Eyvindur Karlsson Shares Why You Need to Write Songs Faster

Eyvindur Karlsson Shares Why You Need to Write Songs Faster

How important is it to be prolific as a modern artist? What difference can that make for your music career?

We recently caught up with Icelandic singer-songwriter Eyvindur Karlsson to share about his experience.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Eyvindur Karlsson (easy Icelandic name for you to learn) and I’m a singer-songwriter from Iceland. In addition to recording and playing live at various venues around Iceland, my career has largely been focused on writing songs for theater. I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of award-winning musicals and get to travel the world with some of those productions, to theater festivals in places like Austria, Czech and Monaco.

I write music in a variety of styles, from quirky Americana to show tunes, and have recently been trying my hand at instrumentals and more complex arrangements (I just finished recording and mixing a backing track for the play I’m working on with a 100-voice choir and a symphonic orchestra).

You can check out my music on my website.

I also host a songwriting podcast, and have various free resources for songwriters. You can check that out on my Strongwriting website.

2. Why is it important for songwriters to be able to write songs as fast as possible?

There are two main reasons. The first one is simple: The more songs you can write in the shortest amount of time, the bigger your margin of error. None of us write great songs every time, and it’s better to take more shots and have a lot of stuff to choose from. Also, the more you do it, the better you get. You can put it to the test with a free eBook I put together: Try writing a new song every day for 4 weeks. I guarantee you’ll be a better songwriter at the end of it.

The second reason is that this business of ours is a numbers game.

The music business has changed so much since I got started (which was a long, long time ago. I can still remember how that music used to make me smile… Oops, sorry…). When I first got into music, people were still buying albums, and it was possible to make a living playing original music in bars, even if you were completely unknown.

I think the biggest difference in today’s music business is the constant need for new content. Unless you rely primarily on touring (which can be fickle, as the COVID years have shown us), you need to be writing new songs all the time. Whether your focus is on streams, licensing, freelance composing, or songwriting (for film, video games, theater, etc.), it becomes a numbers game. The more you put out there, the more money you make.

My focus is mostly on freelance songwriting, but I also have a membership site where I release exclusive songs every month. I haven’t focused on streaming very much, but that’s changing now. So my career is 100% dependent on being able to write songs very quickly and put out a lot of material.

The quality obviously needs to be there, but ignore the quantity at your peril. In fact, quality comes with quantity – the more you write, the better you get.

The quality obviously needs to be there, but ignore the quantity at your peril. Share on X

3. How has being a fast songwriter helped your career?

I owe everything to it. Thing is, I used to be pretty leisurely about it in my early days. Then when I got my first paid job writing for theater I was ecstatic for about a day, and then reality hit. I now had to write to deadlines and deliver songs when the company needed them, not when my elusive muse decided to show herself. The prospect of staring at an empty page and trying to conjure up inspiration filled me with dread and it quickly became overwhelming. Suddenly my dream of becoming a paid songwriter was starting to feel painful, and my anxiety, self-doubt, and impostor syndrome started to set in.

However, I was fortunate enough to have been studying all kinds of business literature, and I realized that I could apply a lot of the time-management, confidence building, and productivity principles to my creative process, in addition to coming up with some creative mining tricks of my own that helped me get over that blank-page-syndrome and start writing on-demand.

Now I have more songs than I can get out there. Which is great, because whenever I’m approached for a song, I can almost always repurpose something I have lying around the shop. I have a huge database of finished or half-finished songs and musical ideas that I can Frankenstein into whatever my next project needs.

As it stands right now, I’m planning to release a lot more of my songs than I previously have to streaming platforms, and my backlog of songs is long enough that, using some of the most popular streaming strategies, I can release songs for years to come, even without writing anything new. (But of course, I will write tons of new stuff, so I should be good for a long while.)

4. What opportunities exist in songwriting musicians often aren’t, but should be aware of?

Well, I think most songwriters are aware of licensing – selling songs to films, TV shows, commercials or video games is one of the most lucrative prospects in the music business today. But there are some underrated ways to get your songs working for you.

One is, of course, theater. And it doesn’t have to be a huge production, either. I’ve gotten hired by amateur companies for tiny shows, because those productions tend to have the budget to hire outside professionals, such as directors, lighting and, yes, music. If you have any kind of theater scene in your vicinity, no matter how tiny, there are definitely opportunities there. And don’t write it off just because you think your music genre doesn’t lend itself to theater. I’m a director as well, and I can tell you that most directors love to try new things, so if you’re a ska-death metal artist, there might be a director out there just dying to try that out in their production.

I also think that songwriters should constantly be thinking outside the box. Consider collaborating with all kinds of different artists, not just musicians. Opportunities can arise from working across artistic boundaries. Years ago, I did a lot of work with painters and other visual artists, doing collabs and simply playing at their show openings, and it opened a lot of doors for me.

Opportunities can arise from working across artistic boundaries. Share on X

Lastly, there is a hidden gem for all songwriters, called the Melodica Testival. It’s a volunteer based festival that brings singer-songwriters together from around the world. Playing that festival in several cities I’ve gotten to know songwriters from all over the world, had great collaborations and greatly expanded my musical horizons. It’s something I think every songwriter should be aware of.

5. Why do you feel it’s important to challenge yourself as an artist?

If there’s one thing that I think can ruin songwriting careers, it’s The Comfort Zone. The only thing worse than writer’s block is stale songwriting. Getting stuck in a rut can be horrible, because after a while you might look at your output and hate it. Trust me, I’ve been there – there’s nothing worse than having slaved away to create something and being unhappy with the result, because it just feels boring.

So I try to challenge myself very regularly. I’ve tried lots of different ways, like challenging myself to write songs using just one chord, to write in different languages, to write in a different genre than I’m used to, and so on.

One of my favorite things to do, though, is a good time-based challenge. I like speed writing challenges, like writing a song in one hour (and if you’re very brave, performing it in public on the same day). And in fact, I put together a free eBook that walks you through writing one song every day for 4 weeks – which is a challenge that will force you to grow as a songwriter.

You can find that here.

I guarantee that doing the challenge will make you a better (and faster) songwriter.

Final Thoughts

Every song you create is another opportunity for you to be seen, heard, and appreciated by a larger fan base.

We want to thank Eyvindur for his generous contribution. If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to say “thanks” to him on Twitter: @BadDaysMusic

Do you feel inspired to write more?

What’s the next step in your music career?

We look forward to seeing your comments!

What You Should Look for in a Musician Coach

What You Should Look for in a Musician Coach

So, you’ve decided that hiring a musician coach wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

But what sort of qualities and qualifications should you look for in a musician coach?

If you know the following, it’s going to make the decision a lot easier.

So, ask yourself these questions when considering a musician coach:

Do They Ask Good Questions?

It may seem innocuous, but this is the most critical question you can ask.

A coach knows how to get out of their own way, listen attentively, and ask questions that change the way you see the world around you.

They will ask the questions you’re not asking, and by doing so, make you aware of blind spots, new perspectives, possibilities, opportunities, next steps, and more.

If your coach is doing all the talking, there’s something wrong. If they’re not asking questions, there’s something wrong. If they’re merely telling you what to do next, they still have much to learn.

A seasoned coach has had to generate results in situations where it was difficult if not impossible to do so. And they got there by asking powerful questions.

At the foundation of coaching is the ability to ask good questions.

Do They Have a Coach of Their Own?

The best coaches always have coaches of their own.

And if they don’t have a coach right this minute, they’re at least on a steady path of personal growth – reading articles and books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, taking courses, and generally investing in themselves and their knowledge.

If a coach doesn’t show any interest in self-development, they’re not going to make for a good coach.

Look for signs that they’re committed to being lifelong learners.

Do They Have a Website?

While creator economy apps like Koji are near omnipotent in their capabilities, the potential downside is that anyone can set up a free account, buy followers, and claim to be an expert on a topic.

A true coach might have a link in bio, but they wouldn’t balk at investing in the creation of their own regularly updated website. In fact, they would prioritize it.

Whether it’s domain names, web hosting, logo design, videos, blog posts, or otherwise, they’re not afraid to set forth the financial resources and time necessary to develop their brand.

A coach that’s invested in their online presence treats their job with a degree of seriousness others simply do not.

Do They Have a Book?

A book isn’t necessarily a requirement, but it does say something about a coach, namely that they’ve gone to the trouble of documenting their best tips and advice in written form.

Writing a book is a commitment. It’s at least 10 times the length of any term paper you’ve written in college.

A coach with a book better understands the dedication, discipline, and commitment required to make an album, because writing a book is just as extensive if not more so.

The other reason a book is valuable is because you can learn about the coach’s methodologies before even hiring them. At 20 bucks a pop, you really have nothing to lose.

Plus, if you take the time to read, you’ll be more committed to the process and get more out of the coaching. You’ll make for a better client, and that improves the coach-mentee relationship!

Do They Have Systems?

Sure, there are times when a coach needs to throw away the scripts, ditch the templates, abandon their methodologies, and get in the dirt with their clients.

We’re all human, after all!

But if a coach doesn’t at least have a battery of questions they use to better understand your circumstances and guide your next steps, are they honestly any better than an unpracticed bassist that “wings it” at a gig?

Coaches should have systems – be it video conferencing software (Zoom, Google Meet, or otherwise), PDF document templates, notes on their clients (along with a filing system), or otherwise.

You don’t want to be shooting from the hip as a client, and a coach shouldn’t be either! If they’re coaching you, they should be in the right environment with the right resources and processes to serve you to the best of their abilities.

Do They Have Demonstrated Results?

I need to say something that’s a little paradoxical here, but it is important.

A coach doesn’t necessarily have everything you want in life.

After all, they specialize in coaching, not in being a successful artist (that’s your job!).

They may have demonstrated results in their own career. It never hurts.

But what we’re talking about here is demonstrated results in the careers of others.

A coach needs to be able to help her clients first and foremost. If she can’t do that, it doesn’t matter what results she has in another area!

A coach always leaves his clients in a better position than where they started. Look for evidence of that.

Do They Have Quotes / Testimonials from Past Clients?

Quotes, testimonials, and reviews are always worth checking, and this goes hand in hand with demonstrated results.

There’s one major thing you should be aware of concerning social proof, though:

First is that even if a coach doesn’t have many reviews, it’s not necessarily a bad sign.

Ask yourself how many times you’ve left reviews on Amazon, Google, iTunes, or otherwise.

Unless it was a mind-blowingly amazing or mind numbingly horrendous experience, you probably aren’t compelled to leave a lot of reviews in the first place.

The point is – people don’t just hand out reviews like they’re candy, and even superb coaches don’t always have drawers full of references.

The other thing that’s good to be aware of is that reviews can and have been manufactured.

It sucks that I even need to bring it up, but some “coaches” out there claim to have taught fictional superheroes according to their website. Sorry, just no.

Obviously, the reviews you find on a coach’s website are going to be talking up the coach. No competent coach is going to use negative reviews on their site.

But complete fabrications are worth looking out for.

Final Thoughts

There are other questions you can ask to determine whether a coach is right for you, but the above should serve as an excellent starting point.

If they have a 15-minute free consultation or something of that nature, you could take advantage of that…

Or you could email or call them for more info as needed.

But don’t overthink it and let yourself get off the hook without deciding, that is, unless you want to go back to the rut, you’re trying to crawl your way out of.

Do You Need a Musician Coach? Self-Assessment

Do You Need a Musician Coach? Self-Assessment

At this point, you’re probably starting to realize that musician coaching is a real thing, and it could be quite valuable for you.

But are you ready for coaching?

Is it right for you?

Is now a good time to get a coach?

Here’s a self-assessment that will help you determine whether you need a musician coach.

Are You Willing to Invest in Yourself?

If your answer is:

No, I’m not willing to spend a dime to build a fan base and make a living from my passion.

Then I can’t help you, and neither can any other coach.

If it’s unimaginable for you to spend $37 on an eBook, $97 on a course, $127 on personalized coaching, I’m sorry, I can’t help you, and most other coaches would be warped in the noggin to help you too.

Understand – these are minimum prices, not maximum!

It’s unfortunate, but it’s true – we don’t place much value on things we don’t pay for.

If you don’t act on the information offered here, you will go back to old habits, returning to the same rut you tried to claw your way out of.

Here’s something to think about…

You don’t pay a mechanic for working on your car, do you? You pay them for knowing what to do, regardless of how much time and effort it ultimately takes them.

It’s the same with a coach. You don’t pay them for how much time or effort it takes to do the job – you pay them for their experience and ability to guide you (especially since breakthroughs can happen fast!).

Have You Worked on Your Craft & Live Show?

If “no,” you might not need a coach yet.

First, you’ve got to make the leap from amateur to professional and that means making a commitment to improve and work on your craft from one show, one release, one interview, to the next.

If that’s not what you’re doing, you haven’t made the commitment yet, and that’s okay.

But you don’t need a coach if you’re not building towards something.

Cliché as it might be, my coaches often repeated this phrase to me:

You can’t steer a parked car.

What does that mean?

It means if you’re not doing anything in your music career, I can’t tell you where to go or what to do next – it would all be speculation.

But if, for example, you have a live show you’ve been developing for a while and you want me to audit and review it, I’m your man.

Do You Have Career Goals (Even if They Are Foggy)?

If you do, you will benefit from coaching.

The truth is many artists only think they have goals.

But because they haven’t taken certain actions to put their goals into existence, they don’t know what they’re working towards, let alone how close they are to achieving their goals.

Fogginess around goal setting is very normal because what I teach, they don’t generally teach in school. So, it’s not your fault that you don’t know.

Bottom line – if you aren’t working towards something, or don’t have at least partially defined goals yet, forego the coaching and instead come up with three things you would like to accomplish in your music career, so we have something to discuss.

Do it now. This post will still be here when you come back.

Could You Benefit from an Outside Perspective?

For most artists, the answer will be “yes.”

If you can’t see it for yourself, all good, here are some things to consider:

  • How often do you record yourself to listen and evaluate your performance?
  • How often do you film yourself performing on stage to watch, listen, and evaluate your performance?
  • Do you track the number of people attending your performance (as well as how many people were there when you started, and how many were left when you were done)?
  • Is auditing your web presence a common practice of yours, and do you take note of how you’re coming across to fans and prospective fans, what’s missing, or what could be improved upon?
  • How well do you track your income and expenses, and could you make projections based on the numbers you see?
  • This is but the tip of the iceberg…

There’s just so much you don’t see when you’re working in the business instead of on the business.

And yes, I do mean to use the term “business” here because if you take your music career seriously, that’s exactly what it is.

A good coach can see what you’re not seeing.

A good coach can see what you’re not seeing. Share on X

Do You Have a Devil’s Advocate?

I remember calling my friend over one day to share my new business idea with him.

I was excited out of my mind and couldn’t possibly conceive how anyone would think it was a bad idea.

“He’s probably going to want to join my enterprise,” I thought to myself.

But as I started sharing, not only did he not share my sense of enthusiasm for the business, but he also tore apart the idea, systematically, limb from limb.

Although I kept answering his questions in the calmest manner possible, understandably I became frazzled by the end of that conversation!

You’ll never guess what he said to me next:

I was just being your devil’s advocate. Someone needs to punch holes in your idea so you can see all the ways it could fail, rather than getting tunnel vision on why it will succeed.

Wow.

Do you have tunnel vision? Are you seeing what no one else is seeing? Are you imagining a bright future only you believe in?

While you don’t need anyone to tear you down, you do need someone to help you reinforce your weakside.

And oftentimes, the only way to uncover that blind spot is to consult someone who’s equally invested in seeing you succeed in your music career.

Do You Feel Stuck in Your Music Career?

Cheer up.

If you’re feeling stuck, it means you’ve made a lot of progress to get to this point!

The growth curve only gets steeper, not gentler.

But you could literally name a big name you know, and I guarantee you they’ve reached plateaus on their journey to the top too.

Trust me when I say a visit to the rut-ville isn’t a view filled with unicorns farting rainbows.

But here’s the thing:

There’s always some adjustment to be made at this juncture that will make a difference.

The problem? There’s no way to know what that adjustment might be without expert help!

Do You Feel Frustrated in Your Music Career (Because You’ve Tried Everything & it Didn’t Work)?

If you’re stuck, you’re probably frustrated too – the two tend to go together.

And this is a solid indicator you need coaching (before you throw in the towel, call it quits, curse the music business, and swear off passion for life).

But does it seem like you’re trying everything without getting anywhere?

Trust me when I say I’ve spent years spinning my wheels in my personal growth, music career, and business endeavors, sometimes simultaneously.

While I never stopped looking for answers, I stopped putting pressure on trying to find them. Answers started showing up far faster when there was no pressure for them to appear!

You didn’t land on this page by accident. You’re on the brink of becoming unstuck. All you’ve got to do now is make the leap and invest in yourself.

When you invest in coaching, you’re never investing in the coach. You’re investing in you.

When you invest in coaching, you’re never investing in the coach. You’re investing in you. Share on X

Do You Feel Overwhelmed?

Things will go smoothly and even be perfectly manageable in your music career for a while.

You’ll start to get more gigs, sell more merch, get more email signups, and so on.

But then comes a new challenge – in the business world, we call it scaling.

Scaling is where you adjust to the new demands as they come pouring in (usually at an uncontrollable rate).

Everyone thinks fast growth is awesome and it’s what they should go after, until they realize they’re not even ready for it!

To scale, a business must systemize and hire. It’s time-consuming and expensive, especially if you mess up.

Prolific novelty songwriter Jonathan Coulton eventually had to hire an assistant to help with the huge influx of emails he was receiving from fans every single day.

Overwhelm isn’t bad. It means there are new opportunities, and it means there’s greater demand for what you’re doing.

But if you don’t have a way to parse your opportunities and scale with the demand, you will end up in the same position I’ve found myself in multiple times – burning out!

Burning out sucks. It might take months to recover from. What good is opportunity then?

You need a coach, and stat!

Final Thoughts, Musician Coach

In closing, I wanted to let you know about something free I created.

Honesty, I think I might be crazy for giving away this much…

What is it? We’re calling it the PDF Vault.

The Vault includes over 100 independent music career eBooks, cheat sheets, podcast transcripts and interviews to date, with hundreds more to come.

If you’re ready to sign up, simply follow this link and enter your email.

Alex Solano of Alex Pro Mix Shares About Dolby Atmos Mixing

Alex Solano of Alex Pro Mix Shares About Dolby Atmos Mixing

If there’s one thing we can count on, it’s the evolution of technology. This is no exception for the modern studio.

We recently caught up with Alex Solano of Alex Pro Mix to have him share about his progression as a producer and to talk about Dolby Atmos mixing.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Alex Solano and I help artists, producers, and engineers deliver commercial-sounding mixes. As a pro mixer and educator, I empower individuals with the tools and techniques they need to make their music sound amazing.

When I was 12-years-old, my older brother brought home an electric guitar. This changed my life. I played in bands, learned music technology, and started performing live by the time I was 16.

Through my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity of a lifetime, to study with Bruce Swedien, the engineer responsible for Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Bruce shared his experience in working with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Santana, and other music legends. Through Bruce I learned the most important role of a mixer is to develop your sonic signature.

The most important role of a mixer is to develop your sonic signature. Share on X

As a pro mixer, I’ve had the opportunity to work with artists, producers, and engineers from around the globe. My goal is to ensure they are satisfied with their mixes every single time.

2. What are the advantages of getting your music mixed in Dolby Atmos?

Dolby Atmos is the next leap forward in the evolution of recorded music. With Atmos, you can create an immersive listening experience for your fans. This puts the listener inside the music.

As a mixer, I can execute creative ideas of how the music can be experienced by placing instruments around the listener.

Publishing your music in Dolby Atmos allows you to future-proof your catalog while creating a new immersive experience for your fans.

Publishing your music in Dolby Atmos allows you to future-proof your catalog while creating a new immersive experience for your fans. Share on X

When I first learned of streaming services supporting Dolby Atmos Music, I immediately started learning about the technology. At the time, online resources were limited. There was no easy guide to follow to upgrade my studio to an Atmos setup.

This led me to reach back to my industry contacts from Avid and Dolby. Months later, the Dolby team in San Francisco signed off on my studio and I was ready to start producing Dolby Atmos masters for artists and labels.

When mixing in Dolby Atmos, there is an increased amount of clarity and accuracy in the position of instruments around the listening environment. This technology works on any musical genre, from pop to country, Indian to African music. The results sound amazing and can be experienced on headphones, home cinema surround systems, and smart speakers.

3. You’ve taught music recording in India and South America. What was that experience like?

Early in my professional career, I worked for Avid (makers of Pro Tools) where I taught Pro Tools at trade shows and music schools. It was 2007 and YouTube had just come onto the scene.

At the time, software companies would send me free plug-ins (audio effects) to use in my presentations. But when I searched on YouTube for “how-to” videos, there were none. This led me to create my YouTube channel and publish “how-to” videos on mixing and mastering.

Years later, I was contacted by the director of Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM) in Chennai, India to teach music technology. So, on Thanksgiving eve of 2017, my family dropped me off at LAX international airport for a 20-hour flight to India. The experience was impactful.

I stayed for two weeks at the music academy teaching music recording and mixing. The school housed talented musicians whom I’ve worked with since.

A few years later, this experience led me to work with Bridge Music India (a conglomerate with already established artists to create music that leaves a legacy true to India’s creative inheritance). With this momentum, I’ve become one of the key international mixers in Indian Music.

4. What is something you wish people would ask you about your work but don’t?

When I first started learning music technology, there were limited resources available. This was in 1994, before people were connected via the internet. All I had was a keyboard sequencer, an electric guitar, and a multi-track tape recorder. I had to figure it out on my own. Now young people have access to “too much info,” which becomes confusing to their focus on their discipline.

As a 14-year-old kid with a passion for music, those limitations forced me to problem solve and led me to new creative ideas. I’ll never take that for granted.

I’m fortunate to be at a place in my professional career where I have the best studio I have ever owned, but it didn’t start that way. Beyond the skill and competency as a mixer, it’s the power of my journey that has led me here.

This is what I want to impart to the next generation. To understand that success is not a pursuit of ambition, but discovering whom they are meant to be.

Success is not a pursuit of ambition, but discovering who you are meant to be. Share on X

5. What did you get from our interview with James Schramko you think other artists or producers should know?

The biggest takeaway from listening to the interview with James Schramko is to build a team.

Up to this point, I’ve learned to produce and publish video courses, engage on my social media channels, and grow and nurture my subscribers, all while providing pro mixes to artists and labels. With Dolby Atmos, I have an opportunity to work with record labels in remastering catalog work and new music in Spatial Audio.

The next step in my evolution is to begin outsourcing the video editing and graphic design tasks to other creatives in line with my brand vision.

Additionally, as my kids approach their teens, I’m incorporating them into building my business. It’s imperative for me that my wife and kids have ownership of my business, how I’m building it, and the company culture that interfaces with my clients.

6. What do you think of what we’re up to at Music Entrepreneur HQ? Are there any topics you think we should cover or resources we should create?

First off, I’m a big fan of the podcast. I tune in regularly to keep up-to-date with industry news and to hear how other entrepreneurs have made a living in the music industry.

Coming from a tech background, I would like to hear stories from music producers and engineers on the nuts and bolts of working with artists and labels. Not just from a technical opinion, but a business-minded outlook. I don’t see enough music producers who talk about how they manage a team and what enabled them to launch their careers.

Final Thoughts

Thanks goes to Alex for being willing to share his journey with us!

Be sure to follow him on Instagram and thank him for his contribution.

Do you have any questions for Alex about Dolby Amos mixing?

Share below in the comments!

How Music Makes Money

How Music Makes Money

Have you ever sat down to work out all the ways you could possibly make money with music?

I have, and I was surprised at the sheer number of ways I came up with.

If you’re new to the music business, then it’s not your fault that you don’t know all the secrets yet.

So, in this guide we cover a variety of ways musicians make money.

How Do Artists Make Money? Primary Income Sources

According to Business Insider, some of the biggest revenue streams for major artists are touring, selling merchandise, licensing and placements, and streaming.

But they also point out that streaming is not a lucrative revenue source. And while there are some artists that do well with streaming, generally they have an even greater income from other sources.

If you’d like to go deeper, then stick around. What follows below is an FAQ section that can help you figure out your path as an independent musician and shed light on more possible income sources.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we’ll answer your most asked questions about making money in music.

How do Independent Artists Make Money?

As Bopper indicates, independent artists make money in much the same way major artists do.

It’s generally some combination of licensing and placements, radio or digital radio airplay, streaming, gigging, and merch.

That doesn’t mean these are the only income streams available and we do cover a variety of others in this guide.

Tell Me How to Make Money as a Musician Online

One thing every musician should know:

It’s much easier to determine a specific focus for your career and to earn an income from it than it is to take the shotgun approach to revenue.

It's much easier to determine a specific focus for your career and to earn an income from it than it is to take the shotgun approach to revenue. Share on X

When it comes right down to it, there are just so many ways to make money in music.

You can take donations, you can sell NFTs, you can become an affiliate marketer, you could create your own courses, you could teach music lessons online.

So, you really need to ask yourself:

How do I want to make money online?

Do you want to sell merch, grow your following on streaming platforms, build your own membership subscription or fan club, pursue licensing and placements, or otherwise?

There are just so many artists out there nowadays that if you don’t determine a clear focus for your activity, you’re unlikely to be effective in creating a solid income stream from your music.

The more sharply and clearly focused you are, the better the chance that you can make an income in one of the categories already mentioned, or possibly another.

The more sharply and clearly focused you are, the better the chance that you can make an income in music. Share on X

There are even more income ideas covered throughout this guide though, so keep reading…

How do Artists Make Money from Streaming?

It may sound obvious, but the key is to get your music streamed more.

To get your music streamed more, you need to get more people to hear your music.

So, you need to identify all the ways you can get your fans, your extended network, and your prospects to hear it. Think of every idea possible. It doesn’t matter how guerilla or mainstream the idea might be.

If you do a proper brainstorming session and sit down and generate as many ideas as possible, you’ll be surprised at what comes up.

But practically speaking, you can:

  • Run pre-save campaigns
  • Get your music reviewed
  • Pitch playlists
  • Send email campaign links to your fans with your streaming links
  • Embed your music on blogs and websites

Take advantage of whatever built in features the streaming platforms have.

Oftentimes they give you the ability to share your music on social networks, or to embed your music on your own website. Use these tools to grow your streaming royalties.

How do Artists Make Money on YouTube?

Basically, the only direct source of revenue on YouTube is revenue share ads.

There are other options that are unlocked as you continue to grow your channel but technically, you can’t even earn on advertising until you have at least 1,000 subscribers. That’s the point at which YouTube allows you to monetize your channel.

And then you may be able to add revenue streams like donations from live streams (Super Chat) or subscriptions.

But there are many indirect ways of earning on YouTube.

That includes streaming. So, for example, after you’ve created a vlog, and you’ve shared about your latest song, you could send people to Spotify to go and listen to it.

Another indirect source is merch. If you share about your latest T-shirt design or button design in your video, or maybe someone’s wearing that shirt in your video, you can link it up in the description.

You can do the same thing with affiliate links. What products did you share about in your video? Did you talk about a specific guitar or guitar amp? You can become an affiliate for these products and earn a commission on them with your affiliate links.

What about Patreon or another fan club or membership service? If people enjoy what you’re doing and what you’re creating, then it’s worth trying out some of these options.

I happen to like 10XPro for creating courses and membership sites.

Another way YouTubers often earn is through sponsorships. If you have a big enough channel and a big enough viewership, you might be approached with the idea of promoting sponsors for a flat fee, clicks and views, conversions, or otherwise.

How do Musicians Make Money Without CDs?

Now we know that there was a format shift from CDs to digital downloads, and eventually from digital downloads to streaming.

But that doesn’t mean CDs are completely dead.

In fact, you can still sell CDs if you do it right. And this is typically done through direct response marketing campaigns or eCommerce.

So, while it might seem like we are firmly and thoroughly in the digital age, it doesn’t mean that people don’t want physical goods anymore. Certain fans don’t. But there are still fans who do.

Bandcamp has been posting some numbers about people buying more physical media than ever, especially cassettes and vinyl records, and merch like T-shirts.

And while I’m not necessarily saying that these mediums are for everyone, the idea that CDs are no longer needed, utilized, or wanted simply isn’t true.

But more generally, artists can make money online through many of the other ways we’ve already talked about – merch sales, streaming, licensing and placements, YouTube, creator economy platforms like Koji, eCommerce, affiliate marketing, memberships or subscriptions, and even crowdfunding.

How do Musicians Make Money During COVID?

The best thing you can do for your music career is to disaster- and future-proof it.

Unfortunately, we can’t always know what’s coming.

In the case of the pandemic, it took everyone by surprise, and it had an impact on independent artists and their income, especially those who’ve relied heavily on gigging and live performance as their main sources of income.

Plainly, the main thing that was impacted was live performance. We can’t underestimate what that means, because live performance is the main way artists connect with their fans.

And without that physical presence, keeping and holding people’s attention can be a tough thing.

That said, many artists were still able to make an income in many of the ways we’ve already talked about, whether it’s merch sales, live streaming and tips, streaming like Spotify, licensing and placements, radio, YouTube and Vevo, and music lessons.

Innovative musicians even started looking to the creator economy for answers like Patreon or Koji.

While we can’t underestimate the impact of something like COVID, it doesn’t mean that all the other revenue sources went and dried up.

It just meant that gigging specifically wasn’t viable opportunity for a while. Of course, this isn’t to say that this can’t happen again. So, we do suggest disaster planning your career now.

Conclusion, How Music Makes Money

For most artists, music isn’t just about the money. Many artists would love to make enough to make a living so that they can focus on their creativity and their passion.

Many artists are more interested in the impact they can make on their fans and the world.

That said, an income does make a music career far more sustainable.

So, it pays to be shrewd when it comes to developing an income stream in music.

In this guide, we’ve covered many ways you can make an income from your music, but that isn’t to say this is a comprehensive list!

I, for example, have earned from music in 27 ways, and we hear there are easily 100 ways you can earn an income from your music.

We hope you enjoyed this guide and wish you all the success in your music career.