Do you have skills in music composition, production, sound design or any other field within music/audio production?
Would you like to learn how you can make money from your skills and experience within music and audio?
But before we start, I would like to invite you personally to Join my Community for Composers here (100% Free). In this community you can ask questions, join discussions, and connect with 1000s of composers.
How to Make Money in Music
I have created a quick guide and reference for you, summing up some of the best ways to start earning money in music, grow your income streams, and eventually make a career out of your knowledge within the fields of music and audio.
1 – Release your Music
This is of course the most obvious and traditional way of making money from the work you do in music. To release your own tracks for people to listen to and enjoy. But I don’t recommend using a record label, since you can publish your music by yourself using what is called a “distribution service” that will then upload your album or single to 100s of music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music etc. I personally use and recommend DistroKid – click here to learn more.
2 – Create Custom Music
Since making money from releasing music is very very hard, because you need millions of streams per month. A much more lucrative way to make money from your music is to create custom music for any type of media production. Which means that you compose music to serve the need of another production. For example: Film Music, Game Music, Music for TV, Music for Advertisements, Jingles, Intro Music etc.
3 – License your Music
There will always be a huge demand for music for media productions that do not want (or can not afford) custom written music. They then go do what is called “Music Libraries”, that can have a catalogue of 1000s of tracks that those customers can search for and find suitable music for their production. It is often called “stock music”, because the music has already been written, and simply waits for customers to find a need for the track in their production. They then license the right to use the music in their production, and you can as a composer earn a commission (sync fee) for that license. There are music licensing companies going from the lowest tier that sell your music licenses for a very low price (for example: Audiojungle) all the way to the most exclusive libraries (for example: Extreme Music).
4 – Royalty Income
One of the first things you should do as a music composer with ambition to make an income from your music, is to join a performance rights organization (PRO) like for example BMI in the United States, or STIM (in my own country, Sweden). They will track every single use for every single music production that you publish so that you can earn performance royalties every time your music is used in broadcasts (TV, Radio etc.), and other public performances (even when you play your own music live).
5 – Produce Music
If you have great music production, mixing and/or mastering skills, why not use your experience to produce other artists’ music? Then you can charge a fixed fee, or an hourly rate, to for example make their track sound great by doing the final mix and production, and even mastering if you can.
6 – Live Performance
Performing your music live will always be a great way to make an income from your music, since people love the live aspect. And you can do anything from small venues like a local coffee shop or restaurant to a big concert.
7 – Live Streaming
Another type of “live” is to do live streaming online, on platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Facebook and many more. The great thing here is that there are no limits on what you do when going live. You can perform your music, showing behind the scenes, composing on stream, do Q&A with your fans, or simply hang out to connect with them. And you can get paid from donations, advertisements (if you have it set up on the live platform), and even selling and promoting any products you created.
8 – Audio Products
Music is only one type of audio product you can create and sell. There’s a whole range of other “audio products” you can sell. For example: sample packs, sample libraries, preset packs, and even audio effects. You can sell these types of products not only to music producers, but also on marketplaces for video producers, game developers etc. You can sell audio effects and sound packs to video producers on for example Pond 5 and Audiojungle. And if you want to sell directly to game developers, there are marketplaces like: Game Assets Marketplace, Unreal Engine Marketplace, and Unity Asset Store.
9 – Online Influence
If you can develop a strong following on any of the big social media platforms, you might have an opportunity to make an extra income from them. YouTube is the most obvious since you can potentially make money from their advertisement program. But don’t stop there. There are plenty of opportunities to make money if you have a big following on any other social media platform. For example: promote products that you can make an affiliate income from, charge companies for sponsored posts, or of course the best way is to promote and sell your own products to your social media followers.
10 – Online Education
If you both have good skills and knowledge in the field of music and audio, and also great communication and teaching skills, you can start teaching online. You can either do it with online courses that students can enroll in and take whenever they want. Or if you prefer, you can do online live classes. You can even do 1-to-1 teaching and consulting using a video conference platform like Skype or Zoom and charge for sessions. If you want to create online courses I can recommend starting with Udemy, which I use personally, and it is one of the biggest marketplaces for online education.