Author Topic: How to make money in music?  (Read 275 times)

Better Late

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How to make money in music?
« on: April 08, 2017, 07:34:38 PM »
I wonder if anyone on the forum has experience making money or earning their living in music.  Have you made $ with recorded music, e.g. being paid for cd's, downloads or streaming?  I've been reading a bit and getting some background on this, and would love advice or information.   What have you learned from your experience?  Would you sign with a label if you had the chance (or would you do it over again)? 


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: How to make money in music?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2017, 07:15:21 PM »
I have a bit of experience in this - both in industry and as a gigging classical musician. Sadly I do not have any experience with digital music, but I do have friends that have made some money that way.

My industry experience is many moons ago and I'll basically say that the experience was so bad that I would NEVER work with a label again.

As a classical musician it is 100% possible to make a living (not luxurious - but a living) if you hustle. A combination of church jobs (choir, orchestra, holiday gigs), wedding/country club type gigs, and chosen vocation are usually enough to get by.  If you play piano you can make bank playing good cocktail hours and also working as an accompanist for music schools (who never seem to have enough pianists for students).

I have a lot of friends that have put their stuff on Pandora, Spotify, etc and only one of them has earned any money of it. His breakthrough piece was specifically "inspired" by a piece from a famous musician and the musician tweeted about it - thus earning my friend an instant following.

A composer friend of mine specifically writes for a production music library and he makes great side money (his full time job is a prof of music theory).  His stuff has ended up on a couple of sitcoms and several reality shows. If you are a pop-ish writer this is where I would aim for extra money as it seems the most do-able way to earn real money. Also look into sync music licensing (youtube, vimeo, etc).

I don't know if any of this is helpful - but I thought it was a really interesting question and felt compelled to respond :)

Car Jack

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Re: How to make money in music?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 06:55:37 PM »
I'm an unpaid guitarist but know several guys who make their living on music or related businesses.

One owns a music lesson business and sells instruments there.  He holds jam lunchtimes and jam nights a couple times a week, of course teaches but also does some studio work and has a gigging band.  He started giving lessons at another store before breaking out on his own.  He's a Berklee grad and plays a bunch of instruments.

The other runs his family 2nd generation music store, has a big web presence selling a small guitar company's products, performs in 2 bands and does produce his band albums.  One night, he performed in one of his bands which was the opening act for.....his other band.

Neither of these guys are going to get rich, but it's a living.