How To Set Up Multiple Income Streams As A Musician
When lock down happened in 2020, I (like so many others) had all my shows cancelled for the year. This forced me to pivot and find other ways to survive during this difficult time. It made me realize that most of my income was derived from a single source and that I needed to find ways to diversify.
I wanted to share with you a few different ways of making money as a musician that I have incorporated into my revenue stream. Feel free to experiment and see what works for you, and if you have any other ideas, please share them in the comments below.
Remote Recording Work
This was my main source of income during the pandemic and has continued to be a very important revenue stream for me. Recording equipment is so affordable these days and with very little money you can set yourself up with a decent home studio setup and start working.
I have been a member of Airgigs for many years and it’s a great place to connect with artists and songwriters who are looking to hire the right musician. It’s work you can either do from home, or if you have a portable set up you could even work from different locations.
Selling a Product
It’s always a good idea to have at least one passive source of income, so that when you’re not busy with in-person work your passive sources of income will pick up the slack. Passive income does require work up front, but once that work is done you can sit back and let the sales roll in. Examples of this might include creating an online course, sample packs, loops, beats, merchandise and many more.
Music for Film & TV
I know many people who make a living from their music being used in TV shows. There is a bit of a strategy involved in making this work, one of the key factors being volume of work; the bigger your catalog of songs, the more likely you are to make money from them. That combined with having an understanding of what elements your song needs into order to appeal to music supervisors. I have had my music used in multiple TV shows, so it can be done, but you do need to be disciplined about setting up a regular writing schedule and creating your catalog.
During lock down I started streaming a weekly show and 3 years later it’s still going. I honestly thought it would be something that might last a couple of months, but we have a wonderful community of people who attend every week and it’s a lot of fun. Unlike in-person shows, I can connect with a multitude of people in different locations all over the world. Also, I live stream from home, so I don’t have to travel anywhere and set up.
There are a few different ways to approach live streaming and I have written a post here on the Airgigs Blog all about how to get started.
I have a specific day every week that is allocated to teaching. This is a mixture of online and in-person lessons. I don’t advertise that I teach, but still have a full schedule. I simply reached out to my friends and followers via email and social media letting them know that I’m available for lessons. The great thing about teaching is you can offer lessons during the day and still play shows in the evening. Not only is it an easy way to make some extra money, it’s also extremely rewarding.
Many of my musician friends have non-music related side hustles that help pay the bills while giving them the freedom to continue their art. Some of these include dog or babysitting, web design, social media, proof reading and many more.
As with most endeavors, many of these ideas will take time to build up, so don’t get disheartened if they don’t take off right away. The best thing to do in the beginning is start small but think big. Be diligent and work towards creating a better future for yourself each day. Also know that it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s how we learn. If you know someone who is killing it in one or two of these categories, reach out to them and ask for their input. They may be able to offer you some valuable advice.