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How to Make Money As a Musician

Updated on September 10, 2009

How to Make Money As a Musician

How to Make Money As a Musician

You have been a musician for a really long time.  You figure if Elton John can make tons of money doing what he does, so can I!  You say this with your hands on your hips, in a stance of confidence.  Sorry, no one is watching you.  Nonetheless, you are right though, if you are a musician you should be making loads of money.  But how the hell are you going to make those garbage bags full of money?  I guess it is time that you learn a little something about being a working musician.  This is the only way you will even see a dime with your talent.

Here is a list of ways to make money as a musician:

Go out on the street and start busking.  Busking is another word of street performance.  Basically, you will take whatever instrument you have with you on the corner of the road and start playing your heart out.  If you are lucky, you should rake in a couple of bucks.  I have personal made $50 in one hour one time.  I also have been slapped with a huge ticket by an officer for playing on private property.  Learn more about it and this could be a profitable venture for you.

Produce other people's songs.  Some people cannot create their own songs even if it was as simple as buttering bread--if you have trouble with this, go seek help.  If you have the skills that create songs, those other people will pay for your service.  Make sure you have a killer resume to support the claim that you know what you are doing with songs.  This should include past work.  Also, figure out how to write up a producers agreement.  This will ensure that you will get the %20 that you deserve after you have help people write songs.

Create Beats.  There are many artist that cannot or refuse to make beats.  If you can make beats, those artist will be in the market for your service.  Beat can cost anywhere from $1 - $100 depending on your reputation.  Make sure you have a catalog for potential buyers to sort through.

Play gigs.  If you can play an instrument and have a bunch of songs that are ready to be performed, start gigging.  Look up promoters in your area that are willing to help out acts like you.  Send them a sample of your songs and tell them how many people you can draw.  This information will determine how much money you will get in the end.  Read up about 80/20 splits.  Also, if you have an album, the gig is the perfect place to sell it.

Be a studio musician.  If you play any instrument becoming a studio musician might be right for you.  There people that cannot play, lets say, a guitar and will need to have one on a certain track.  Well, this is where you step in.  You provide them with the guitar, they provide you with the money.

Get songs in movies and television.  Have songs that are already written and recorded?  Well, send them out to publishers.  There should be a list somewhere on the Internet.  Nonetheless, publishers try and sell your songs to television, radio, and movie people.  If you are a lucky and one of your songs land a spot in a move, you can be looking at around 6 figures.

Well these were ideas on how to make money as a musician.  It can be rough at the start, but you will eventually pull through and see the real bread. Do not give up on your music and yourself because the only person that want to see you make it in the music industry is you--and me, but mostly you.  Good luck and I hope you make mucho dinero.


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