Breaking the Broke Musician Stereotype
Breaking the Broke Musician Stereotype:
4 overlooked revenue streams that you can take advantage of in the music industry
A single facial expression can be worth a thousand words. As a musician, there is one facial expression you will get to know very well: the classic “ Bless your heart… don’t you know you are going to be broke forever” look.
If you have ever considered pursuing a music career, you know what I’m talking about. The raised eyebrows, the initial look of shock on their face that melts into pity when you say, “I’m going to be a musician.”
But have no fear! Because I know something your Aunt Carol, Grandma, or whoever else is giving you “the look” doesn’t know. Contrary to poplar belief, there are many more ways to make money in the music industry besides selling your CDs out of a van after your shows.
1. Teach Your Craft
Are you really good at playing piano, songwriting, singing, etc.? Well you can share your knowledge with others and make some cash in the process! Teaching is one of the best ways to bring in consistent revenue as a musician.
Thanks to the Internet and Social Media, finding potential students is easier than ever. Over the past several years, Skype lessons have become incredibly popular. By offering Skype lessons, you can reach a much wider audience from the comfort of your home.
2. Merch, Merch, Merch
This extends way beyond T-shirts, stickers, and other standard merch. Don’t be afraid to get creative and come up with out of the box products for your audience. Here are just a couple of examples to jumpstart your imagination:
Write a Book:
Thanks to Amazon anyone can publish an eBook. Musicians are always looking for tips and tricks of the trade. Writing a short book on “tips to take your songwriting to the next level” or “how to have better guitar tone” offers your audience a behind the scenes look into how you do what you do. If you have an email list, you can give away a portion of the book for free to peak your audience’s interest. Then add the link for your book so they can get their hands on all your secrets of the trade.
Merch doesn’t have to be physical. Thanks to the inter-webs it can be digital as well. You can sell online exclusive content like…
Photos with your lyrics printed on them fans can download and use as backgrounds on their computers and phones
Create PDF’s that contain behind the scenes info about you, sheet music for your songs, etc.
Behind the scenes videos from recording sessions or crazy antics while on the road,
3. Lend a Hand
One thing I think musicians often forget is you don’t have to play your music exclusively. Session work is a great way to get your name out there and make some extra cash. Session work can be anything from playing a live gig for another band to playing guitar on another artist’s EP.
Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself musically. I’m not a country musician, but that didn’t stop me from playing keys for a country band gig.
4. Commission Work
Commissioned work is very near and dear to my heart. Helping a client put his or her lyrics to music or creating a backing track for a small business’ YouTube promo can be incredibly rewarding. Commissioned work is a great way to stretch your creativity by working to bring a vision to life that is not your own. Here are some examples of commissioned work:
Write an arrangement of a song for someone else to perform
Put lyrics to a track your client created
Create and record a chord progression to help a client who needs music to put their lyrics and melody over
Write a custom song for a client.
By putting some of these methods into practice, you will be on your way to breaking the broke musician stereotype!