5 Ways To Monetize Your Music

With streaming becoming the main way people release and consume music, the ability to make money from your recorded music can seem like a pipedream. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been helping some artists find ways to market their music and generate income. Throughout the process I’ve found some different ways artists can generate an income from their recorded music outside of streaming. In this article I’ll cover what I’ve found.

This is a guest post by top rated AirGigs Pro Luke O’Kelley

Why Not Just Streaming?

You might ask: “What’s wrong with streaming? Can’t artists make $.003 – $.005 a stream on platforms like Spotify?” While this is true, earning a significant amount of money from streaming alone is a steep hill to climb.

It takes about 65,000 (real) streams to earn $250. For most people living in the U.S., you would need somewhere around 260,000 real streams a week for an independent artist to make a live-able income (without factoring in the cost to make and promote the music).

While there is talk of streaming platforms upping their payouts to artists, there’s no guarantee that this will happen. In an industry as turbulent as the music industry, it’s important for artists to have multiple sources of income in case one of them disappears. So, without further ado, here’s some ways that you can earn money from your music outside of streaming:

1) Crowdfunding

I know lots of musicians that have a hard time buying into crowdfunding. You might roll your eyes and think some version of: “I don’t want to depend on donations in order to make a living.” In reality, I think Crowdfunding is a much more legitimate way of earning money from your music than simply trying to make people feel sorry for you.

Raising funding is a common practice outside of music for: tech startups, non-profits, and causes. Crowdfunding is asking your supporters and fans to buy into your music before you foot the bill to create it. I think it’s helpful to think of it as a preorder. People have used crowdfunding to bring physical manufactured products to market, create board games, and much more. You can offer rewards to supporters, and take them on a journey as you create your musical project. If you do offer rewards, it’s important that you only offer rewards that you can deliver on and aren’t going to use up all the money you raised on your crowdfunding campaign.

I know some musicians don’t offer any rewards other than the album project they are fundraising for.

There are lots of crowdfunding options out there, each with their own strengths and focuses. Here are some of the big ones:

2) Patronage

Patronage is similar to crowdfunding, but instead of people making a one time investment in a project, patronage entails people committing to pay a certain amount per month to support an artist. Similar to crowdfunding, you can offer perks to supporters like discounted merch, unreleased tracks, or anything else you can think of to sweeten the pot.

Here are some popular and up and coming patronage options:

3) Music Stores

While streaming is the norm, there are a lot of musicians reverting to selling their music as physical products (vinyl, CDs, tapes, download cards), and digital downloads. While streaming positioned itself as the answer to pirating, fake streaming and botted playlists have proven to be a huge problem for streaming companies and artists alike.

Selling your music as a product is a great way to increase the amount of money you’re able to earn from it.

Here are some places where you can sell your music as a download:

4) Your website

While there’s a vocal group of people in the music industry that say websites for artists and bands are pointless, your website is the only piece of online real estate that you control. While it can take creativity, hard work, and time to create a website that is profitable, if you are able to drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into paying fans, a website can be the hub for your music career, and be much more sustainable than piecing together income from a variety of different platforms and apps.

Bandzoogle is a great musician friendly website builder that has a built in patronage tool and music store. Unlike most other platforms, Bandzoogle also doesn’t take any percentage of your earnings from music sales, or patrons.

In addition to music, you can sell courses, merch, lessons, and more.

5) Sync Licensing Libraries

Sync licensing is a great opportunity for bands, producers/composers, and artists to earn more money from their music. Any youtube video, movie, TV show, or ad that wants music in it has to pay for the rights to use that music. Music libraries are websites that musicians can submit their music to, in order for content creators, ad agencies, and film producers to browse and pay to license.

I know artists and producers that make respectable full time incomes from sync licensing alone.

Here are some great sync licensing websites:

  • Artlist – Artlist is highly respected as offering high quality, curated music for content creators and film makers. You can submit your music to be a part of their library on their website.
  • Musicbed – Musicbed is one of the more exclusive independent libraries you can be a part of. In order to apply, you have to be invited by someone that is already a part of Musicbed.
  • Motion Array – owned by Artlist. Motion Array is less exclusive than Artlist and Musicbed.


Earning a living from music takes creativity, hard work, and an open mind that’s always willing to learn and pivot. At the end of the day, there’s always new ways to monetize your music and skills as a musician. Did we miss anything that you think we should add to this list?

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