How do digital artists make money? Well, to date (with me), I’ve made money off the music industry in 21 different ways – and counting (although probably don’t represent the complete range of income for most an artist). Although no two careers are ever exactly alike, there are usually at least eight income streams an artist uses. When considering how you make money in the music industry, it’s important to remember that your services are marketable – if people know you, they’ll buy. If they know you, they’ll listen to your music.
One way an artist can make money off the music industry is by getting signed to a major label. Signing with a label comes with many perks, the biggest of which is an exclusivity contract, which prevents other artists from performing on the same tour as your band if you sign with them. This also gives you the opportunity to build up your record company and label contacts.
Getting signed to a major label will put you above many of your peers and give you the chance to have the best possible marketing campaign, from your record company, to your record labels, to radio stations, to film producers, and of course, the internet.
Another way that artists make money off the music industry is through touring. Tours allow an artist to meet with fans and show them around. In order to play live gigs, musicians must spend time and money traveling and meeting and communicating with fans. If fans get the feeling that you’re one of the artists they’ve been waiting to see, they will turn to you for tickets or shows. Musicians who play many shows in a row will have their name tagged constantly by fans. You can also “book” rooms at hotels, clubs, and restaurants for your shows so that you don’t have to worry about your show being booked or having to get a hotel room.
The touring stage has changed dramatically over the years. With the invention of the iPod, music industry insiders speculate that the entire music industry will be forced to re-evaluate their strategies, including touring and booking. The problem with this, according to pandemic musicians, is that it will make it more difficult for new artists to break through and build audiences. On the flip side, it’s also caused a shift in the types of places artists can play live.
For example, hip-hop artists are used to getting paid per stream, which allows them to keep the money they make from selling CDs, while indie bands struggle to get paid per stream, which is the norm in the indie world. Digital music is becoming increasingly popular with labels because it allows them to increase their profits.
Digital music contains no masters or tapes, so labels don’t need to worry about preserving music like traditional CDs. Instead, all an artist needs to do is publish their track on a website, and allow their fans to download it. The labels benefit because they get more downloads, but they aren’t losing any money, since their costs are low for promoting the track and paying artists.
As the music industry changes, and artists struggle to find ways to promote themselves and increase their audiences, streaming services are starting to replace conventional methods of promotion and circulation of music. Artists who have already released an album or song on iTunes, or have a huge fan base online, are good candidates for earning revenue through these services.
But if you’re an up and coming artist, you may not be able to fit your music into the mainstream audience that’s familiar with your music. That’s why it’s important to find an outlet for your music that doesn’t require a huge budget, and won’t require you to compromise your artistic vision. You can earn revenue through streaming as soon as next week!