14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money From Live Shows


14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows

This post was written by Joy Ike ‚Äčand originally appeared on the Bandzoogle Blog.

The key for musicians today is to diversify their revenue streams. No musician makes their income strictly from one method anymore. For the most part, we each have our hands in several different pots.

You know the adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket“. Musicians just can’t afford to do that anymore. There are just so many baskets and each one has its benefits. Some baskets will be more important to you, and some will be more important during specific times in your career.

Think of the below list as a bunch of baskets related to making money from your live performance, and determine which ones you want to use. Some of these will be no-brainers, but they’re still on the list as a reminder.

1. Ticket Sales

Starting with what is no doubt the most obvious one. Chances are that most of the revenue you generate from live shows will still come from people paying to see your performance. This can be from tickets sold in advance, paying the cover at the door, suggested donations, or even passing-the-hat.

[Sell tickets for shows commission-free directly through your website]

2. Merch 

Not everyone at your show will buy merch, but some definitely will. Take your merch table seriously. Put it in the line of vision and make it look appealing. Set up a sign with a price list and image of your band. Take your merch more seriously and others will too.

3. Cover Gigs

Some musicians really hate this type of show. I get it: you’re basically wallpaper. No one sees you. But they hear you and you get a few hundred bucks (hopefully) for a few hours of music. Cover gigs are such a great way to subsidize your other shows. If you’re going to play cover gigs, think of them as shows you have to do in order to play the shows you want to.

4. Private Events

Similar to cover gigs, private events tend to be well-paying. Subscribing to a service like GigSalad can bring in some great revenue from private event planners, corporations, couples who need wedding music, and so much more.

5. House concerts 

These are the real deal. If you need a type of show that requires very little promo but gives a whole lot in return, you should be doing house concerts. Cultivate relationships with fans who already come to your shows. Eventually some will want to host you in their home and share you with their friends. For tips on getting house concerts, check out 5 Ways to Generate House Concert Leads

6. Busking

Some people hate the word busk. But if you’re strategic, busking can be your best friend and you can make some decent money in an afternoon. Busk in high traffic - outside a major sports event, outside the entrance of a major festival, in front of a grocery store, or a movie theater. Try busking before shows while you’re on tour to make a bit of extra cash and promote your show that night.

7. The College Circuit 

NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) is a big investment, but if your music’s college appropriate, it’s totally worth it. Student activity boards reserve a significant amount of funding for midday lunchtime music, and late night coffeehouse programming. One gig alone can cover expenses for an entire tour.

For help with booking College gigs, check out Indie on the Move’s College & University Show Booking Directory

8. Festivals

Not only do festivals tend to pay quite well, they’re king when it comes to high-traffic gigs that bring in major merchandise sales and follow-up gigs.

[How to get booked at music festivals]

9. Online Concerts 

Services like Stageit and Concert Window allow you to broadcast live shows online. People love these intimate, low-key concerts, particularly fans who aren’t close enough to make it to one of your regular live shows. You can make really good money on tips and ticket sales, especially when your die-hard fans can actually chat with you between songs.

10. Live Performance Royalties

Performance Rights Organizations allow you to earn royalties from your live shows. If you’re someone who plays a lot of gigs, use this to your advantage. Every extra dollar counts!

11. Sponsorships

These can be difficult to secure, but if you use a product… like really use a product, reach out to the company and ask them about sponsorship. Artists do this for gear, drum sticks, capos, and even clothing. For gigs at bars/clubs, you can also try to get a sponsorship from a beer or energy drink company which might help you save on costs at the venue or get a better cut of the door/bar revenues.

[Musicians- How To Get Sponsored]

12. YouTube Royalties

You can earn royalties whenever your videos are played on YouTube. So be sure to upload all of your good quality live videos to your YouTube Channel then monetize them.

[How to make money from your music on YouTube]

13. Live Albums

It’s easier than ever to record a live album, as many venues are already equipped to help you record a good quality live album. Why not record a live album a few months after your latest studio album is out, and add a few exclusive new songs to help entice your fans to buy it?

14. Online stores

If you’re playing live, be sure to also stock your online store with all of your albums and other merch. Even if fans don’t buy from you the night of your show, they might go to your website in the following days to shop. Some people might also go straight to iTunes or Spotify to check out your catalogue of music, so make sure that all of your music is up on popular retailers and streaming music services as well.

[6 Tips for Setting up Your Online Store]

Bonus tip: Spend Money 

Couldn’t help but end on this. It’s true what they say: it takes money to make money. Spend a few hundred dollars to print T-shirts for your merch table, get a membership to GigSalad, join NACA, ship posters to venues you are playing at, etc. Put a few dollars into everything you do so that it looks good. It will pay off.

You might also enjoy: 18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

Joy Ike is a full-time singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia, PA. She is also the founder and primary writer for Grassrootsy, one of the most-read music business blogs on the internet. She believes the greatest tragedy in the world is having a talent and keeping it to yourself.

14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money from Live Shows


9 Raspmable Guieline To Think About Before Promoting Your Music through Websites



9 Reasonable Guidelines To Think About Before Promoting Your Music Through Websites

There are so many websites for musicians. Sometimes they look similar to each other, and with so many choices, people are having a hard time deciding which music sites to look at. Of course, websites like Soundcloud or Bandcamp are great, but what so many young talented musicians miss is why they should sign up for these kinds of sites. It’s not just because other people do it that you should do it too. We know that music websites are only a tool for musicians. But musicians are not tools. Every musician should think about how they will promote their music, what their artwork is going to be, and other things apart from the music itself.

9 reasonable guidelines to think about before promoting your music through music websites

  1. Audio Always Comes First
    One thing you should remember is your music/audio is on top of everything else. Whatever music sites you choose, you should have your music ready with great mixing and mastering quality. Nowadays, people can mix and master their audio in their bedroom. There’s tons of reference from YouTube videos, books, ebooks, and other stuff on how to mix and master great audio. Your audio is your masterpiece. If your artwork is bad and your audio is good, you can still save face. But if your audio is bad, then everything else is irrelevant. Every musician must know how bad or good their audio is.
  2. Consistency
    This is the second and most important thing. With every site you decide to load your music into, you must have consistency in maintaining your existence in the website.
    For example, if you’re using YouTube to promote your music video, be sure to upload videos every week, or every month. It doesn’t always have to be a music video. At one time you can upload your behind-the-scenes of the making of your record, and some other time you can upload an acoustic version of your song. Have variation in your uploads.
  3. Concept
    Every album tell its own story. With so many songs in one album, it should return to the essence of what your music is about. Even a compilation album has its own essence. Firstly, name your album. After that you can think about artwork that is suitable with your music. If your music is Ambient, then maybe you should have a great nature photo on your front cover. If your music is Rock, then maybe you should have a great concert photo of your guitar solo. Or maybe if you’re thinking outside the box, you can have unrelated front cover and the name of your album. It’s still a good concept.
    After you’ve done all that, consider making yourself a profile picture for your music site. I recommend you have the same profile picture with every music sites you choose. I would not choose to have my album cover as my profile picture though. As you can see, most music sites have their own place for album covers. Your profile picture is for your picture as an icon and it will be relevant for 40 years to come, whereas your album might last for a year considering you’ll release a new album every year.
  4. Research And Research
    Doing research is good to widen your knowledge about music marketing nowadays. Many musicians have become sellers and some of them even become quite an expert in doing so. I think it’s good to broaden your strategy in selling your music. But don’t forget that your music comes first. Doesn’t matter how good you are at selling your music, if your music’s bad, it’s bad. If it’s good, it’s good.
  5. Read Terms & Agreements
    There are so many music websites for musicians to promote their music. One thing you have to do is read their terms & agreements. Some websites ‘hide’ their pricing details in terms & agreements and in their FAQs page. Read what benefits you and what does not.
  6. Writing Your Music’s Description
    This one comes after you upload your music. Many musicians take writing a music description as a place to promote their music. This is a misconception. To be honest, people want to know what you’re thinking in making your music. People want to know how you feel about your music. They want to know the struggle in making your music. Believe me, every music site has their own place to promote.
    Even your Twitter updates don’t need to have so many updates about promotion, selling, and other similar stuff. You should have more updates about you making your music, what instrument you use, or a behind-the-scenes video.
    YouTube has a great description page below their video. You can use that for telling peopl what your music is about, and can put your social media links there as well.
  7. What To Say And What Not
    This is a common mistake in promoting an album. Don’t say things like “MY ALBUMIS OUT NOW!!!” with so many capitalized letters or “Buy this music now”. Your fans are not robots. Don’t tell them what to do. Instead suggest they listen to your album. If they like your album, I’m sure they will buy your music no matter what. Consider what it is to have people who care about your music.
  8. Work Simultaneously
    Always remember to keep updating every site you’ve signed. Don’t leave any site behind. Your audience might be different from one to the other. You’ll never know which sites will popularize your name. I suggest you choose a limited number of sites as too many will slow down your movement. Five or six sites is enough to maintain. Choose the ones that are suitable for your music. For example, a jazz music website is not suitable for your post-rock music.
  9. Great sites for musicians to promote their music
    Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud
    This are obvious choices for every musician to have. Consider this your first phase in building your name in music world. 
    Bandcamp is a great place to sell your music. It has a great design and look. They also have tools like pre-order set up and you can also sell merchandise there. This is one example.
    NoiseTrade is similar like Bandcamp. The difference is NoiseTrade give away your album for free. Or you can give it and ask for a tip. Just like the name-your-price option in Bandcamp. It has a great look and feel for people to see. NoiseTrade is a good place to promote your music. The buzz in NoiseTrade is big mostly because of the download-for-free selection. It’s even possible to have your music on their front page for several weeks for free!
    This is a good place to do your behind-the-scenes. You can write a background of your album with an unlimited amount of space. Attach a great picture of your album artwork and put a link to your music so you can work your sites simultaneously. 
    Reverbnation is a great place for advanced music marketers. This site really help musicians in every detail. They even gave you information of where and how to promote your music. For young music marketers, Reverbnation might be difficult to use especially with so many options of how to market your music, but it’s a good option to widen your music’s promotion.
    Official Website
    Having an official website might be a great consideration to promote your music. It’s a place where people can go to gets updates on what you’re doing and releasing. It also make you look professional. It is also a core for your existence on other music websites.

There are so many options to think through if you want to promote your music. It may look difficult, but trust me it’s worth a try. I’ve been making music through Chasing Noise for 6 years and I can tell you that promoting music is exactly as exciting as making music itself. Just remember to always be humble and honest. Do it the right way.

9 Reasonable Guidelines To Think Before Promoting Your Music Through Music Websites