Make Money From Home as a Musician

Selling Beats Online ($100-$1000+ a month.)

Selling beats online is probably the fastest way to start making money from music. Platforms like BeatStars and Airbit exist to help producers run their beat selling business by facilitating payments and file delivery. That means there’s no upfront costs (like building a website) to start selling beats online. So what are you waiting for?

  • No need for a team to get started (Manager, agent, etc..).
  • Option to sell your music under both an Exclusive and Non-Exclusive license. A track with a non-exclusive license can be sold to an unlimited number of artists, generating tons of revenue, while an exclusive license can only be sold to one entity. Exclusive licenses are usually sold for a much higher price and are often negotiated directly between the seller and the buyer.
  • Most online beat stores pay out the artist immediately after a sale. No need to wait on royalties to see money in your bank account.
  • “The beat selling industry generates at least $30M a year. If you can get 0.1% of that, you’ll be able to make $30,000 a year.” Source: Urban Masterclass

Production Music Libraries ($250-Unlimited)

In short, Production Music Libraries are giving the rights to companies or individuals to use your music in their projects (TV Shows, Films, Advertising, etc.) in return for compensation. If you’re just starting out in the music industry and have a smaller network, getting your music in a production music library is a great first step.

  • Production Music Libraries add stability to the working creator. The downside is it takes a while to see residuals, but the upside is they often last for many years at a time. Some publishers will buy your music outright, providing upfront fees and writer’s share of royalties. Others have an even split and pay little to nothing up front but with more potential on the backend. Here is a list of libraries to begin your research.
  • The goal of music libraries is to license your tracks to potential customers like ad agencies, TV shows, indie filmmakers, etc. They don’t care if you have a huge following or not. If the song is good, they will do everything they can to get it licensed.
  • The more tracks you have in a library to more likely your tracks will get placed and increase your revenue. If you need a tool to help you get produce tracks quickly, check out ARCADE. It comes with a free 30-day trial.
  • With so many different music libraries out there, it is important to pick the best one for you. A few things to look for when picking a library is the kind of licensing that they require (Exclusive vs. Non-exclusive), how much money they keep from each sale, and if their past placements match your style of productions.

Sync Catalog ($250-Unlimited)

Sync Catalogs place existing music in film, tv and radio. Typically, they don’t take ownership and the deal is negotiated on a term basis. Since they aren’t taking ownership, there is usually no upfront money or production budgets. For this, try Chop Shop, Riptide Music, Pump Audio.

  • The best way to get accepted in a sync catalog is to send a short intro email with a one-paragraph bio/credit list and link to your best 3 tracks. The production on these tracks has to be really good – they’re not looking for writing abilities, but rather the quality of the final product. Contact info for sync catalogs is usually available on their websites.
  • If you write music that belongs in trailers, there are also companies that specialize in that. Check out the In a Wolrd Line in ARCADE to write trailer music quickly. Some examples of trailer houses include Glory Oath and Blood, Twelve Titans, Immediate Music, Confidential Music, Pusher. ($5-$1,000 a month)

Fiverr is an online marketplace that lets producers, singers, mixing engineers, and other music industry folks sell their services online.

  • There is no fee to sign up as a seller, but they will take 20% out of every sale you generate.
  • Fiverr has a huge existing customer base so freelancers have plenty of potential buyers right when they sign up, but getting a high rating is key.
  • A good way to get started on Fiverr is to charge less for your first few gigs in order to quickly build your reputation. Once you pass that point, Fiverr will start recommending you to more and more potential customers and you will be able to charge a lot more for your services.

Distribute your Music on Streaming Services (1 million plays = $4,000)

Getting your music on streaming platforms makes you available to your fans wherever they listen to music. Obviously the royalties may take a while to add up; a million plays on Spotify may only bring back around $4,000 but with over 250 million monthly active users, there is a real opportunity to make a lot more.

  • The best way to start seeing significant money come in from streaming services is to pitch your music to music blogs and user curated playlists. From there, the algorithms of the platforms will start noticing that your tracks are gaining traction and will automatically begin adding them to their Official Playlist.
  • The new Spotify submission tool that allows users to submit unreleased music directly to their editorial team for official playlist consideration is a game changer. This feature is only available for unreleased music, so plan ahead to have your tracks ready before your release date!
  • If you’ve never submitted music to a streaming platform before, check out this article to pick the best distribution platform for you.

Patreon ($5+ per subscriber)

Patreon is one of the best ways for musicians to build a steady monthly revenue source while building a stronger connection with fans.

  • Musicians can start a Patreon page based around educational music videos, synth presets, music theory, royalty-free samples—the opportunities are endless.
  • Patrons are more likely to pledge along benefit tiers, so make sure that you offer a few different tiers to cater to a wide audience. If you’re wondering what could make great rewards for your fans, check out this link: The Top 10 Rewards Patreon Musicians Offer Their Fans
  • If you are interested in starting a Patreon page, we definitely recommend checking out Reverb Machine’s page. It’s a great example of how you can take your favorite part of the music production process and build a very profitable side gig. And before you get started, here’s a great resource that the Patreon team put together for Indie Musicians.

Bandcamp ($10-$1,000+ a month)

Bandcamp is a lot more than an online marketplace where you can sell your music and merch. It’s a vast community of music fans that understand how important it is to support artists directly. With their great recommendation system and daily selections, it is a great way to capture new fans and drive a huge number of sales. Beginning Friday, March 20th, Bandcamp is waiving their revenue share on sales to raise even more awareness around the current COVID-19 pandemic and put much needed money directly into artists’ pockets.

  • Charge whatever price for your music you choose, and change it whenever you like.
  • Get access to real-time statistics to have a better understanding of your fanbase and help guide your next move.
  • The music that you upload on Bandcamp comes with a clean player that gives you, your fans and the press efficient and customizable music players to embed across the web and display your music in style.
  • Bandcamp let’s you sell your digital music, CDs, Vinyls, posters, tickets, merch… you name it.

Merch ($50-$1,000+ a month)

If you can’t make money selling tickets to a show, why not try merch? Everyone needs a hoodie to cozy up in during this time spent at home. Here are some drop ship companies we recommend so you don’t have to sink tons of money into inventory.

  • Notion – a woman-owned business that ships worldwide with no minimum quantities.
  • Printful – on-demand shipping with more than just your typical merch items to choose from. Fanny pack, anyone?
  • Custom Cat – tons of merch options, a few different ways to print, plus embroidery if that’s your jam.
  • If you’re already selling music on Bandcamp (see above) you can easily integrate merch into your page.
  • If setting up a Shopify account isn’t in your future, you can just as easily promote new merch through your existing channels by ordering a sample for yourself, taking a few quick snaps and promoting on social media.