The music industry is a notoriously difficult place to make money as an artist, especially if your goal is to make an amount of money that can sustain your lifestyle. For most aspiring musicians, it’s slowly becoming a grim reality that their love for the art must be restrained to a mere side project, with only the luckiest and hardest working of the bunch being able to even call it a “side business”. This idea is probably perpetuated by the news that the middle class has been shrinking in recent years, essentially meaning it is sink or swim for most aspiring musicians.
However, with the rise of the gig economy, online democratization and monetization, and the rise of platforms like Patreon or stanclub, it is actually misleading to say that musicians can’t make a living from their passion, and in this article, we will look at 5 of the top ways to make money as a musician. Remember, it is probably best if you give all of these a go, instead of only one, as diversifying your streams of income is a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of you being able to call this a “job”.
Let’s start with the most common, and frankly, most lackluster of the group. Streaming took the world by storm from around 2013 but had been slowly growing in the years prior. In 2022, streaming accounts for an overwhelming majority of public music consumption, and is only growing as companies like Spotify, apple, and amazon all compete for market share in developing countries.
Though streaming is famous for its abysmally low payout rates, it is still a very valuable asset to have as a source of income. This is because Spotify is one of the best discovery engines for new artists to benefit from. Playlists have become a key part of any team’s marketing strategy when pushing a new release, and though you won’t make a substantial amount of money unless your song blows up, you can still benefit from the exposure. Not only this, if you are an independent artist trying to make money, you can actually make a very nice amount from streaming, assuming you don’t have a large team to share royalties with.
The live scene had been on an absolute tear during the latter half of the 2010s, and although that sadly came to a halt at the end of 2019/2020 for obvious reasons, the touring scene has been noticing a resurgence in recent months.
Touring has become the main way artists make money. Normally thanks to merch sales, as well as other streams such as sponsorships and physical sales at venues. It is a very holistic way to push your reach as an artist while also profiting from your overall brand and music.
The problem with the chokehold that touring has on the music industry’s overall income, is that it is very difficult for musicians to feel like they have a choice in this. What if you aren’t popular enough to launch a full tour? What if you don’t enjoy touring? What if there is another unfortunate event that makes touring impossible and cuts the income that musicians desperately need? Well, thankfully, touring isn’t the be-all and end-all of money making, and here at stanclub, we’re fully focusing on maximizing the opportunities to make money online. Let’s look at the three best ways, in my opinion, to make money online as an artist.
Oh yes, Youtube. One of the largest streaming platforms in the world that doesn’t pay its artist a single cent in royalties. So how can this be a viable way to make money? Surely it’s way worse than companies like Spotify, right?
No. Youtube is actually one of the greatest platforms for anyone, including musicians, to make a decent living from their passion. Unlike Spotify, Youtube actually pays a substantial amount of money per 1,000 views, which we can assume equate to 1,000 streams when it comes to music. Thanks to advertiser money, once your channel is monetized (which requires 1,000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch-time), you can actually make quite a lot of money from not that many views. Youtube’s CPM (cost per Mille) is around $1.46 within the music niche. From that money, youtube takes a 40% cut for your efforts, which cuts that number substantially, but that is still leagues above what any streaming service can pay you. So, yes, Youtube is an extremely good way to earn money from your music, even without accounting for affiliates, sponsors, brand deals, and memberships, all of which we can talk about at some point.
The new thing in town. Subscription-based services have taken the world by storm in the last half-decade, and for good reason. Sites like Patreon, only fans and now stanclub, have created the opportunity for creators of any kind to get a stable income from their most avid supporters. Stability in the creator economy is a blessing. You never know where your next paycheck is going to come from unless you have a platform like this working for you.
Stanclub is probably the best option for musicians, as the entire platform is dedicated solely to the service of music. We focus only on musicians and no other creators, and as we evolve and grow, only more and more features will come to help you make a career out of your music. Feel free to sign up now and start earning some predictable income every month, or even, every week.
Ah, sync licensing, the hidden gem of the music industry. With the rise of popularity of Netflix shows, on-demand streaming, movies, and other visual media, artists have the greatest opportunity in history to make money from syncing their music to visual projects in exchange for money. You don’t even need to be signed to a powerful label to do this. So every independent artist with a song that could be a great fit with some tv show, should go ahead and offer a license if they are willing and able. If you want a guide on how exactly to do this, don’t hesitate to ask.
Honorable mentions – Crypto
Crypto right now is an absolute wild west within the music industry, and there is enough content to warrant its own article. Here at stanclub we will make sure to inform you through articles and videos to let you know all we know about the space, however, in the current climate, it might be worth not going all-in on this stuff until some regulations and calm political climates crop up again.
Those are the 5 best ways to earn money as a musician within the music industry. There are plenty of other strategies, so the overall point of this article is to let you know you can make money from your craft, and it is in your best interest to diversify those streams of income as much as you can.
Make sure to sign up to stanclub today to start making money from your music.
Follow us on instagram
and follow my personal Instagram too: @iggyparis