21 Ways to Make Money as a Musician (Part 3)
Episode 015 of The Indie Musician Secrets Podcast
INTRO: There are no secrets to success, just things you haven’t learned yet. And once you learn them, it’s up to you to apply them. I’m Jamaal, aka Boss Eagle, Billboard-charting hip hop artist and music business coach. Join me as we talk digital marketing, social media, technology and more, and share interviews with industry professionals to help you unlock the “secrets” and take control of your music career. Because we ARE the new music business, and this is the Indie Musician Secrets Podcast.
What’s up, what’s up, what’s up? Welcome to The Indie Musician Secrets Podcast. I am your host Jamaal aka Boss Eagle, Billboard-charting hip hop artist and music business coach at Business Minded Musicians, and I want to welcome you to today’s episode, Part Three of “21 Ways to Make Money as a Musician.” But before we dive into that, I just want to remind you that you can stream the podcast on all of your favorite platforms. And if you wouldn’t mind, I would greatly appreciate if you leave a review [and] a rating. You can also download, subscribe — all that good stuff. That would help us to continue to push the podcast forward.
So we’re using the Bandzoogle blog post entitled, “21 ways to make money as a musician.” This is Part Three. If you want to go back and check out the previous two episodes, we covered the other 14 items as well. Again, thank you to Bandzoogle. But without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Number 15 is to license your music. Licensing your music means [that] if you get your song in a film, TV show, commercial, etc., the productions of those projects have to pay a licensing fee to you. If you wrote and made [an] original song, they’re actually going to have to pay for two different licenses. The first one is the master use, that’s for the master copy — the actual recording of the song. And then the other license they have to pay for is the sync license, or synchronization license. That’s to sync the sound to the picture — that’s all sync means.
This is an awesome option, if sync licensing is something that you are interested in. This is definitely something I’m interested in doing. The fees can vary a little bit, or they can actually vary greatly, depending on the budget for the project, the size of the project and how much they want to use your song. So if it’s a smaller, regional spot or commercial versus a national Honda commercial, or a big blockbuster film or movie trailer, those fees are going to vary. You can [also] compose music for film and TV, or you can consider licensing your songs if you’ve already got them recorded. And that can be a great source of revenue for you.
I want to share with you a course that I’m actually in right now (yes, I have invested into this course!), called Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV & Video Games. It’s taught by a guy named Vo Williams, who’s an independent hip hop artist [who] has made an awesome living getting his music placed in film, TV shows, trailers, video games [and] commercials. He’s had over 1,000 placements [for brands] such as PlayStation, Mercedes, NBA and the UFC. Last year, and I think also this year too, [he] has done the music for the Stanley Cup and NHL playoffs. He’s had his [music] in Lethal Weapon, Empire, Ballers (The Rock’s show), Atlanta, etc. So if you’re interested in learning how to get your music licensed for TV, film, video games, etc., definitely check out the Vo course: Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV & Video Games. I’ll leave a link in the description and the show notes as well if you want to check that out.
Learn How to Get Your Music Licensed in Film, TV & Video Games with: Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV & Video Games
NOTE: The course only opens twice a year. So depending on when you’re hearing this, if you go to that link, the course may not be open at that time. But just keep that in mind — that the course does open twice a year.
Number 16 is social video monetization. This is on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Triller, etc.. You can actually earn money when your music is used for video content on social media platforms. And the fees can vary depending on the platform. Make sure that you’ve opted in with your digital distributor. Go into your account (TuneCore, CD Baby, etc.) and just make sure that you set that up — I don’t know if all of them automatically do that. It’s something you want to make sure is all set up. If people are making skateboarding videos or whatever, and they use your music, you can get paid for that. If your song is used in a video that goes viral, that could that could spell out a pretty big check for you! Again, just make sure that you’re set up for social video monetization through your digital distributor.
Number 17 is making money from your YouTube channel. This can look like a couple of different things. If your music is used in a YouTube video that’s running ads, YouTube pays part of that ad money to the rights holder for the song — the person who owns the master copy. Let’s say somebody makes a video and they put your music in the background, and somebody pays for YouTube ads and runs it on that video, you can get paid as being the rights holder for the song.
This includes videos on your own YouTube channel, as well as videos using your music that are not on your channel. And I’ve heard about this happening before. Some of you have probably heard of Chris Greenwood (aka Manafest). He’s a Canadian artist and he’s talked about there [being] either video gamers or skateboarders or something, that basically took one of his songs [and] made this video. Then [got] all these views, so he was getting paid off of it — because someone else used [his song] in a video and then posted it on YouTube. It might have [even] been multiple people.
Make sure that you have that set up with your digital distributor. They can collect that money from YouTube for you. — that Content ID. That’s why you want to make sure it’s set up, so that you can get paid when your music is being used on the video that an ad is being run on. And then also if people are using your song for videos — you can get paid from that. So that is number 17. Making money from your YouTube channel.
Number 18 is sponsorships. This is one that a lot of people are probably familiar with. If you’ve built up a fan base, local businesses, music companies, major brands, etc., may want to sponsor you to reach your fans. You can offer those brands visibility at your shows, [on] social media, on your YouTube channel, etc. This is all according to Bandzoogle. Sometimes sponsorships are paid in cash, but at first, as Bandzoogle says, it’s possible that it’d be in the form of free products, services, gear, etc.
That’s something to think about, especially if you do plan on playing live; if you plan on going out on the road. See if your hometown music store or your hometown company would sponsor you. Maybe they can’t front you the money, but [maybe] they can give you gear something like that. Or maybe every stop you’re on you have a different restaurant sponsor, and they just feed you while you’re in town. Then you don’t have to spend your money on food! Think about how you can get creative with sponsorships, too. It doesn’t always have to be somebody giving you cash up front, but maybe they can help you out with some gear or something else so that you can do what you need to do out on the road, or even locally, when you’re playing shows.
Number 19: Apply for music grants. As you’re probably reading the blog post or listening to this episode, [this] one is probably a source of contention for a lot of people. I don’t care if it’s music or whatever, grants are just tough. They’re hard to find. Applications are so crazy in terms of filling them out and getting all that information. But, if you do find grants that are available to you, that can be an excellent form of some financial help for musicians. According to the article, they’re usually given out to help with writing music, recording, going on tour, etc. There are some countries that have great grant programs.
This year (2022) I actually was awarded a local grant here in Colorado. I got an email late last year about a grant. And I was like, “Well, okay, I’ll fill it out.” It does take some time to fill out. But I did and I actually was awarded a grant — it was really cool. Some funding was approved by our state legislature and with the combination of some some efforts here in Colorado. It was very beneficial because the grant wasn’t even necessarily for making music. It was literally, I think, in response a little bit to the pandemic — if you need(ed) to pay your bills, pay your mortgage, buy food or whatever. Grants can be a great option. Just keep your eyes open, keep your ears open. And if you do have one that comes across your email, fill it out. You never know what funds you might be able to get that could help you further your music career, or just stay afloat, so that you can that you can get to work, or whatever you need to do, so that you can keep making music.
Number 20: Do session work for other musicians. This is another great way to make some extra cash if you’re a singer, instrumentalist, etc. — you can do session work for other artists. If you have a flexible schedule, you can get hired also to go on tour with other artists and other bands, too. That’s something to also consider. Doing session work is a great way, I think, not only to get paid, but I would also add to build those relationships. That’s what this industry is about — it’s about relationships, about who you know.
One website that I’ve found is called SoundBetter (soundbetter.com) It’s a community of all kinds of people who are vocalists, producers, top line writers, etc., that you can find if you’re looking to collaborate with people. That may even be something for you to sign up for, so that you can be found by the people who need whatever service that you provide, whether it’s being a vocalist, a songwriter, producer, etc. So, doing session work for other musicians is another great way to make money as a musician.
Lastly, number 21 is to teach music. Or, if you’re a vocalist, teach people how to sing. It’s a great way to supplement your income, and it also allows you to hone your own craft at the same time because [its’] like rehearsal.
One thing you can also do is consider creating a mini-course, then offering one-on-one music lessons in person or online. Maybe you have a mini-course that’s free on YouTube that you can give away to get people in your door. According to the article, you can [also] use fan subscriptions to sell access to your materials like more video lessons, sheet music, etc. Think about teaching music on the side. So, number 21 is to teach music and [create] another revenue stream so that you can grow your career as a musician.
I hope these 21 items were helpful for you. Thank you again to Bandzoogle. Again. I will leave the link to the full blog post in the show notes and the description, so you can check that out and get more information.
Read the full blog post here: “21 Ways to Make Money as a Musician”
1.) As we close this out, your action item is something simple — to make sure that your music is set up to collect your your revenue on socials and YouTube. Go into your digital distributor account and just make sure that you’re setup for socials and YouTube Content ID, so that you can collect any of that money that might be being made from your music being used on socials.
2.) If that is in place, then I would say [an] action item for you to do is to look into the Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV & Video Games course by Vo Williams. Sync can really be a great way to make a good amount of revenue and your music can be being licensed anywhere all over the world. If you already have that music made, you don’t have to make more music. You just have to go put that in the right places for people to find your music [so] you can make some money off of by being synced in TV, film, video games, etc.
So, the first thing I want you to do to make sure your social and YouTube Content ID setup. If that is all good, then look into the Sync Course and consider enrolling.
With that said, if you want to get a 30-day free trial of Bandzoogle, plus 15% off for your first year on any plan, you can do that at Bandzoogle.com. Use the promo code: BizMindedMusic. I’ll also leave a link in the description for you to do that.
If you have any questions or topics that you’d like covered, send an email to: Questions@IndieMusicianSecrets.com. Don’t forget to rate and review, download, subscribe — all that good stuff. And please, please, please share this podcast with anyone that you think it would be helpful for. With that said, go out and do your action item. God bless and I’ll see you when I see you. Peace!
OUTRO: Thank you for listening. Don’t forget to follow the Indie Musician Secrets Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. And make sure to leave us a rating and review. Also share this episode with other indie musicians who you think it would be beneficial for. And for more helpful resources to help you grow your music business, visit us at: businessmindedmusicians.com. I hope this episode has served you we’ll talk to you on the next episode.
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