Ways to Make Money With Your Music Talents

When you’re starting out as a musician, the traditional routes of making money – selling your music and playing live – aren’t as profitable as they can be when you have built your audience. Things are even trickier now that selling music is hard for even established artists. As an up and coming artist, that means you need to find new ways to make money to fund your music career – and your life – as you work on progressing with your music. There’s nothing wrong with getting – or keeping – your day job, but there can come the point where day jobs get in the way of doing the things necessary to move forward with your music, such as touring. If you’re looking for ways to supplement your income outside of a traditional 9 to 5, give these ideas a try.

Teach Music

Mature male composer connecting laptop to keyboard instrument in music studio
Cultura RM Exclusive/Stefano Gilera/Cultura Exclusive/Getty Images

The ability to play music is a skill that is always in demand and teaching other people that skill can be profitable. You can build up a base of private students or teach music through a studio or music shop with lesson space. You can get your first few students by advertising online, in coffee shops, music shops, and other local businesses that allow people to put up flyers. After that, you can attract new customers through word of mouth. More

Do Sound

Where there is live music, there is a need for someone to run sound. Take the time to learn to run the soundboard, and you will quickly find yourself in demand. As a musician yourself, you’ll have special insight into how to make the show run as smooth as possible for the bands, which will make your skills eve more sought after. Running sound is a great way to not only make some money but also to build connections at venues that can help you get your shows. More

Do Session Work

Solo musicians often need backing players when they record and play live. Even full bands often need someone to come in and play a specialty instrument on a track or at a show sometimes. Fulfilling these roles can help you earn extra money – in some cases, the money can be significant, depending on the artist. It’s not always easy to break into sessions work, but developing relationships with a few musicians in town and backing them up is a good start. You can also reach out to studios and let them know about your availability, so they can recommend you to musicians who are recording there. Once you get a few jobs under your belt, you may be surprised how quickly you start receiving calls. More

Write About Music

If writing is your thing, combine your skills with your knowledge of music. Try doing freelance work for your local paper or any local music publications in your area. When you build up some clips from your work in local publications, you can pitch your work to bigger mags and papers. Online writing is another good way to build up clips, though keep in mind that many music blogs don’t pay or pay very little. More

Play Cover Shows

The decision to play cover shows isn't an easy one. Playing a few here and there to make some extra bucks isn't such a big deal, but if you begin to rely on them for your main source of income, you run the risk of getting typecast as a cover musician instead of someone trying to build a following with their original music. Although it is certainly a balancing act that you have judge very carefully, some well placed and well spaced out, cover shows can be extremely helpful when you're trying to make ends meet playing music. Additionally, the extra time spent on stage and contacts with venue owners don't hurt, either. More