How Can Artists Earn More Money?

3 strategies for making more money from your music. 

Throughout time there has been a stigma that artists are rich. You’ve seen the lavish lifestyle of living in mansions and driving Ferraris; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Most musicians and artists are actually earning less than the average living wage and, in many cases, they are not earning enough to support themselves solely though their music career.  

The average living wage in America, for a household of two working adults and two children, is $66,842 (£51,758) yet the average personal income of musicians, from a range of genres and backgrounds, is $55,561 (£43,022) leaving a $11,281 (£8735) gap. This is simply not acceptable for those wish to have a full-time career in music.  

So, here’s 3 strategies, for musicians, bands and artists, to earn more money and as a result, create a full-time career out of your music. 

  1. Research more revenue streams 

There are many revenue streams for artists to earn money from. Some of them are more basic and easier to understand, such as: getting paid for performing gigs, selling merchandise and selling physical singles and albums, whether that be in the form of CD’s, vinyl’s or cassettes.  

However, there is literally a wealth of alternative opportunities for artists to earn money through. This often requires additional research and some business knowledge. Unfortunately, most artists are not being taught these skills and this is exactly why they could be missing out.  

This includes things such as: Copyright, learning how to copyright your music and when your music is being infringed upon could save you time and money in the future. Licensing and royalties, if your music is being played on the radio, in a public place or even on TV, films and video games – you are owed royalties. However, many artists do not sign up to a royalty collection service (such as PRS) and therefore lose out on a hefty amount of income. 

As well as this, if you are a producer or composer, you can also sell your beats to other artists or lyricists who are looking for backing tracks for their lyrics. 

Once you have become more established you may even be able to break into new revenue streams such as: sponsorships, endorsements and an increasingly profitable area, teaching.  

On top of this, there are many more revenue streams to be explored and every artist will have different forms of revenue streams, depending on how they conduct their business and what their talents lie in. For example: a music composer may generate revenue from licensing their music to TV, films and video games. Whereas a band may generate income through merchandise and paid gigs.  

Above all, it is important to learn about these revenue streams and to sufficiently research which ones can apply to you and your music. 

  1. Increase your self-worth 

It comes as no surprise that there is a mental health and confidence issue in the creative arts, especially in the music industry. However, a recent study from Forbes, and an academic paper written by Francesco Drago, suggests that there is a direct correlation between self-confidence and wealth generation.  

To put it simply, the more confident in yourself you are, the more money you could potentially earn. This is because if you truly believe in yourself, nothing will stop you from achieving your goals. 

However, this is easier said than done and self-confidence can be directly improved by focusing on your mental health and by being mindful of your ability to create great music and how your past successes have led to where you are now. Doing this is not a short-term task, it will take quite some practice to become a happier you and it is often a work in progress. 

To help you combat this issue, there are several organisations who you can reach out to who focus on improving the negative mental health of individuals. (links below) This includes: Keep Real, an organisation set up solely based around mental health in music. Samaritans, a suicide prevention hotline. As well as, the many organisations listed on the official NHS website. 

It goes without saying, if you are feeling ill and if you need help, please speak out. You are not alone and by simply sharing your feelings with another person, this will psychologically half the burden of that worry.  

I wrote a different article to help combat mental health in music here: Coming soon.

  1. Develop your enterprise and entrepreneurship skills 

If you wish to make money from your music and have a full-time career in the music industry, you need to realize that your music is a business. This is not to say that it is not a creative career, because it is, and it always will be. However, there is also a very large business element to having a successful career in music, it is called the music industry after all.  

Once you have overcome this, you can then begin to develop your enterprise and entrepreneurship skills. There are many ways to do this: begin attending networking events, especially the ones which are relevant to the music industry. Meet and talk to new people who are going through the same experiences as yourself and you may be able to learn tips and tricks from each other.  

As well as this, you should begin teaching yourself music business knowledge. Begin to understand the industry you are entering, this way you will become better equipped to deal with the day-to-day business of being a musician, band or solo artist. This can be done by seeking the advice and guidance of music business professionals and reading up on the latest music business trends and strategies, such as this article. As well as this, there are many masterclasses, workshops and tutorials now available online for this exact purpose.  

Through utilizing these three methods, you should begin to earn more of an income from doing what you love. 


Mental health resources:

I hope you found this article helpful, let me know your thoughts and opinions below.  


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