23 October 2020

Five ways struggling musicians can make money on lockdown

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Five ways struggling musicians can make money on lockdown

It’s safe to say that live performances are where the bulk of the cashflow comes from when it comes to being full-time musicians, particularly when you’re a small-time artist. So what are we to do when the whole country’s on coronavirus lockdown and live shows are no longer feasible? Here are five other things you can do get paid.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

1. Commissions

There are always people wanting to buy music for their own work so if you have the skills to stick to a musical brief, advertise your talents online for music/film/TV/radio producers to find and pay you directly for creating tunes for them. The cost can cover studio time and any other expenses, so you never have to create at a loss. 

2. Merchandise

Ok, so you’ll need a little bit of money for this one, but it’s a lot cheaper and easier than you might expect to sell merchandise – band T-shirts, totes etc. – these days, and you can do it all online. Set up a merch store on Big Cartel or something similar, pay the monthly fee (from $9.99 a month) and upload your designs. They’ll print the products for you so you don’t need to worry about inventory or even photos.

3. Video content

We’re not necessarily talking music videos, but behind-the-scenes footage, music lessons, amusing quarantine video diaries and impromptu performance videos could really help with the cashflow. Of course, you need something of a social following already for your videos to get monetised (at least, you do on YouTube), but if you’ve got the fanbase, it’s certainly worth a shot.

4. Patreon

If you don’t want to take your chances with a monetisation agency, another option is Patreon. This is a subscription content platform which enables artists to share exclusive content with subscribers (or “patrons”) and get paid for it on a monthly basis. You can present different packages for different rewards, and share all kinds of content including music and video. You don’t have to pay anything for a Patreon membership, but they do take a percentage of what you earn from the service.

5. Crowd-funding

It’s easy to say “just release more music” but recording music is not an inexpensive venture. Unless you have a home studio, you’re going to need money before you try and produce an album, and the best way to get that money is a crowd-funding campaign. Kickstarter allows you to ask your friends and fans for money in exchange for exclusive products depending on the size of their donation, so you can still create music even if you can’t perform it live.

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