New technology may have had a negative effect on traditional music sales, but it also opened up a ton of other potential revenue streams for musicians who are dedicated. Of course, the digital product options are endless, ranging from digital downloads, to streams, to digital sheet music and photos. You can also connect with millions of people through the internet by streaming live shows, filming daily video-logs, raising money via crowd funding, and even giving online lessons!
Dave Cool from CD Baby create a great list of 18 revenue streams available to musicians today. Of course there are a ton of other possibilities if you get creative with it! This is just a short excerpt of the list. You can check out all 18 revenue streams over on the CD Baby Blog!
1. CD Sales: If you’re going to be playing live shows, having CDs on hand is still a good idea. They make great takeaway souvenirs that can easily be signed by band members.
2. Vinyl Sales: Vinyl sales surged 30% in 2013. Again, if you’ll be playing live shows, printing a small batch to have at your merch table can help generate extra income.
3. Live Shows: Money made from live shows can vary greatly, but it’s still one of the best ways to earn income. Not only can you make money from selling tickets, but it’s also one of the best ways to sell merch. Be sure to read our blog series “The 4 P’s of Playing Live” to make sure you’re getting the most out of your gigs.
4. YouTube: On YouTube, whenever your music is used in videos that are running ads, YouTube pays a portion of that advertising money to the rights holders of the song. Digital distributors like TuneCore and CD Baby can help you collect that money, as well as Audiam.
5. Sponsorships: If you’ve built up a fan base, some companies are willing to sponsor musicians to reach those fans. Sponsorships can range from cash, to free products, services, and gear. Read this excellent guest post from Dave Huffman about sponsorships: Musicians: How to Get Sponsored
6. Session Work: Another way to make some extra money is to put yourself out there as a session musician. As a singer or instrumentalist, you could do session work for other musical projects, or even in advertising.
7. Cover Gigs: Playing cover gigs at bars, restaurants, weddings and other private events is frowned upon by some musicians. But those shows can pay really well, and allow you to get paid to play your instrument. There’s no shame in that.