023 – Musicians: Stop Resisting Multiple Sources of Revenue

by | Feb 9, 2024 | Podcast

How many income streams do you have as an artist? Do you often look for ways to monetize your career outside of live performance, merchandise, and streaming royalties?

In this episode of Creativity Excitement Emotion, David highlights the importance of thinking like an entrepreneur.


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00:17 – Resistance to earning additional income streams
00:41 – Why you need to begin thinking outside the box
01:24 – The soft skills and hard skills you develop as a musician
02:58 – Making an income from music in 30 ways?
03:22 – Limiting mindsets won’t serve you
05:03 – Be willing to explore the opportunities as they arise


I’m kind of amazed at how many musicians are resistant to creating or having revenue streams that aren’t somehow directly connected to their music. Like if it’s not gigging and live performance, and if it’s not streaming royalties, and if it’s not merch sales, and maybe sync licensing would go in that category too, “Then I just don’t want it.”

I mean if you want to create a sustainable and profitable career, you may need to start thinking a little outside of those categories, because I don’t think you’ve done the math. I don’t think you’ve looked at the odds.

And we all hate that right? Like we’ve all been told by people “Oh, you know the odds of becoming a successful musician,” but that’s not what I’m talking about.

We need to practice accurate thinking and accurate thinking requires that we look into not just statistics but gain a very deep understanding of markets and audience and customers, so that we can create a strategy that is going to get us to where we want to go.

I remember reading an article many years ago and I wish I could remember who it was because I would credit him. But he was talking about how you’re developing a lot of soft skills and hard skills as a musician.

If you’re committed to your growth, and I think a lot of people still aren’t committed to “Let me invest in myself first, and then I’ll become the kind of person that naturally attracts opportunity.”

But those who are continually developing themselves are aware of this. They become aware of the many opportunities available.

The more you develop yourself, the more you become aware of opportunity. Share on X

And so, the skills they gain along the way, they’ve realized they could write articles, which we might be at the tail end of that reality now, like making money on articles. We’ll see. Like I said before, demand is still going up for me, but the reality is this could be the beginning of the end because of AI.

You could take on public speaking engagements, you could do something as obscure as build a lead generation business. There are so many skills you’re going to learn along the way, whether that’s setting up a website or writing a bio or editing a video or putting together a logo.

And ideally, yeah, we wouldn’t do all this ourselves. We would find people and professionals that can handle that on our behalf. And with AI coming in, I mean, some of those tasks are going to be handled by AI moving forward.

But you’ve gained the skills to be able to do many things well, and there may be lean times. There may be times when you need a little bit of additional income to make your gigging and career dreams a reality.

I’ve talked about how I’ve made money from music in 27 ways. It’s honestly probably close to 30 by now, with all the things that I’ve done. And sometimes people just scoff at it, right? They’re like, “Oh, well, that’s not live performance, and that’s not making music and writing songs.”

And I’m like, “Well, okay, so first, all those things are on there. But secondly, if you’re thinking like an entrepreneur, you can’t help but seize the opportunities that come.”

I think what happens is we easily get stuck in limiting mindsets that don’t support us getting to where we want to go. There’s something to be said for focusing on two or three revenue streams and establishing them before trying to do a whole bunch else.

Don't get stuck in a limiting mindset that doesn't support you in getting you to where you want to go. Share on X

And at the same time, if you’re limiting yourself and avoiding opportunity and not thinking outside the box, it’s kind of like this story that’s been told and retold, and I’m probably going to butcher it…

But there’s a pastor or a priest sitting at a church, and then he hears news of a coming flood. So, he prays to God and asks God to save him. And then the flood is getting so bad that he’s forced to go all the way on top of the roof, the steeple of the church.

And then someone comes by with a rowboat and says, “Hey, pastor, it’s getting worse. You’ve got to get in now. There isn’t much time.” And he says, “No, it’s okay. God will save me.”

And then a motorboat comes by, and they say, “Pastor, there’s no time left, the water’s going to keep rising, you’ve got to get in and save yourself.” And he says, “No, it’s okay, God will save me.”

And then a helicopter comes, and the pastor, the priest, is at the very top of the steeple, on top of the cross now.

And they’re saying, “Pastor, this is your last chance, you’ve got to get out now, the water’s getting higher, you’re not going to survive. You’ve got to get in and get out.” He says, “No, it’s okay, God will save me.”

So, he ends up dying and going to heaven, and he asks St. Peter, “I kept asking God to save me, what happened?”

And St. Peter says, “Oh, he sent you three opportunities to be saved.”

Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, we’re praying for things that are already in our midst. We’re just refusing to look around. Don’t pass things up because they don’t seem to fit into the narrow little box that you’ve created for yourself.

Most of the time, we're praying for things that are already in our midst. We're just refusing to look around. Share on X

Really take the time, explore them, examine them, figure out what the opportunity is, and if it makes sense, take it on.