Many musicians and passionate songwriters alike wonder how they could make money from their music online. The good news is that it has become easier now in the digital age. Before music-minded people had to get a physical copy made and had to get it available in mainstream music stores such as HMV, this would be a difficult task within itself to get them to sell your product and the fact that this required some investment to create the stock, this made more room for risk. Imagine getting all of those albums made and not selling even one.
There are many ways in which you can make money from your music online such as creating a music video on YouTube and monetising through Google AdSense. The more traditional way is digitally selling records through trusted online music stores such as Amazon Music, iTunes, Google Music, Band camp and more.
Alternatively, you could create your own website niched around your style of music with your own online store section where people can purchase your singles, albums as well as play your music through a player such as Spotify, which you can earn money from.) To be successful, you will need a lot of traffic, which you could get from starting a blog.
This is not directly correlated with making money from your music online. However, it is part of the sales funnel and could be a great monetisation opportunity. Having music online for sale can attract a fan base, and once you have this type of following you could then have certain products which would be great to sell to prospects and your loyal supporters.
This merchandise could be anything from shirts, hoodies, hats, headphones or notepads. The choice is yours, to get started you will need a platform in which you are going to use be using, this could be Amazon, Etsy, eBay or even your own website. You could get the products made by another company, and you can handle distribution. (Customer service, packaging items and sending at the post office.) Alternatively, you could work with a business partner and use some kind of drop shipping strategy in which someone will do the work for you for a percentage of the profits.
Most of the major platforms such as Apple's iTunes will not work with you directly and will only work with a third party network that they trust such as CD Baby, Tunecore, etc. I have personally worked with CD Baby, and they do exactly as promised. You pay them, and they then distribute your song/s and information to those mainstream networks.
How to setup CD baby?
Head over to CD Baby, then click get started and register as a member. Once you have done this and have filled out all of the payment information. You will be able to distribute your single or album to their networks and also get access to their sales, reporting, tools, and promotions.
How do you get paid from iTunes?
It can take a while to get paid from all of CD baby’s partners such as iTunes, amazon, google, Spotify, etc. Usually, if someone buys your album. It could take up to 2 months or more before you will get the money. The money will be sent to your CD baby or the third party network that you set up your account with. They will only pay you when your account reaches the threshold that you set.
Current problems with the music industry?
Despite the fact that it has got easier to make your music available for sale online eliminating most of the risk related to creating a physical copy. it is still very difficult to get people to buy any. This is because of a few factors. The main one is because people don’t need to buy it. Why would people buy something that nowadays they could just get for free in regards to platforms such as YouTube? People can happily enjoy your music on the likes of YouTube, Spotify, etc. They don’t have to even pay a penny.
It is a tricky situation because you want your music to be heard. However, the only way to do that is to give it away for free on those mainstream platforms. With the hope that people are going to want to support the artist. With the money removed. The risk then becomes spending a lot of time making singles, albums and music videos without any return. Even those things can get expensive if you do not do all of the work yourself.
In today’s world, it is harder than ever to make a living from music. The main reason why people carry on trying is that they have passion. Many people aren’t driven directly by the money itself. Me for example, I love making music and release a new single every now and then. I am not driven by the money because realistically it’s just an expense. It does, however, provide happiness to me. Making me feel proud of what I have created, as well a creative outlet that helps me express myself through lyric writing and recording.
Common problems with record labels
Even if you achieve mainstream success, you are taken in by a record label. The record label themselves spend lots of money on creating the best content from lyrics, to productions, to videos, directors, editing, and even promoting your content.
They spend a lot making you stand out. This is to help people like you and to want to spend money on your songs. Within your contract agreement with your record label. When you start to earn money, the record label will need to get every penny back before you see any of it. Even after that, you will have to give away most of it to others who helped make you successful. In the end, you would be lucky if you see 0.05p of the £0.99 iTunes sale.
I am not saying this to put you off. Just to make you aware that very few people make it mainstream. If you have a passion and a dream then please do go for it. If you are committed enough you will be successful.
Independent record label
Alternatively, you have the option of going at it as an independent record label. Meaning that you will find the cameramen, you will make productions or buy them.
The main risk associated with this method is the fact that you will need to invest your own money. With the lack of industry knowledge, it could easily end up as money down the drain. If you go this route, you will need some friends who know the industry better than you do. This could mean collaborating with other musicians who have been doing it longer. Or perhaps by finding the best directors to create your music videos, the best songwriters to write your songs, etc.
It is extremely hard to be successful in making a career in music but anything is possible. I saw the lack of exposure problems right at the beginning when I first started making music which is why I created Real Raw Talent TV to help other musicians get more exposure.