How to Realistically Make Money as an Independent Artist

While making music is a labor of love for most musicians, day-to-day life requires more practical considerations. What is a realistic expectation of independent artist money sources available to musicians today?

Future of Music Coalition has identified an incredible 45 different revenue streams that exist for independent artist money potential. Clearly, it’s not practical for you to pursue every one or even most of those avenues.

Here’s a breakdown of the more common ways an independent artist can monetize their work. Use this list to focus your efforts in the directions that are most likely to pay off.

Breakdown of Independent Artist Money Streams

  • At 30 percent, touring and live shows make up the largest share of an independent artist’s income that’s directly related to their individual work.
  • Recorded music (including streaming services) and songwriting form 12 percent of overall income. Of course, you can earn money from composing songs that are recorded by other performers as well as yourself.
  • Up to 10 percent comes from gigs as a session musician.
  • Merchandise sales represent only about two percent of income, but these products provide a greater intangible value in terms of promotion your brand.
  • Most independent artists augment their income through sidelines such as teaching or performing with a symphony or ensemble. This accounts for 40 percent of the income pie.
  • The remaining eight percent comes from a miscellaneous mix of activities. Some of the more lucrative ones include sponsorship, crowdfunding and website ad revenue.

Clear Lake Recording Studios: The #1 Choice for Independent Artists

“Independent” doesn’t have to mean “bare bones.” Clear Lake Recording Studios offers an experienced and professional staff along with world-class equipment at prices that a novice artist can afford. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and studio tour.