Whether you are a full or part-time singer, there are different ways of earning income. Many musicians today have diversified means of earning money. So if you’re planning on becoming a full-time singer, you should do the same!
The truth is that the more you diversify these income sources the more money gets to your pocket. Many singers do not know that singing is a lucrative profession simply because they have failed to explore the various ways available for them to line their pockets with a steady income.
If you are a beginner, or you are finding it hard to raise a substantial amount of money from your singing career, these lucrative ideas below are to help you get started and profit from your talent.
- Streaming Platforms
- Physical Albums
- Live Shows
- Session Work
- Advertising & Appearances
Now let’s look at each of the income streams in more detail!
The emergence of the internet is helping singers to earn a steady income. They primarily do this by joining streaming platforms. You have recurring revenue through these platforms. Some of the most popular streaming platforms include Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Pandora, Deezer, and so on.
The benefit of this source of income is that the royalty keeps coming in whenever your music is streamed on any of these platforms. It may be coming in bits but with time, it would be big enough to pay most of your bills.
The fact that per-stream payout from such streaming sites may be small, but as you get many fans to watch your music and more of your music streamed on the site, you get more money from that platform. So the trick here is to build a large enough audience to keep listening to your songs day in and day out.
Another benefit of joining music streaming platforms is that it helps to promote your music. More people will discover your music and that in the future will translate to money. Apart from being an income generator, it makes your music popular which means you can make money in many other ways.
Now let’s talk about selling physical albums. Yes, in recent years, earnings from physical albums have dropped significantly, but that does not mean you should overlook this stream of income at all.
When you make the music, and if you have the budget to do so, you should make it available both digitally and physically. Remember, when you have live shows, you can sell physical albums directly to the audience. Moreover, the profit for each CD sale is much higher than that of a digital stream, so even selling just a few albums can help you cover some expenses.
If you have the network, try to get your physical albums into music stores. Similar to online music streaming platforms, putting your albums on the shelfs of these stores is also a marketing tactic. If more people get to see your album, there is a higher chance of gaining more loyal fans.
Live shows are proving to be the most lucrative way singers earn money through their talents. Many gatherings, promotions, events, and other celebrations require live shows.
Apart from listening to music through various digital platforms, many fans prefer to watch those singers perform live. Real-life experiences are always more valuable than just a stream on the platforms. Thus, they are willing to pay for the higher-priced tickets, when compared to digital streams.
Most successful singers performed at hundreds if not thousands of live shows. This is because of the pay they can get for each performance, and also the exposure they get. By performing show after show after show, they are able to slowly gain more fan base over time. It is a difficult journey, but singers who have the discipline and persistence will enjoy success in the end.
Merchandise has proven to be a good source of income for many people not only singers. Apart from selling music accessories that can give you a steady income, you can also diversify your merchandise by selling nonmusic products.
It is common to see singers selling products such as clothing lines, electronics, as well as perfumes. By building an image and brand associated with those products would not only earn more money but gain more fans too.
In this internet era we live in, merchandising businesses have become especially lucrative. Singers can now expand beyond the local market and towards the global market using online stores and dropshipping methods.
If you like to share your singing knowledge with others, maybe teaching is the way to go. Many people are interested in singing and they want to learn it. If you are able to teach them, you can actually make a living out of a teaching career.
Many singers not only teach singing. If you are good at certain instruments, you can teach others how to play such dedicated instruments. Moreover, you can teach them about music theory and music instrument combination, and other things they need to know about music.
The great thing about teaching is that anybody can become a music teacher, given that you have the necessary knowledge. It does not matter if you are young or old, nor if you live in certain places. You can teach anyone, anywhere, as long as they are interested in what you can teach.
You can get employed as a full-time music or instrument teacher, if you have the required qualifications. Many institutions are looking for talented people to join them. Contact local schools and institutions and ask them if they have positions you can fill.
You can also try joining online schools and institutions. Teaching online has become increasingly popular, and if you’re comfortable teaching online, this may be the route for you. Or if you want to be a freelance singing teacher, you can build a simple website and start a Youtube channel. By putting out great content by blogging or making short video lessons, you can get more students that way.
In addition to singing, if you also write songs, you can earn income through royalties.
There are different forms of royalties:
- Streaming royalties
- Neighboring rights and royalties
- Digital performance royalties
- Sync licensing fees
- Public performance royalties
- Mechanical royalties
To earn royalties, you have to join reputable Performing Rights Organizations and there are different organizations for different countries and regions. Some of them are BMI, ASCAP and SOCAN. These bodies collect royalties on behalf of their members. Also note that some countries have separate organizations for different royalties, so make sure you sign up for all of them!
Most singers lose out in this regard because they have not explored this opportunity. You may be leaving money on the table!
The great thing about royalties is that it is a passive income source. As long as your song is played, you could be earning from radios, televisions, sync and mechanical royalties, and so on.
Furthermore, you can earn money as a session singer. There are lots of studios that need vocalists to finish their demos and/or albums. You can look for such studios in your area and get to know them.
If the music genre and singing style is a great fit for those studios, they will surely let you know when they need vocalists. If you are also an instrumentalist apart from being a singer, you can also earn money by being a session musician.
The most important thing about earning money this way is the network. You have to build a strong bond with the musicians and producers in the scene, so that when they need someone, you’re on their shortlist. If you’re able to do so, you can make a good living by being a session singer.
Sponsorship is a great way of earning money for singers and performers. There are different aspects of sponsorship you can partake in to make money and these include advertisements for wearing clothes as well as to award shows. Ads can pay very well and if you have your music featured in the ad, you can earn plenty of money from that. There are lots of campaigns where your music can feature including political and sales campaigns. If your brand becomes popular you can charge as much as a million dollars from your efforts. It takes time to reach there. Even if you do not reach one million, you can be making a significant amount of money from sponsorship alone that can take care of your needs.
Advertising & Appearances
Brands and manufacturers depend on these performers and singers to promote their products. This is because most of the time, customers trust artists more than the products, especially new products. So by having singers that the customers trust promoting their products, they can make more sales, and thus pay you well in the process.
Other than getting ad revenue through online platforms such as Google Adsense and Youtube Ads, advertising can also be physical. For example, putting an image of you on their products, product launch appearances, and so on. So if you have a healthy fan base, don’t be afraid to find businesses and arrange for advertisements.
Many singers cover the cost of album production through the crowdfunding process. If the crowdfunding campaign is well funded, you can get enough money that can take care of your needs including the cost of goods, marketing budget, living expenses and so on.
Note that crowdfunding isn’t a way to get free money for nothing in return. You have to provide value for people who invested in you. But the great thing about crowdfunding is that you can get the capital you need to earn more money, which wouldn’t have been possible due lack of funds.
For example, you want to go on a tour and sell physical merchandise and albums, but you lack the funds to do so, by getting crowdfunded means that the plan can now be a reality. Once you’re back from the tour, if you’ve successfully made money, you keep the profit you made and the investors of the crowdfunding campaign get what you promised them. It’s a win-win situation!
Other than crowdfunding, getting grants from government bodies and/or private organizations is another way of doing the same thing: getting funded. If you qualify for certain grants, go ahead and apply!
Similar to crowdfunding mentioned above, getting a grant does not mean you’ve earned money. Instead, you should use the opportunity to make even more money so that your singing career is sustainable in the long term.