5 revenue streams for musicians during corona virus
It’s no secret that the corona virus pandemic has damaged the music economy. From the cancellation of nearly every gig and festival, to lockdown preventing musicians from making a quick recovery. This is a hard time for music artists. However, if its anything musicians are known for, it’s overcoming a challenge in the face of adversity, and there hasn’t been a challenge like corona virus in a long time. So, if want to make an income from your music during lockdown, here’s how…
- Live streaming
We talked about live streaming in our previous article. However, did you know you can monetize those streams and create an income from this kind of content? There are a few ways to do so but let’s start with the simplest.
Donations. If you’ve set up a high-quality professional livestream, which you can find out how to do in our previous article here: https://infinitevibrations.co.uk/2020/04/15/how-to-set-up-a-high-quality-livestream-for-your-music/, then there’s a good chance people will donate to your cause, especially if they’re dedicated fans.
As well as this, you could set up a Patreon or GoFundMe to provide fans with rewards for donating. Things such as exclusive content or merchandise. This way you are incentivising paid support from your fans whilst also providing them with a reward for doing so, making their donation worth something to them.
On top of this, this method is great for creating those dedicated fans, as you can create a funnel to draw them in. Starting with your free piece of content (your livestream) and working up to paid exclusive content. This kills two birds with one stone in that you are developing an income for yourself as well as generating a fanbase who will stay with you after corona virus.
Finally, if you are a well-developed musician/band you could consider making a paid ticketed stream, like a live event but without the physical appearance (unfortunately).
For example, if you are charging £30 per ticket for a venue with a 300-person capacity, and you sold out, you would have made £9000. However, if you charge £10, a reduction to your normal rate which is already a selling point, and live streamed to 1000 people you will have made £10,000 – A 10% increase in revenue from the live event, and you wouldn’t have the overheads of travel expenses, eating out and staying in hotels.
The world of freelancing is a wide and varied one. It can take some time to master but the financial rewards can be exponential. There are a few income streams with this one and it’s up to you how you want to pursue this.
To begin let’s talk about music lessons. Chances are that if you’re an accomplished musician you know a thing or two about playing music. What better time than the covid-19 lockdown to start teaching your skills to someone else. This is because budding musicians will have plenty of time to practice and are willing to do so because they have so much time to spare.
If you’ve got a successful music career behind you, this can be easy to sell too. People will be willing to put their faith, and money, in you – especially if you can say that you’ve been a successful musician in the past.
You can begin charging small, £10 or £15 per hour and then once you have some great feedback and testimonials you can begin to raise this. Just be careful not to raise prices for current clients as that could cause them to lose interest. As well as this, you can host these lessons online via skype, Zoom or even Facebook. Keeping everyone safe and educated during lockdown. If you’re clients are younger aged children, chances are that their parents will be grateful for giving them something to do, so do be sure to market your lessons towards them too.
Session musician. Perhaps you’ve played in a band or you’ve had a solo career for a long time, but have you ever considered being a session musician? This type of commission-based work requires you to work to a brief, but if you’re an agile and flexible musician this might be the work for you.
There are a lot of people out there who require the skill and services of an accomplished musician. From guitar to bass, saxophone to violin; many people will have projects that require the sound of the instrument that you play.
Try websites such as Freelancer or Fiverr, as many of these platforms let you advertise your skills to a potential client to come and scout out. As well as this, you should join communities and networks of composers who may also require your skills; on social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
What work you take on is up to you but there is a lot of revenue to be made by going down this route and you will be surprised at the amount of people who need session work to be done. Especially if people are creating more music because there are in lockdown.
Sound packs, samples, loops and beats. If you’re a DJ or producer, then this is perfect for you. However, you may also be a more instrument-based musician who knows how to create music in a DAW. Selling sound packs, samples, loops and beats has become a growing sector of the music industry and there are lots of companies investing in this to create a bespoke service where you can purchase such a thing.
Companies such as Splice or Arcade by Output are some such companies. If you create a sample or loop, you can sell these products on these platforms.
As well as this, if you create sound packs and beats, you can sell these to rappers, musicians and singers to provide them with backing tracks for their music. Bear in mind that when you sell these products you waver the copyright to them, but this seems reasonable because you are getting paid to do so. Otherwise this would be a collaboration between yourselves and you would split the profits made from the final piece between each party; which is also a viable option too.
- Podcasts and Radio
Now there is a lot of current debate about these two different types of audio platforms, in that podcasting seems to be getting extremely popular and radios are dying out, although I don’t think this is true, it’s just that radio seems to an often harder platform be featured on. However, each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s start with radios. We all know the typical radio station that we hear on our phones, laptops and stereos. These can be a good form of income if you can get featured on them and if you have signed up to a royalty collection agency such as PRS or PPI. But this can take some time if you have not already done so and coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon.
So, podcasts are your best friend. These are more independently hosted and crop up everywhere on the internet. Whilst you may not generate as much income from this as you would from radio, the chances of you being able to get your music on these are greatly increased; if you target the correct shows and correct demographic for your genre of music that is.
On top of this, it is becoming increasingly popular for artists to start podcasts of their own. Whilst it can take time to garner a following and fanbase, much like your music, this can be a great platform for potential sponsorships and brand partnerships who will be willing to pay you to get access to your audience. Just make sure that when you do so, you advertise a product or service that aligns with your general style and morals, in order to stay relevant to your audience and not put them off.
- Busking, Nursing homes and Community groups
With the lockdown easing soon in July, it seems more appropriate to begin generating revenue from physical appearances again. However, venues and festivals will not be opening for a long time still to come. If you feel comfortable with doing so, the following income streams could be a great way to kickstart live music again. However, with these methods being outside the realm of lockdown be sure to think it through and adhere to any safeguarding guidelines for yourself and the public.
Why not try your hand at busking? Create a two-meter perimeter around yourself and place a bucket at the edge. Especially with shops opening again, there will be an influx of people going about town and wanting a distraction from the confusion and panic of Covid-19 and perhaps they have a bit of spare change for that welcome sound of good music. Just be sure to wash your hands after handling your hard-earned cash and abide by the lockdown rules where necessary.
Perhaps contacting your local council to check if you are able to do so would be a good idea and if you didn’t know, some counties ask for a busking license in some areas, so check for that too.
On top of this, why not try playing in nursing homes and community groups. As I’m sure they’ve seen a wave of upset recently and could do with a pick-me-up of live music. What a great way to celebrate the beginning of the end and do some good in your community. Although, with care homes being in the high-risk category, you may require a test to make sure you don’t have the virus beforehand.
Finally, a few other options for income streams are merchandise and residencies.
Merchandise can take some funds to set up if you haven’t already got some, but perhaps handmaking some goodies could be a good way to spend your spare time. As well as this, if you’re creating your own products, that’s a great way to practice entrepreneurship and learn about the fundamentals of creating a profitable income stream – something which will come in handy in your music career in the future.
On top of this, you could try and secure paid residencies at magazines, radios, podcasts or promotion agencies as they are all likely livestreaming and need talent to book for their streams.
In conclusion, there are many methods to generate income during coronavirus. Above all you need to remember to stay positive in this situation and allow yourself to adapt, improvise and overcome. Like I mentioned before, musicians are some of the most resilient people in the world and I guarantee you that the industry will make it through this; but only if we work together and find ways to survive.
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