How to make money as an independent music artist

When I started as an independent artist, I worried about how to make money and how much it would cost to pursue my passion. At the time, I had no understanding of all of the ways that music artists can make money. After doing research and speaking with other musicians who are monetizing their talent, here’s what I learned:

Grow your social media following.

Social media is the best way to grow your fan base. You can also use it to share information about upcoming shows, new music, and other things that will get people excited about you. Social media is a great place to interact with fans, as well be sure to follow them back!

You should make it a point to post at least once per day on each of the following platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter (optional)

Monetizing your music with YouTube.

YouTube is an excellent platform, and you can make money on it in a variety of ways. It’s important to understand how this works before you start uploading videos; otherwise, you may be disappointed when your earnings don’t reflect the amount of time spent creating content.

The first thing to note when using YouTube as your main means of monetizing music is that they only pay out through AdSense if the video has been watched at least 30 seconds by one person. This means that if someone comes across your content while browsing YouTube and immediately clicks away without watching at least 30 seconds of it, then no adverts will play during their visit (and therefore there will be no revenue generated). In addition to this rule, ads need to appear for at least 4 consecutive seconds for them to count towards payment from AdSense (which means that even if someone watches only part way through a video before closing it down again).


Merchandise is a great way to make money as an independent music artist. If you’ve got the skills to design your own logo, create a t-shirt, and guide yourself through the process of creating a website and store on Etsy or Shopify—and then maintain it all—go for it!

But if this part of the process sounds intimidating or confusing, there are many companies that will help you get your merchandise out into the world. Printful offers custom T-shirts that you can sell through their site; Zazzle offers customizable products like mugs, cups and more; CafePress offers shirts as well as other items like phone cases. You can even use these services in combination with each other: Printful has an option where they’ll print designs from Zazzle onto T-shirts and ship them directly to customers on your behalf!

Sell tickets to live events.

  • How to sell tickets:
  • Sell your tickets online. This can be done through a platform like Eventbrite or directly on websites where fans are already looking for shows. Make sure you know the ticketing fees, which will vary depending on the site or application.
  • What to charge:
  • If you’re not sure how much to charge, start with a number that is fairly low and then raise it over time as demand increases. Charging too high of an entry fee might scare away potential attendees who don’t have enough money in their pockets but still want your music and could potentially grow into fans if given a chance!

Offer free products as an incentive for making purchases.

It’s simple: if someone buys your album, offer a free song or album as an incentive. If someone signs up for your mailing list, offer them a free song or album as an incentive. If someone makes a purchase of a certain amount (like $10), offer them a free song or album as an incentive. This is how you make money from fans who already love what you do and want to support the artist who inspired them in some way.


Crowdfunding is a way for you to raise money for your music. It’s not as random as begging on the street, but fundraising from strangers isn’t going to be easy either. You can use crowdfunding to fund an album, tour, or other expenses.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo allow you to set a goal and deadline in the hopes that people will help you reach it. These websites take 5-10% of what you raise when all is said and done, so keep that in mind when planning your campaign!

If someone contributes $10 through Kickstarter toward your goal of $1,000 then they get access to whatever reward tier they chose (reward tiers are determined by how much money people contribute). If no one contributes any money at all then there’s no need for rewards; just send out some thank-you notes!

Perform at special events and offer music lessons.

Perform at special events:

  • Weddings
  • Parties
  • Bars and clubs
  • Concerts


Licensing is when someone wants to use your music in a project.

As an independent artist, you might be surprised at how many people are willing to pay you for the right to use your music in their projects. In fact, there are entire companies that specialize in licensing music for films, TV shows and commercials.

If you have a large catalog of well-produced songs that fit various genres (pop ballads, classic rock instrumentals), then licensing is definitely an option worth exploring. You could potentially earn hundreds or thousands of dollars per month from licensing deals alone!

Sell digital singles.

Selling digital singles on iTunes and Spotify is the easiest way to start making money as an independent musician. To do this, you must first create a profile on each platform. On iTunes, you’ll need to fill out basic information about yourself, including your name, address and social media handles; then add some of your best songs; and finally give Apple Music Publishing an email address so you can get paid for streams. For Spotify, go through a similar process but keep in mind that there are different rates depending on whether or not you’re signed with a record label (more on that later).

Once all this is done, it’s time to start promoting your music! You can accomplish this by posting singles on social media like Instagram or Twitter; creating promotional videos; posting playlists featuring other artists who inspire you; sharing lyrics that speak to who you are as an artist/individual human being (this will help build fan loyalty).

Being creative monetarily will help you turn your talents into money.

Being creative monetarily will help you turn your talents into money.

If you’re an independent musician, it is crucial to find a way to make money. If this seems daunting and impossible, then you need to look at the big picture: You can have someone else do all of the hard work for you!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Being an independent music artist can be scary at first because it seems like there are so many steps involved and so much uncertainty about what each step means or where it leads. But don’t let this scare you away from success! The truth is that if anyone knows what they’re doing, it’s probably going to be someone else who has already done the same thing as me (or something similar). So before I start stressing about how difficult things may seem now or later on down my musical path, I remind myself that other people have been here before—and so can I!


As you can see, there are a lot of ways to make money as an independent musician. The best part is that you can start monetizing your music right away. There’s no need for expensive equipment or studio time because all these methods can be done from home or wherever else you may want to record your songs. Your creativity will be your greatest asset when it comes down to deciding which one works best for you and how much money you want make from doing what makes your heart sing!

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