Did you know that there are two ways for music creators to increase revenue?
- Reduce your expenses
- And/or increase your income
Ideally, finding a way to do both will help to maximize your music career revenue.
How to Make Money with Music: A Simple Income Exercise
Here’s how you can get started identifying more revenue for your music career:
STEP 1: First, audit your current income sources. Write down all the sources of income you have related to your music career.
STEP 2: Next, write a list of all the main items you have to spend money on to support your music career.
(Note: if you’re already keeping track of your income and expenses as a business then you can likely pull up last year’s data and skip having to write everything down.)
STEP 3: Review your list of income sources and total up the income amount for the past year.
How Many Music Income Sources did you Identify?
How can you increase the total amount you earned this year over last?
For example, if you identified 3 main income sources such as streaming royalties, live performances, and merch sales, could you identify at least one additional income source to add to the mix? Can you examine how to increase your production/sales in the current income streams you’ve identified? Can you do both?
How much extra effort would it take to add a few more live performances to your schedule this year? That might be the most immediate way to increase your income.
Could you spend some more time pitching your music to Spotify playlist curators or music bloggers to help increase streams and your stream royalty payout?
Could you add a new merch item to sell or create a new higher cost premium Patreon tier to increase income?
What about adding effort to an additional income source this year? Continuing with our example, what if we now have a fourth income source, for example licensing the music you’ve already created to production companies producing ads/TV shows/films who need music to accompany their moving pictures? It’s not necessarily easy to get into – it takes lots of relationship building and consistently pitching your music – but the payouts are substantial. Plus, you can’t get the payout if you don’t start taking the action now toward that result.
How to Make Money with Music: A Simple Expense Exercise
On the flip side, find ways to reduce the costs of operating your music business in order to increase your take home pay.
Now, review your list of expenses from the last year and total them up.
How many music expenses did you identify? What is your total expenses for last year?
How can you reduce the total amount of expenses this year vs. last?
As you review your expenses, ask yourself whether or not it was a necessary expense. Try to think of a less expensive alternative that would save you money.
Examples & Recommendations for Reducing Costs
For example, if you typically buy guitar strings one pack at a time as you need them throughout the year, you may be paying more than you need to per pack of guitar strings. Consider buying a bulk pack of strings online. Sure, it’s a larger upfront expense for a bulk order of guitar strings vs. one pack, but your per pack cost will likely drop by $2.00 to $3.00 dollars a pack. That can be a significant savings when you’re buying 50 packs of strings a year.
Also, if you have any subscription services that are automatically paid each month and you’re not fully utilizing the service to its fullest extent, consider getting rid of it to realize a cost savings.
Merch can be costly to produce. If you can learn how to produce some of your merch yourself you may be able to cut some of the costs of having that merch produced, allowing you to keep a higher margin of the profit per merch item sold.
For example, if you sell T-shirts at live shows and typically have them screen printed by a third party company, you’re paying for their time, materials and effort. If you’re a bit crafty, like most music creators I know, you can likely follow some YouTube videos to learn how to produce your own screen printed T-shirts for half the cost of what you were paying, and you can potentially charge more for the T-shirts, advertising that you, the music creator, hand-made the shirt.
These are just a few ideas to help you think through ways to maximize your music career revenue.