If you want the real tea on how to make money as an artist in the 21st century, stop looking at the music business right now and come over here and let me show you, what works. And if you haven’t subscribed yet, go ahead and subscribe and hit that bell to be notified. Every time we drop a new video on how to be successful and profitable as an independent artist in the new music industry.
So, Hey, if you’re new here, I’m Lindsay. And for the last 10 years, I’ve been helping artists all over the world, build frameworks for their music, businesses that become repeatable, scalable, and most importantly, help them get paid. So I am excited to share with you some of my top ways how to get paid as an independent artist in the new music business.
#1 Earn streaming royalties through digital distribution
So the number one thing is there’s a great shift happening. Have you felt it? Have you noticed that everywhere you look, every industry that’s been around for the last a hundred years seems to have something coming along and disrupting it? Well, it’s no different for the music business either.
And if you haven’t noticed, we’re shifting from a music-centric or product of music-centric, song-centric, focused business to an artist-centric focused business, right? We’re no longer focused as much on the product of the song as we are focused on the person of the artist.
So what do I mean by that? If you look at how music is monetized, we are no longer monetizing the songs at a rate that pays a living wage. So I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a whole lot of people that are getting paid a living wage by selling only their music via streaming.
So because of that, we have moved or we’ve been forced to move into a more artist-centric model of doing business because we can’t monetize our songs the same way we were able, able to monetize them in 1998, for example. So I’m curious, have you been nodding your head along with me so far? If this is resonating with you, go ahead and tap that like button and let me know in the comments as well.
Have you also been scratching your head at how to find the cash in your career? Like how do you monetize it?Right?Because if the music says these are the four ways you have to do it, how does that work? Let me know in the comments. All right. So let’s get a little more granular with this.
#2 Make money playing gigs
How are we going to turn a profit, knowing that we’re now in this artist-centric model of business and the music world now for artists, we have so many different opportunities? How do we drill down and identify how we start to generate revenue into our business? Well, we have to start with who we are and if you can easily identify in three words, don’t think about it. Just write ’em down. Think ’em say ’em whatever.
What are the three words that you would use to describe yourself? Now you might not be aware of this and your fans are typically never aware of this. But the reality is is that your fans are attracted to you in large, in part, because of those three words, it’s often not because your songs are so amazing. Your songs are probably amazing, but that’s not why the fan sticks around.
I have a good manager friend of mine that said once, and it never left me. They said, if the fan only connects to the song, then the fan only sticks around as long as the song is relevant. But if the fan connects to the artist, then you’ve made a fan for life and you have a fan that’s gonna stick with through all of the changes throughout your career.
And it’s going to fund your career time and time and time again because you’re adding value to their lives. Not because you create great music, but under who you are, the intrinsic values that you had the day you came to our side, right? Those are the things that attract your super and to you, because those are the things that, as an artist, you exude, so you wanna start looking first and foremost at who you are, what you’re here to do in the world, why you’re here to do music. What is behind all of that?
#3 Sell band merchandise online
And why are people intrigued by you? What is the value that you are adding to their lives just under being unique? The next thing you wanna look at is what special skills or expertise or level of mastery or passions do you have that you can bring to the table that can add value to the life of your fan?
So you wanna look at first and foremost, who are you, and then look at what your skills and expertise either is or has been in the past. Those are gonna be some really good clues to help you understand and formulate your brand in a way that not only highlights your music, your artistry, and your creativity but also really highlights your skill and highlights the value that you provide to your audience.
Right? So when you can start to look at it from a standpoint of, for example, I have a client who’s a personal trainer. And when we did this work together, she said that her three words were strength, hope, and courage. And I walked her through this saying, look, do you realize that regardless of, if you show up for people as the personal trainer or as the artist, you are still giving them strength, hope, and courage, just because that’s how you show up when you put on these differentiates.
Right? So she was able to build out a business that not only allowed her to use her music in, like some of her training sessions, and to develop a series of workouts that pulled from her music, but also pulled from who she was. And so she developed a series of workouts and had several different types of offers that she could offer to her fans that not only introduce people that knew her just as a trainer to her music but also introduced people who knew her from the artist’s side to her training and her workouts and her programs.
#4 Collaborate with brands and other musicians
And that was what people were paying for. So you need to consider what’s a ven diagram for you, you know, where is the place that people are attracted to you and then what are they willing to pay for? And what is that in between?
So it’s a process of looking at what do I bring into the world just under who I am and what problems do I help solve in my skill or my passions, and how can I bring those things to bear and offer something that’s gonna help my fans that they’ll pay for cuz right now they ain’t paying for my music.
They’re streaming it and they’re paying Spotify for my music and Spotify’s giving me pennies on the dollar, right? So we wanna take matters into our own hands and start to think creatively. And we’re artists. We have a leg up on creativity.
You can start to think about this and start to put some pieces together and identify how can I show up for people in my audience and be my best, highest self and offer them something that helps them get to where they wanna go ultimately in their life too, by marrying my music with my skillset.
So last but not least, we need to understand how to monetize in the digital space. And most artists, I think at this point have kind of in some way or another given up on the label system. But at the same time, we’re still very conditioned to be looking to the music business, to take our cues on how to our career, right?
There are a lot of artists that are like, I totally wanna be independent, but they’re still trying to take their cues on how to market and build their business the way that the label system does it. And it just doesn’t work for independent artists. The main thing independent artists need to be looking at is how online entrepreneurs successful online entrepreneurs are running their businesses.
#5 Sell beats and samples
Online entrepreneurs are not hiring a label or some sort of team that they’re then going to say, Hey, here’s what I wanna do. I just wanna be the star. You guys go build the career for me.No, they are saying, I know I’m a star. I am going to hire the team that will help me execute the things that I need to do to make this go where it needs to go.
They’re using people like for, or assistants and online business managers and people in that sphere that will help them build their business digitally. They’re not looking at hiring people like marketing and radio and PR. They’re looking at people who understand how to drive traffic, who know how to do digital marketing, that know how to convert passive followers, to paying fans.
That is where artists need to be looking today. They need to become experts in digital marketing and sales, psychology, and conversion. And that’s, what’s gonna help you build from that place that we just talked about in your ven diagram, whatever you can provide to your audience from your own set of skills, from your passions, from your music, from your creativity and art, and how can you apply that in the digital space in a way that is effective, not in terrestrial marketing red record label radio land, because it just doesn’t work unless you have that kind of budget.
So I wanna tell you a quick story. I was talking with one of the clients that were in my mastermind last year. And she was telling me about a conversation that she had with a friend over lunch. And this friend happened to work in the music publishing industry. She was in music publishing and she asked my client. She said, so, you know, now that you’re in Nashville, are you wanting to, you know, get a publishing deal? And my client said, no, I wanna make money.
#6 Teach music classes or sell lessons
I was like, yes, I was so proud of her because people still don’t understand, like those kinds of deals. It’s just, it’s not, How do I say this? And not sound like a total. It’s just not gonna be the end all be all. It’s not the career-making move that most people think it’s going to be. And so if you’re feeling this right now, if you like are resonating at all with what I’m sharing, I would love to invite you to book a call with me.
If you would like to learn how to build your business in a way that you’re in complete control of, you’re not outsourcing your power to a record label system. And you’re learning how to build a business that is repeatable and consistent and scalable and profitable in the digital space. And again, where you are in the driver’s seat.
So I wanna invite you to book in, to call the link is below, and I would be happy to walk you through a strategy session, how we can do this for your unique career. Thank you so much for hanging out with me here. I hope this little chat was helpful and be sure to subscribe. If you want more real talk on how to truly thrive and build a business that’s profitable as an independent artist in the new music industry.