5 Ways Independent Artists Can Make Money With Music

Make Money With Music

Independent musicians across the globe have easily identified ways to make money with music that involves more than touring and live performances. In fact, many of these alternative income streams can provide more money and create a sustainable career within the music industry as an independent artist. 

The chances of returning to life as usual after a pandemic are close. However, musicians have discovered that honing their focus on marketing, branding, and building partnerships have paid off more during these challenging times. Music is a common denominator that connects us all, and tapping into that creative process can open up more opportunities than you might have imagined possible.

If you are serious about making money with your music as an artist, you need to create a long-term strategy and be open to multiple income streams. Here are some tangible ways that independent artists can make money with music, build a fanbase, and gain more visibility off of their music.


It will help if you can have your music available for streaming on multiple platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, or Soundcloud. You have the ability here to make digital sales so that when someone downloads your music for streaming, you earn some money from it. Though this is not a very lucrative way to make money with music, it provides independent artists with more visibility and multiple platforms.

If your goal is to increase your fanbase, you might consider allowing (at least initially) for fans to download and stream your music for free. Then, once you have a more established following, you can start charging for the downloads and streams. Loyal fans and followers are more likely to buy once they have been able to sample and like what they hear. 


Music licensing is a great way to find routes to submit your music for other producers or music supervisors to utilize within their projects. The projects themselves could be anything from an advertisement to a feature film. Submitting your music to blogs for independent artists to get a feature is another way to promote your music. Independent artists who consistently offer their music become more visible and collaborate and work with other musicians or creatives, building solid relationships and the promise of future work for your music.

You must own the rights to your music so that you will be the one who is paid all of the royalty fees. Licensing can be challenging to make money with music if you have other publishers to chase down to obtain rights. 

Many independent artists will record, mix, and master in their own home studios. To do this, you may have to invest in some equipment such as a good microphone and sound editing software. However, doing it yourself ensures that you will have complete ownership of the music when you submit it for licensing.


Tapping into your creative side and utilizing your musical expertise in a particular instrument to teach music lessons is a great way to earn money and make music together. Many independent musicians teach local guitar lessons to instill others with knowledge about music theory and help them improve their musical talents. 

For example, guitar teacher Andrew H. has been teaching guitar and piano lessons for over fifteen years and playing in multiple bands across the New York City area. He has said that teaching music lessons and helping his students has been a great way to promote himself as a musician, find more work in performing, and gain more traffic on his other music platforms. He has had much success in his career, performing and recording with well-known jazz musicians such as Chris Cheek, Michael Cox, and Maggie Green.


Independent artists do not have to rely solely on music to gain their income. Sony Music Japan has found another way to make money with music, especially at concerts, and that is with the merchandise. Their executive team sells out at almost every show by putting musicians’ names, logo, or even their faces on towels. 

Musicians who know their audience will tap into the elements to understand what will be the best product for selling. It is an incredibly lucrative side gig for artists who do more live concerts and touring. Selling music merchandise might involve some trial and error. You might experiment to see what products are in more demand than others, but finding a specific novelty that your fans will want is an excellent option as a separate income stream since novelties will always sell.

Other Services to Make Money With Music

Chances are, as a musician, you have talents that pertain to music in other ways. Maybe you are exceptionally good at music theory, composing and songwriting, or sound engineering. Utilizing any one of these for your music and offering your services to others can be a way to earn money. 

For instance, if you are blessed with the ability to create music compositions on your own, you could host your own songwriting workshop. You could also collaborate with other independent artists to develop your own master class to be a career musician in this fashion – tapping into other musical skills and having multiple streams of revenue generation. The possibilities for this are endless.

Offering your music engineering services is another option if you are more tech and sound savvy. There are plenty of artists who don’t know how to master their mixes or have good editing software and would be happy to hire someone else to do it for them.

Focusing on your brand as an artist and building out your marketing by promoting yourself in other music avenues is the best way to establish yourself as an expert musician and independent artist. The main goal for your music business is to find ways for others to get to know you and your music to create relationships with fans and sustain a long-term career within the music industry. It is important to know that there are many other ways to make money with music as a career musician than performance alone.