Music is ancient. Since the beginning of human history, song and sound has been a universal way to express ideas, reveal (and discover) passions, and tell stories. If you’re a musician or other creative, then you have experienced the inner spark that drives you to produce your art. Whatever the reason for your creative endeavor, now you’re wondering if you could learn how to make money from your music, for example, or some other hobby business ideas. Marc Anthony, an American Musician, once wrote: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
In this article, Charolette Darr, a professional opera singer and voice instructor, shares her advice for monetizing your musical hobby.
Charlotte is the publisher of “Save Live Thrive“, a personal finance blog focused on saving money, paying off debt, and living a financially responsible life. Her business and financial advice applies to any hobby or activity you enjoy, e.g., miniature painting, photography, cooking, creative writing, or music. We think you’ll find her tips inspirational for finding ways to monetize your favorite hobby.
“Let me write the songs of a nation. I don’t care who writes its laws.” – Andrew Fletcher, Scottish political activist (1655-1716)Tweet
What are the ways of making your musical hobby profitable? Continue reading Charlotte’s tips and professional advice for some ways to make money from your music!
4 Ways to Profit from Your Musical Talent
In today’s world, you can easily turn a hobby into a lucrative side hustle.
There are many musical hobbyists who have turned their love of music, singing, and performing into a source of extra income. It will take a little bit of time, effort, and determination, but here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Gigging (and other types of live musical performance)
- Session work
- Social media
1. Gigging (and other types of live musical performance)
If you want to make money as a musician then, naturally, you should start pursuing paid performance opportunities! With paid performances, performers either earn money through admission revenue or contract fees.
There are many different types of gigging opportunities, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Corporate Events – Performing for corporate events is a great way to gain local credibility and spread awareness of your services through word of mouth. When many of my colleagues first started gigging, they began performing at local charity events and were later booked by corporate sponsors in attendance.
- Weddings – Playing for weddings is a lot of fun and another great way to increase your exposure as a musician. I recommend creating a profile on sites like The Knot when first starting out so you can more easily be found by couples and wedding planners.
- Original Gigs – Book a gig for yourself at a local performance venue. This could be a bar, coffee shop, concert house, or outdoor festival. Ask around to find out what local businesses are currently booking musicians and if they have an application process.
- House Concerts – Invite those closest to you to your home to hear your latest work. This is a fun way to try new musical styles and gain feedback from your friends and family. Many musicians are now holding virtual house concerts and sharing them on social media.
- Local Music Organizations – As an opera singer, I get paid to perform with various local opera and musical theatre companies. Even if you don’t have a degree in vocal performance, some organizations will pay performers over the age of 18. Just make sure to research the organization’s compensation policies prior to scheduling an audition.
Types of paid opportunities with live musical performance:
|Corporate events||Gain local credibility, increases brand awareness/reputation|
|Weddings||Fun, increases exposure|
|Original gigs||Perform at bars, coffee shops, outdoor festivals|
|House concerts||Invitations into your home with live or virtual performances|
|Local musical organizations||Perform with local musical theatre companies|
2. Session work
Depending on who you know, you can get paid for recording sessions with local musicians and composers. This may be an offer that comes later down the line, but it is definitely worth working toward.
3. Social media
With the rise of social media, there are many musicians who support themselves through platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. If you have a knack for video and sound recording, then consider sharing your talents online! I have seen many musicians get booked for gigs through their social media accounts…some with 1,000 followers or less!
Many musicians use crowdfunding as a way to support their creative pursuits. The musical community is experiencing a resurgence in crowdfunding support, and there is no shame in asking for compensation from those who enjoy your work! Many creatives recommend Patreon as a crowdfunding platform.
Tips on Establishing Yourself as a Freelance Musician
Record a professional video
Prior to booking a musician, many people want to see the “stage presence” of potential performers for their event. A quality video will give viewers a sense of your entertainment and musical style, which will help them decide if you are a good fit for their event.
There is no need to hire a professional videographer for this either! Modern smartphones are capable of filming quality content.
Prepare a sample set-list
Creating a list of the songs you perform is another great way to help potential clients determine if you are a good fit for their event.
Gigging musicians should try to learn a wide variety of songs that can be enjoyed by different types of events and audiences. Different audiences will have different musical preferences.
The more songs you are able to perform on the spot, the better!
As a gigging musician, you are going to find yourself in a variety of performance situations, and there is almost no way to predict how an event will go.
Because of this, it is important to be flexible (and have a variety of different musical selections to choose from!)
Ask for reviews
Reviews are critical for booking future events! If an event goes successfully, don’t be afraid to follow up and ask for a review that you can post on your website and social media account.
Social proof goes a long way, and positive reviews will make clients more likely to book you in the future.
How much can you charge as a gigging musician?
(Or, how much money can you make from your music?)
The amount charged by musicians depends on their level of experience, region, event type, and other factors. According to Payscale, musicians make anywhere between $50-$1,000 a night. However, when you are first starting out, it’s important to do market research and determine what other musicians are charging in your area.
Once you have an idea of the average fee, start with a price that is slightly below that until you gain enough experience and reviews.
Final Tips to Get Started Monetizing Your Music Hobby
- Create a professional-looking website that includes your services, fees, video recordings, reviews and contact information.
- Register yourself as a musician on sites like Thumbtack so people in your area can easily find you.
- Start promoting yourself through friends and family, and ask them if they know anyone that is looking to book someone for an upcoming event.
- Create a Performance Contract that clearly states all logistical information agreed upon for the event. I highly recommend including a non-refundable security deposit and cancellation policy so that you are compensated for your preparation hours if the event gets cancelled.
Article by Charlotte Darr