing musician, you don’t have to stick to record sales to make a full-time income. Manufacturing band merchandise can be as cheap as $100. With time, you can scale up the product range by re-investing your profits and mixing low and high-priced items. Typically, fans are happy to spend fortunes, even on small things like branded bottle openers.  What’s more, each product you sell will essentially become a walking advertisement for your band.

Touring/Live Shows

Finally, at number 7 of our list of the best revenue streams for musicians are tours and live shows. We intentionally saved the best for last. Technically, the sale of live performance tickets stands as the top source of income for artists. Through a tiered system that features VVIP and VIP seats at added costs, there is an assurance of your expenses and profits breaking even by the end of a show.

It is of utmost importance to understand that enticing revenue from live performances doesn’t just happen. You want to choose an ideal venue and even invest a reasonable amount of money into sound-check attendance. The idea is to meet and greet your fans and prove to them you are the real deal. Setting up “killer” live performances can quickly boost other sources of revenue. It includes your sales on merch stores, your royalties on YouTube, and even your income from streaming platforms.

Best Marketing Strategies for Creating Solid Revenue Streams for Musicians 

It’s hard to talk about lucrative revenue streams for musicians without touching on how to make your presence known by your fans. I cannot emphasize enough the need to promote yourself effectively before trying out the above money-making options. Learning how to market your music is a fundamental skill in your career line to set you up for future success.

Here are 3 of the best strategies for increasing your exposure and expanding your revenue streams:

Know Your Fans and Find Out Where They Are

First and foremost, promotion efforts are not likely to bear fruit if you have no idea who and where your fans are. A music publisher or digital distribution company can be of help. Such experts use digital analytics to determine where their client’s audiences are based, their age, and the ideal marketing strategies to use.

The idea is to grow your fan base within the least time possible. As such, make sure you give your new fans just as much attention as your existing fans. Creating steady revenue streams for musicians is often an uphill task if you cannot sustain proper audience engagement across the board.

Don’t Forget To Work on Other Non-Musical Aspects of Your Career

If you are looking to leave your mark in the music industry, focusing solely on the musical aspects of your career is not enough. It is equally crucial to take advantage of revenue streams generated or propelled by non-musical content. For instance, you can use flyers, posters, and branded items to spread the word about your existence to your fans.

Today’s music industry is highly competitive. Even though the easiest way to grow a fan base is by creating great music, listeners need more than just music to convert into die-hard fans.

Revenue Streams For Musicians; Share Your Music with Playlists, Press Outlets, and Blogs

Finally, if you are a career-minded musician, you cannot dodge pitching your music. It’s not one of those sexy aspects of being an artist, although it will help you make fortunes from your singles and albums. Create an engaging artist bio or press release to introduce yourself to new fans. Your goal is to secure a slot in massive playlists and publications, build momentum in your music sales and engage new listeners.

Handling everything in person can be soul-crushing, especially if you have no idea where to begin. It is perfectly okay to depend on professionals to do the heavy lifting for you. For instance, many music distribution companies can pitch on your behalf and expose you to the world. In return, you only have to part with a small commission, a monthly or yearly fee. Sometimes, the easiest way to gain exposure and achieve impressive results is to hire someone to push your music to playlists, blogs, press outlets, and radio.

It’s Time to Make the Big Bucks!

There you have it, the top 7 revenue streams for musicians. In conclusion, you must understand that the days when record sales were the primary source of income in the music industry are long gone. Diversification may be an unpredictable and high-stakes game, but it’s the only way to make the big bucks. The options on our list will allow you to concentrate on your craft and make a full income without limiting your opportunities.