Have your eyes set on a career in music? There’s a reason why they call it the music biz. Simply put, if you’re serious about being a full-time musician, you need to manage your work like any other business. Just like opening an SMB or creating a new startup, there are a few key things that you should come to terms with when you’re ready to make your dream career come to life:
01. There will be ups and downs
02. Very few businesses are profitable off the bat
03. Never underestimate the power of networking
That being said, it is possible to do what you love most, while still managing to pay the rent on time. We’ve got 5 tips for how you can make it as a successful paid musician:
Sell Your Music Online
You got into the industry because you love music – unfortunately love doesn’t put groceries in the fridge. The first way to start making money from your music is to offer digital downloads of your tunes. Your music website is often the first place people will go to find your songs. Wix Music has you covered from A – Z by including commission-free music streaming and the ability to sell songs right on your website. If you're looking for inspiration, here are a few examples of killer music websites.
Real music fans are always on the hunt for hot new tunes, so streaming on your site should be the first step – but not your only one. As you would in any new business, it’s important to cast as wide a net as possible by promoting your music on popular music sites like Spotify, Apple Music and more. Wix Music has a distribution package that adds your music to over 120 online music sites and stores, and the best part is, it automatically syncs new tunes straight from your website.
Play More Gigs
Playing gigs is one of the most essential (and fun) parts of your life as a pro musician, but in terms of publicity, the cold hard truth is usually this: gigs that pay well generally bring out a smaller crowd, while gigs that barely cover gas can get you more exposure.
If you’re looking to get your music heard by more than just your immediate family, you might want to consider taking a pay cut on the cover charge every now and then. It’s not an easy decision to make, but the added exposure could end up giving you a bigger payoff in the long run. A great way to start winning over fans is to participate in ‘new music nights’ at different venues in your city; they’re always looking for the next big thing in hometown talent. If you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, you may even want to get yourself a booking agent to help score the gigs with the biggest impact potential.
Not into the whole ‘free’ thing? Just because you played a show pro bono doesn’t mean you have to leave empty handed. Selling merch can be a great way to supplement concert costs. Sell more and stand out by having a local artist design your posters and T-shirts. Even if concert goers don’t know your sound, it’ll be hard for them to avoid great style.
Get Licensing & Publishing Deals
Some of the biggest names in music today started as background music for your favorite commercial or movie scene. Contributing your music to TV, movies, video games and more can help you rake in quite a bit in royalties.
Don’t want to give away your whole tune to another medium? Consider creating an instrumental version of your songs for licensing purposes. Stock music sites like AudioJungle can bring in serious cash for every song sold.
Start a Music Blog
Have your finger on the pulse of the latest music stuffs? Blogging about your favorite music style, band or trend is a great way to get your name out there and make some dough while you’re at it. And if the idea of writing for, say, Rolling Stone sounds appealing, starting your own independent music blog is a great way to establish your audience and build up writing samples.
Become a Session Musician
Are you the missing piece that another musician or band desperately needs? Offer your services as a background singer or instrumental accompaniment for recording sessions or live performances.
Scoring gigs as a session musician isn’t just about the skills you bring to the table; your attitude and professionalism can play a big role in whether or not you’ll churn out a big payday. While it might sound basic, being professional, on time and easy to schedule with can give you a serious leg-up on the other guys. Adding a schedule-booker onto your website is an easy way to help clients reserve your open time slots. Taking bookings 24/7 (yes, even while you sleep) is easy with the new Wix Bookings app. Like so many things on this list, networking is key to getting session gigs. Consider partnering with a studio for a consistent revenue source.
Ready to take your music online? Create a music website to promote, sell and distribute your music online for free.