How To Make Money As An Independent Artist?
There is no better feeling than making money from your passion. As a musician, generating profit from your works doesn’t stop as simply a monetary value but is also an indication that your music is getting recognition.
Often enough, the first thought of making money from your music must be streaming royalty. However, we hate to break this news but unless you’re Drake the streaming royalty is usually not that significant for an independent artist. Even though distribution is still a crucial aspect of your musical career, streaming services are famous for not paying small artists that well. Thus, here are realistic ways you can sell music as an independent artist.
Establish your fanbase
Before we jump to how you make money, you need to understand the significant role your fan base has. A fan base is an artist’s bloodstream. Without your fans, no one would stream your music on Spotify, go to your concert, and buy your merch regularly.
To build your fanbase, you can’t simply upload your music online and wait for people to stream and download it. You have to prepare a music campaign before your release date on streaming platforms and music stores.
Think of it as a music business, thus, the fastest way to establish a fan base is a consistent music promotion. Check out our article on music promotion and how you can use it to build your fan base.
Monetize your music
After you establish a solid fanbase, let's jump into how to get that bag. There are trillions of ways you can make money as an artist with a fan base. Nonetheless, you don’t want to treat your fans as a cash cow with quick cash grab methods. Thus, here are the main ways that benefit you in the long run as a musician.
Performing at a concert/club is one of the best ways to generate money as an artist. You get to do live performances to promote your songs and get paid to do that - it’s a win-win situation for every artist. Moreover, you can reach new audiences every time you perform which can be an opportunity for fandom building.
Another aspect of accepting gigs is you get to meet many music professionals while performing - including an A&R representative. Through performing, you can also extend your networking opportunities and your popularity in the music industry.
However, you have to prepare many materials before getting accepted to gigs. The two main things are a solid network connection and an electronic press kit(EPK). At the beginning of your career, you need many connections in the industry to connect you with a booking agent.
Once that is done, you need a well-prepared and professional presentation about yourself - that’s where an EPK comes in. Luckily, if you haven’t had either of that, you can check our two articles on how to network and how to build an electronic press kit.
Even though selling merchandise does not apply to every artist out there, it’s still a great way to connect with your fan and generate money if you have an opportunity to do so. The art of selling merchandise is a fine line between building artist-fan connection and attempting a quick cash grab. You don’t want to go for the second part as this can ruin your relationship with your fan in the long run.
For quality and well-done merchandise, you want to go for personal elements that your fans feel connected with you. For example, if you have an iconic line you often use in your songs, that would be something you want to print and sell. The key here is to be relevant to your fanbase’s needs and interests. For more information on merchandising, you can check out our article on how to create your own merchandising.
Do Sync Licensing
Have you ever wondered who created these commercial songs? It’s you - the musician. Since more businesses invest in advertising, there is a high demand for music ads. As an artist, you can start producing music ads for businesses through sync licensing.
If a business or a production company wants to use your music for their product, they need to purchase your track’s synchronization license.
The amount you get to receive is based on how they will use your track such as scope of use(the media platform), term(the duration of use), and territory(the level of the media platform, ex: local station or national tv). More factors affect your paycheck but these are the three main ones. To step into this game, you have to start licensing your music. If you want to learn more, sign up for our newsletter for an upcoming article on how to license your music.
Start social media monetization
With social media monetization, social media platforms pay you for every time their users use your song on a video. This can be an Instagram story or a TikTok video. Similar to sync licensing, you need to have your music licensed and submit it to the social media platforms like a social media monetization.
As video content is growing at a rocket speed, the need for music for the videos also accelerates. Once you’re opt-in for social media monetization, not only do you get paid when someone uses your music but you also get promotion as more people listen to your song. You can see how many small artists’ songs get blown-up thanks to TikTok trends. It’s a win-win situation for every party involved.
Many services help artists to monetize their music on social media. You can check out CD Baby, an online distributor of independent music that also helps artists monetize their music on social media.
Re-invest your brand
To make more money as an artist, you have to reinvest back into your crafts - meaning your music, your branding, and your music promotion. That is the way you can sustain and grow your musical career.
Your reinvestment can be a new studio for your music production process or a music promotion for your album. The key here is to think of the investment as a long-term plan. Rather than focusing on making money, think of ways that you can improve your music or reach your fanbase.
At Base for Music, we help you run ads for your music by generating sponsored campaigns across social networks such as Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, and Spotify. Through our services, you can reinvest back in your branding and gain more fans during the process - making you more profitable in your music activity.
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