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5 sources of income that music professionals often overlook

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Musicians and music professionals, such as managers and executives, tend to focus solely on music streaming numbers. While streaming numbers are hugely important, especially with a greater number of platforms included in the calculation of positions in Billboard charts, like Audiomack, streaming is not the only way to have a music career. sustainable and profitable. For example, most streaming platforms pay around a penny or less per stream; therefore, for 1,000,000 streams on a record, you can expect around $ 10,000 or less. That’s not a bad figure if multiple records a year come out with a million streams and views or more. However, most artists do not reach this milestone; so, in asking the question, what is there to do to line my pockets?

The answer is simple: synchronize licensing, live and virtual shows, brand partnerships, merchandise, songwriting and production.

Synchronize licenses

Sync licenses refer to the use of music on TV, movies, video games, advertisements, apps, etc. Essentially, it refers to where music and moving pictures are used simultaneously. Once a song is cleared for syncing, a royalty is paid to the author or composer of the musical composition and a royalty is also paid to the owner of the recording. Besides the income generated, it also offers great exposure.

There are different ways to present your music for licensing. One way is to go through a music publisher. Music publishers will help you get timing deals, but will take a percentage for each placement. Another way to license your music is to contact music supervisors and music libraries directly. Some websites help provide real-time updates on Music Supervisors, and on what and when shows, movies, etc. are looking for music, so you can present your music yourself. Finally, there are sites that offer free and premium options to act as a middleman to present your music to plenty of sync opportunities.

Related: 10 Essential Tips For A Long And Profitable Music Career

Live and virtual shows

When many musicians or music professionals think about booking a show, they only think of tours or major festivals. However, there are many advantages to doing local concerts and concerts. There are many pop-up festivals, annual festivals, block parties, events, etc. which should be seen as untapped potential. The events or festivals might not even be about the music per se, but what is everywhere is that there are usually bands performing. It’s up to you to reach out and see if they need action. It also helps to network and establish a connection with the organizers. In addition, there are websites that help find concerts. Doing smaller gigs helps you practice, earn extra income, and increase your chances of booking larger shows and venues.

Aside from the in-person concerts, virtual shows and festivals have paid off. Especially with the looming pandemic, virtual events have increasingly become the norm. Some sites broadcast live paid performances by musicians. Musical artists have easily made virtual shows and are paid by viewers through sites like Twitch and YouTube, which are great for hosting shows and allow artists to have more control over the content that is broadcast. Virtual shows tap into the market for people who still aren’t comfortable being in crowded areas and help reach and connect with old and new fans.

Related: How NFTs Are Set To Disrupt The Music Industry

Brand partnerships

Partnering with brands can be difficult, but it is definitely doable. There are tons of brands out there looking for ways to grow and grow. A lot of companies will pay a lot of money to have an artist promote their products or just mention their products. Many of these companies will have an alternative brand ambassador option. As a brand ambassador, you get a percentage of the profits from the products you help sell.

Brand partnerships are easier to achieve if you have a large number of social media followers, so build your network before reaching out. However, there are many companies looking for nano, micro and macro influencers to promote their brand. Identify brands that match your brand and target them.


Although the clothing industry is generally very competitive, selling goods is much easier. Whenever a new song or album comes out, you should be looking to update and sell some merchandise. The idea is to keep the merchandise fresh and current. Whether it’s using popular lyrics from your song or just a cover art, it’s important to flood the market with your products. The concept of 1,000 real fans can be applied to merchandise. For example, if you build a dedicated fan base of just 1,000 people and each of those 1,000 people buys $ 50 or $ 100 worth of merchandise, you just make yourself $ 50,000 or $ 100,000.

Most are reluctant to create and sell goods because of the obstacle of putting in money to have the goods made. However, there are plenty of print-on-demand sites that do the heavy lifting of the manufacturing for you, so you don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars and you’ll never run out of supplies.

By applying the Brand Ambassador advice above to your own merchandise, you can help elevate your brand even further. There are some websites that help streamline brand ambassador programs for you.

Related: These 6 Types Of Music Are Known To Dramatically Improve Productivity

Songwriting and production

Writing songs and producing rhythms can be very lucrative. Many singers and musical artists need someone to write songs for them or need help with the writing process. Additionally, artists are constantly on the lookout for session musicians, who are musicians or singers hired specifically for a recording session or live performance. There are various sites that help connect musical artists with songwriters, session musicians, etc.

Even more than the need to write songs, musical artists easily need producers and sound engineers. Great producers and sound engineers don’t cost a dime, so if you are able to produce music and / or mix and master songs, then there is a fair amount of money to be made. Many websites offer great services for showcasing your beats and selling and licensing those beats for different price ranges. If you are just starting out, it may be beneficial to continue to hone your craft and perhaps enroll in a MasterClass to gain more knowledge and skills.

Pro tip: register with a performance rights organization such as BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. Sign up for SoundExchange and always protect your music.

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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson