A list of things to help you make money in the music industry

Touring as an artist is just one way, but there are also many other ways that you might not think of. Here are various suggestions on how you can make money in the music industry, listed in no particular order. We update the list regularly.


1. Create audio demos for plugin companies

Plugin developers are often not the best musicians, and they may not always keep up with genre developments. That’s why they are willing to pay for your help in creating professional audio demos. Send emails and/or reach out to plugin companies that you are familiar with and that you own one or more plugins from.


2. Translate tutorials and user manuals

You can make money in the music industry by translating tutorials and user manuals. This is perfect for those who are fluent in multiple languages, but keep in mind that you need to be familiar with all the technical terms. Plus, you’ll learn along the way!


3. Royalties

Get money in the form of royalties from your streams on platforms like Spotify. If you also handle the distribution yourself, you’ll earn more.


4. Work as a voice-over artist

All you need is a microphone, an acoustically treated room, and knowledge of how to record and process the recording. You can also work as a narrator for audiobooks, but keep in mind that it involves many hours of work per book. Contact various production companies that publish audiobooks, inquire with companies that have unprofessional voice-overs in their marketing, and don’t forget to create a website (or similar) where you can write about yourself, the services you offer, and how others can contact you.


5. YouTube marketing

If you allow YouTube to run ads on your videos, you get paid every time someone watches them. However, keep in mind that this generates 10-100% less income compared to organizing your own events through sponsors. This is based on having at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.


6. Sell custom user manuals for plugins

Another strategy to make money in the music industry is to sell custom user manuals for plugins. Write better user manuals for plugins and sell them to developers. Many companies have very poorly written materials.


7. Create content for companies

Create something that can be used to promote a company’s products. A great way to make money is by helping someone else make money. It can be images, sounds, and texts. Be creative and email a proposal to a company to see if they’re interested.


8. Create tutorials using existing materials

Create tutorials in one medium, such as podcasts or videos, based on a source from another medium. For example, Ableton’s user manuals cover almost everything and are extremely well-written. It would be relatively easy to transform them into audio or video formats.


9. Influencer/Affiliate

“Become” an influencer and showcase music products to your audience. A good rule is to always present the sponsor in a positive light, but only recommend the product if you genuinely believe it is good. This is based on having a stable following on one or more social media platforms. If someone sells something through your website/platform, you receive a certain percentage of the sales cost. Amazon has an affiliate system, as do companies that sell digital products like Loot Masters and Splice.


10. Work in sound design for video games, film, or TV

Find smaller game developers, film directors, or TV stations and listen to their music/sound design. Is there anything you can contribute? Create an example and send it to them along with a proposal outlining what your service could look like.


11. Create custom music for vloggers and YouTubers

They don’t want to use the same royalty-free music as everyone else. Aim for the biggest channels because they can pay you well. Alternatively, start with smaller/mid-sized channels and work your way up!


12. Sell your samples and unfinished tracks

If you have a hard drive full of self-made samples or unfinished tracks but don’t want to turn them into a sample pack yourself, check if any sound designers or sample pack companies are interested in buying them from you. It’s their job to turn such things into marketable products.


13. Film a tour

Go on tour with a successful artist and film or “vlog” their life. Artist Sav from FIGHT CLVB achieved his breakthrough by offering to travel and film Skrillex on tour. It never hurts to ask. Send inquiries to both big and small artists/bands and see what responses you get.


14. Perform live

If your name sells tickets, you can practically live off one gig per week (if you live fairly frugally), but not all artists have that privilege. However, you receive compensation from organizations like STIM when performing your own songs live (if you remember to register the performances!), even if it’s an open mic or another type of free concert. You can also sell merchandise or ask for “tips” via mobile payment during your performances, but be careful not to be too pushy – it can have the opposite effect.


15. Coach others

Another way to make money in the music industry is by coaching individuals using tools like Skype or Zoom. You only need to know a little more than the person you’re teaching. Consider what you could contribute and formulate it as a service/product that you can sell through your social media or website.


16. Get a regular job in the music industry

If you work as a freelancer on something that doesn’t prove to be profitable, you won’t get paid. The risk is significantly reduced if you are employed by a company like Ableton, for example. Alternatively, consider working in a music store, where you’re surrounded by musicians and instruments all day.


17. Patreon

Patreon is a great community and for many, it’s a significant source of income. Here, your followers/listeners/fans can give you a small amount of money each month in exchange for something – you get to choose what. It can be exclusive online performances that only Patreon backers can access, or behind-the-scenes photos and videos during recordings that you only publish there. Look at how other artists have done it and learn from them. Be creative!


18. Organize an event for artists and creators

Imagine a “meet and greet” workshop for artists (or other creative individuals related to the music industry). It’s a great day for everyone involved, and you also have the opportunity to make valuable connections.


Good luck with your music career!

We hope this guide was helpful for those who want to make money in the music industry. If you have more questions, feel free to contact us! You can also read more about optimizing your Spotify profile.


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