The current Covid-19 crisis has created unprecedented circumstances affecting all of our lives dramatically. But has it stopped those in the music industry being able to earn a living?
Self-isolation and social distancing do not stand in the way of you progressing your career and creating income. Musicians can make money with music from home and without leaving the house.
It’s often during times of challenge that creativity and the arts bring forth increased innovation. Read on to find out how you can continue to find lucrative revenue streams from the comfort of your bedroom, kitchen table or living room.
How musicians can make money with music from home
Right now, more people are at home listening to music, than ever in the history of time. This enormous audience is a huge opportunity for musicians everywhere. And the harder the times, the more the general public seek out all kinds of music. Not only that but label executives and A&R (artists and repertoire) have much more time on their hands to spend scouting for talent online. This means your chances of being spotted online are higher than usual. Be sure to have a great digital presence and top tracks.
Digital platforms have made music more and more accessible to people all over the globe, at the touch of the button. And most successful artists – including the likes of:
Now launch their careers via streaming platforms, rather than with the initial help of record labels.
In this article, we’ll uncover some of the specific ways you can make money from home. This applies to those who play instruments, sing and especially to those who write and create their own music.
How do musicians make a living?
Music may not be something you instantly think of when considering work from home occupations. But it is increasingly possible, with only a couple of avenues of performing made difficult (but not impossible) by staying home alone.
These are the main ways in which musicians make money.
- Paid downloads of their music on streaming sites
- Hard copies of merchandise, albums and EPs
- Writing and composing for others – including toplines, beats and full tracks
- Music sync deals
- Teaching music or vocal coaching
- Studio recording
- Playing and singing at live gigs
- Accompanying at live gigs
The first four options are every bit as easy to do at home, by yourself, as they are among others. The fifth can be carried out via Skype, while the sixth is made possible by building your own home studio, something that’s in reach for almost everyone with even a small amount of space to spare.
Or you may be able to find a public studio in which you can adhere to public distancing (as producers sit in a separate room to recording artists, and parts are usually laid down individually, this is perfectly possible).
How do musicians make money without touring?
The last three options on our list are tricky but with live streaming, not impossible. Of course, to tour you do have to leave the house. Yet you can still reach people far and wide by setting up online concerts and even offer bespoke ones for a specific listener. Do make sure you have a Skype and YouTube account, as well as the ability to video call and go live on Facebook.
The Global Citizen and World Health Organisation have launched Together at Home (#togetherathome), a virtual concert series, attracting events from stars like Chris Martin. This may not pay, but it can help develop a fanbase who will pay for downloads and merch. Sites that do offer paid opportunities for performance, singing and concerts include:
- Only Fans
- Singsnap (karaoke competitions)
- Huggybobo (singing for kids)
- Fiverr (sell your wares online, including live performances tailored to the recipient)
Some of these can also be used to launch your own music masterclasses, workshops, vlogs and interviews.
If you’re a lyricist, you can make cash from your words. Take a look at these sites for wordsmiths. You may also like to collaborate with someone else who writes songs, virtually.
How musicians can make money without leaving the house
If you can’t leave the house, it may be a blessing in disguise. You may uncover a new talent and revenue stream that changes the course of your career as a musician. Now is a good time to think about your skillset and identify the ways you can adapt or increase productivity. You should also lookout for opportunities that may open up in response to what is happening around us. Follow platforms and relevant brands on social media and sign up to mailings to find out their latest news.
Last week digital music site Bandcamp last announced a freeze on sales fees to support artists. There are likely to be more deals and offers like this to come, so keep your ear to the ground and take advantage of these wherever possible. Bandcamp also offers listeners the chance to pay for content, another great way for musicians to earn.
And it’s a good place to sell your merch. Unlike many digital platforms, it operates with both streaming services and actual stuff people can buy. This means you can pocket from all sorts of items like T-shirts, bags, CDs, badges and more. To maximise your merch, think about unique or useful products you can sell. Make them interesting and artistic enough and you might even gather some customers from beyond your musical fanbase.
How can I work from home as a musician?
If you have a grounding in music, then there’s every chance you can write. This is something that can not only be done at home but may well be better done at home, in peace and solitude. You don’t have to write your own full tracks. Ask yourself which element you excel at best – is it the melody, the backing, the beats, or the lyrics?
Many solo artists and writers seek out great beats and toplines in particular. And as big names are spending time at home just now, you can be sure they’ll be scouring the net for hot new talent. There are dedicated sites for selling your beats and places you can submit your toplines for consideration.
Make money with music online by syncing
You may be able to make a stack of money without even creating anything new. If you’ve already written some tunes, then why not try and make some extra cash with them? Music syncing is where part of your track, or phrases are used alongside a video. This may be on YouTube, TV or a film. And one of these deals can pay handsomely. Often gigging musicians and songwriters just don’t have the time to hunt out sync opportunities – a spell at home away from live music venues can be the perfect time to look into it. \
See if you can get accepted into a sync catalogue by submitting a few tracks and some details about yourself. You can find out more about the legalities of this, how it works and where to get your music synced, by reading this informative article.
Similarly, you can add your tracks to a production music library. This isn’t quite the same as syncing, in that it may be used as background, or in ways that aren’t specifically synced to the moving image. Publishers will buy your music outright, providing upfront fees and writer’s share of royalties.
How do you start making money with music?
If you’re just starting out in the industry, or have been sent home from music college, for the time being, you may be wondering what to do with your time. It’s never too soon or too late to begin recording and writing in the ways we’ve described. But also, this is a brilliant time to get your social media campaigns fired up.
People are keen for positive, fun, distracting and inspiring content, so get some out there. You can use sites like Hootsuite to not only keep on top of current posts, but programme well ahead, so when you do get back to your live venue gigs, you’ll have a load of work already done. Your social media might not bring in cash directly, but it is your public relations, publicity and marketing machine – and it’s these activities that let people know about your work, so they can buy it ands pay you for it.
You can also make money for others using your skills. If you’d like to raise some cash for charity, why not set up a Facebook live with a donation button. Perhaps take requests and ask for a £1 per song.
Sell beats online
This is a fantastic way to make money relatively fast. You don’t need to build your own website or plug away to get noticed. You simply make your beats available to those who want them. And you don’t have to wait for royalties to roll in. Most payment is instant, once someone picks up your beats. Take a look at Beatstars and Airbit. As always there’s competition though, but plenty of demand too.
Do musicians make money from streaming?
Absolutely. But you have to hit an awful lot of streams to make a substantial amount of money. Most streaming sites payout based on their own revenue. They calculate profit, minus all outgoings and divide this up among artists, based on the number of streams they’ve received that year. The more famous sites tend to pay less per stream, but you’re likely to land more streams by being with a bigger site. So you may need to do some research on the best one for you and your genre.
If you’re stuck at home for whatever reason, don’t despair. There are lots of ways you can increase your income and further your career. And if you’re a solo artist, working alone may be something you’ll enjoy anyway. But if you’re used to being around others, immersing yourself in your music is a great way to pass the time and become an even better musician in the process.
And don’t forget to practise and experiment too. In the end, it’s great quality, exciting music that’ll make you the most money. Spend your time at home becoming the very best musician you can be.
- How do independent music artists make money?
You don’t need to be affiliated to a label to be successful. Record your own tracks, albums and EPs either at home, at a studio, or a mix of the two and upload them to streaming sites for download. You can also collaborate with others and put on your own ticketed gigs and events.
- How much money do musicians make?
According to the job site Indeed, the average salary for a musician is £23,656 per year. But this is a median figure taking into account part-timers, as well as the very high earners. Work harder and work smarter to earn a good living. There are also plenty of other jobs you can do to supplement and support your income.
- Do musicians make less money now?
No, not at all. The opportunities are endless and the music industry is hugely lucrative for those who rise to the top. Some areas of the industry may go through ups and downs, so stay ahead of the trends and seek out ways to make your skills commercial and employable.
How do you make money from home? Are you a musician creating an income without leaving the house? Tell us about your recent experiences in the comments below.