June 17, 2024
Do you want to make money as a musician? Check out this comprehensive guide to learn about various revenue streams and tips that you can use to build a sustainable career in the music industry.


If you’re a musician, you know that making a living in the music industry can be a challenging task. In this article, we’ll explore various revenue streams that musicians can tap into to make money. Whether you’re a veteran artist or just starting out, we hope this guide provides solutions to help you build a sustainable career in the music industry.

Selling Albums and Songs

Selling records and singles has been one of the primary revenue streams for musicians since the inception of the music industry. The recent shift towards digital music has made it easier than ever for artists to sell their music online. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music dominate the music industry, and it’s essential for musicians to have their music available on these platforms to maximize their profits. Merely being present on these services will not guarantee success. That said, there are some tips that you can follow to increase your chances of making money through selling albums and songs:

  • Create an engaging cover art, title, and artist name that stands out among millions of other options.
  • Use social media channels for music promotion
  • Run ads on social media to reach new listeners
  • Collaborate with other artists for cross-promotion purposes
  • Attend events, network with fellow musicians, and introduce your music


Selling merchandise can provide a steady stream of income for musicians. Towards this end, artists need to invest in creating quality merchandise that represents their brand. Here are some tips to make money through merchandising:

  • Invest in creating high-quality merchandise items, such as t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, or backpacks
  • Offer limited edition merch to incentivize fans to purchase
  • Sell merch at live events, and online stores like Amazon, Shopify, or Etsy
  • Encourage fans to share photos with your merch on social media
  • Collaborate with other artists or brands to increase your exposure and sales

Live Gigs

Live gigs remain one of the primary revenue streams for musicians. Venues such as music halls, bars, clubs, weddings, and festivals can offer great opportunities for musicians to make some money. To make a living from performing at live events, here are some tips:

  • Build a network of venues where you can perform regularly
  • Create a memorable live show experience for your fans
  • Advertise shows on social media and through word of mouth
  • Have an on-stage presence to attract new fans
  • Sell merchandise and have a tip jar available for fans to tip you in person

Streaming Services

In today’s digital age, streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal provide artists with an opportunity to reach millions of people globally. For artists to make money through streaming services, their music has to be available on these platforms. Have a look at some tips that can help you maximize your profits through streaming services:

  • Create a compelling artist profile to draw attention to yourself
  • Encourage fans to follow you on streaming services
  • Promote new releases with playlists curated by streaming services or your fans
  • Social media, advertising, and email marketing can all aid in attracting more streams
  • Collaborate with different artists to extend your network to new streaming platforms

Selling Licenses

Another way that musicians can make money is through licensing their music in various media, including movies, TV shows, commercials, and video games. Licensing music involves getting paid for the right to use your music for specific purposes. Keep in mind that licensing your music is not a sure path to success; you need to be patient and follow some crucial tips to ensure success:

  • Register your songs with a licensing agency like BMI or ASCAP
  • Create a portfolio of your music and distribute it to licensing agents
  • Price your music appropriately to increase your chances of getting picked up
  • Make sure your music fits with the media and target audience that the licensing agent is looking for
  • Understand the contract terms before signing any deal


Patreon provides a platform for fans to support their favorite musicians and receive exclusive access to their work. The platform offers musicians a chance to create a steady stream of income while building a robust community of supporters. Here are some tips to help you set up and maintain a successful Patreon account:

  • Create a content strategy that allows fans to engage meaningfully with you
  • Offer exclusive perks to your fans, such as behind-the-scenes updates, exclusive videos, or interactive Q&A sessions
  • Partner with other musicians and encourage fans to support each other
  • Use Patreon to create awareness for your tours, merch, and other revenue streams
  • Understand the fee structure and pricing policy before setting up your account.

Writing and Producing for Other Artists

Writing and producing songs for other artists can be a lucrative career path for musicians. The music industry is vast, and there are many opportunities for artists to earn royalties through songs written or produced for other musicians. Here are some tips for succeeding as a songwriter or producer:

  • Create a portfolio of your work showcasing your writing or production skills
  • Network with music industry professionals, including artists, producers, or managers
  • Participate in events such as music conferences, showcases, or songwriting camps
  • Continually improving your craft through continued learning and skill development
  • Keep up with industry trends and ensure that your music aligns with changing demands and preferences.


As we’ve seen in this guide, there are several ways that musicians can make money. No single pathway is guaranteed to work, and it takes hard work, dedication, and patience to succeed. To build a sustainable career in the music industry, artists need to explore multiple revenue streams, market themselves effectively, and keep up with trends in the industry.

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