Talk to any (marginally or otherwise) successful musician, and they’ll tell you they didn’t get into it for the money. Like any other art, the pursuit of the perfect tune is an artistic one, where the tapestry of beautiful lyrics and a melody you just can’t shake breed a beast way more than the sum of its parts. Of course, we’d all love to live our lives as bohemian rock stars, where the road is our home and our fans scream our name each night – but the truth of the matter is it’s probably not going to happen. So how do you make real money from music?
Truth is, it is possible. Like all careers, it takes dedication, time and a lot of hard work. So, if you find you jolt awake in the dead of night with your hands hugged around your guitar, deep in the dream you made music to pay the rent – we hear you. To this end, we’ve listed our top ways you can make money from music, because what’s better than monetizing your best skill?
Stock is an integral part of the gravy train
There’s a very easy way to make money from music that sits right under your nose. You know that music you hear on the news, documentaries, adverts and YouTube clips? Just like subtitles… it has to come from somewhere. Many professional musicians supplement their income in-between tours and album sessions this way. As the way we record and distribute music was revolutionised, so was the accessibility to create and sell stock music. It’s moved from a nice few professional providers out into a very real and accessible industry for all.
All you’ll need to get started is some basic recording equipment, your trusted instruments, and an ear to the pulse of stock music. Think this sounds too good to be true? Why not get some inspiration from these musicians? All who’ve managed to find their way to stock musician royalty.
Give me some credit
If a life of inoffensive indie guitar isn’t for you, then why not try your hand at writing songs for the big names? Many now-famous acts began their journey this way, and you follow in the footsteps of Prince, Lady Gaga and Charlie XCX.
But just how easy is it to break into songwriting?
The good news here is that there’s no one pathway to lyrical-god. The most famous songwriters you’ve never heard of all site different pathways; from the climb all the way up from studio engineer – to being swept up by record bosses at an age too young to be a pop-star, but not too young to produce. You’re most-likely to be approached by a record company with a songwriter contract if you’ve already taken the plunge into the write-record world, so don’t give up the hobby just yet.
Let’s get critical
Our final way to make money from music is also accessible to those who might struggle with an instrument. If you love music, why not try your hand at music reviews? Unlike other forms of journalism such as investigative or news, you don’t necessarily need an NTCJ qualification to break into this musical-field.
If you have a passion for music, a silver tongue, and the ability to turn around an album review in a few days – then you might find your home in the unique ranks of journalists that spent their youth as fresh-faced indie kids who, before Snapchat was a thing, sent direct messages to other indie kids they fancied about the Libertines on the internet.
These days, music journalism has changed. Gone are the days where newspapers would issue contracts and send specific individuals to every concert they could find. Nope, now you’ll find almost all music critic work is freelance. Which means, you need to pitch. Figure out exactly who and what you write about. It’s good idea to write a sample piece that you can send along with your pitch (it’s called writing “on spec”), or even to start a blog of your work. The more you can prove your knowledge and expertise, the more likely you are to win your bid.
Once that’s done, Google!
Find out who’s in charge of commissioning music reviews and email them. It’s a good idea to start small, with places that are less well-known, and build a house of credentials that glows as brightly as your love for the musical world. With a bit of hard work and lots of words, this is a viable way you can really make money from music.
Inspired to make money from music? Make sure you join Zimrii, the innovative music platform that allows you total control of your music business. Using Blockchain technology to register your Copyright and lock-down your ownership, Zimrii uses Smart Contracts and integrated crowdfunding features to help you connect with your audience and earn direct to artist – cutting away the outdated middleperson. It’s the twenty-first century music revolution!
Also published on Medium.