Today, there are more ways than ever before for musicians to take control of their work and make money from it without the need for studio bosses, record labels, and the like to act as middlemen.
From making the most of merchandising opportunities to live streaming to selling NFTs, the sky is the limit right now in terms of the potential of bands and solo artists to monetize their output and secure investment if they’re new on the scene.
Sell Royalty-Free Music
Musicians can make money by selling their work as royalty-free music, which can be used by people who want to find music for their promotional videos, for example, or an online advertisement.
This is usually done by signing up to a platform specializing in the selling of royalty-free music; when your track is bought, you’ll receive a percentage of the sale price from the platform.
This can be an easy, passive way to make money from a track that you’ve written, especially for the royalty-free market, that has the potential to continue to generate revenue for years to come.
Create and Sell NFT
The term music NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token and relates to a digitalized, unique item. In contrast to their Fungible cousins, NFTs can’t be exchanged for an item of the same value – each token is totally unique.
They are an effective way to establish or confirm ownership, too: NFTs are underpinned by blockchain technology, and as such, they provide rock-solid proof of this ownership.
An NFT could be the one-off digital version of an album, alternative album artwork, or an unreleased track; they can also relate to experiences, such as a backstage pass at a certain concert.
Many artists like NFTs because they represent a way to connect directly with their fans; this can lead to some important symbiotic relationships.
For example, a fan could invest in the new band they love by buying an NFT – as well as injecting funds into the band; this NFT could be a very lucrative investment if the act makes it big. All parties win!
Use Dropshipping to Sell Merchandise
Selling merchandise isn’t just a great way for bands and solo artists to make money from the actual items up for sale but an important way to boost music sales. Dropshipping can be a good way for small or newly emerging musicians to cash in.
This method of selling means that the operation is undertaken by a third-party company that specializes in this model; the band or artist doesn’t need to keep the product or stock or even handle it directly, as this is all taken care of by the dropshipping company.
And if you need any more convincing? Today, up to 35% of a band’s generated revenue is via sales of merchandise.
Get on a Streaming Platform
It’s a great idea for musicians to get their tracks on a popular streaming platform to make money from their work, as well as to help get them noticed.
Streaming is becoming one of the main ways that people discover new music, so making sure the music is there to be discovered in the first place is crucial!
While musicians will only receive a tiny amount of money per stream, this can quickly add up – especially if your track suddenly surges in popularity.
Make the Most of Live Streaming
Musicians can also use live streaming to sell their work – plus, it allows them to play to audiences worldwide. Bands and solo artists can use live stream shows to raise money through the sales of tickets and by using online tip jars.
To get an idea of just how lucrative live streaming can be, in the first six months of the pandemic, the platform Bandzoogle generated around $400,000 from these events.
Getting a track or a selection of music featured in a film, TV show, or advertisement means that musicians will likely be entitled to receive a licensing fee.
These fees can vary a great deal, and you’ll need to ensure that, legally, you fully understand the details of any licensing agreement before signing a contract.
Making the most of Youtube to sell music can be a very lucrative idea indeed. As well as using the platform to grow an audience, if an artist’s music is used in any video that runs ads, Youtube pays some of the advertising revenue generated to the rights holder of the track.
Some bands use the services of a digital distributor to help them ensure they’re collecting all the money they’re entitled to, and to capitalize, where possible, on this market.
Back to Basics
And it’s not just through innovative new means and methods that musicians can sell their work. There’s a big market for vinyl now, and pressing a small run of records can create a valuable artifact that fans will want to own while potentially bringing in some substantial funds.
Live performances, session work, and publishing royalties are all ‘traditional’ methods that remain an effective way for musicians to get their creations out into the world while making money.