Do you want to make money as a music producer? Turning your passion for making music into a full-time job providing a steady income might seem like a hard task. However there are many different ways to monetize music production other than just selling your beats. If you're looking to turn your craft into a legit income, you've come to the right site.
Nowadays a music producer can be much more than just someone who makes beats. If you're creative, you'll find that making money as a producer doesn't even have to be hard! You just have to think outside the box.
Your main income source should however be selling your beats, next to that, you can assemble your own sample packs, MIDI packs, merchandise, grow your social media to offer promotional services, make sales with affiliate links and much more. There are different tactics you can apply that can be of financial benefit.
With that many options you first have to identify what the right options are for you.
That's why we've put together a list of eight of the best ways to start earning money with music production, off which you can decide for yourself which ones you can already start doing, based on your skill level and brand awareness.
Save this article and read it back whenever you feel uninspired, and use it as a motivational tool to remind you that there's a lot of opportunities out there, even if you're just getting started.
The music production landscape in 2020
One thing i can tell you, is that the music industry keeps changing rapidly, all the time. In order to keep up, you have to be able to adapt to these changes quickly and effectively.
Back in the 90s and 2000s, there weren't a lot of ways to make money as a music producer. Your best bet would be to sign a deal with a major label and getting booked at festivals or world tours.
Of course, getting signed requires more than just hard work. You have to also know the right people, have a buzz going and a little bit of luck.
Nowadays however, with the rise of social media, anyone and everyone no matter where you're from has an opportunity to make something out of themselves without the help of these major labels.
With various social media platforms you can build yourself and your brand up brick by brick from the bottom, and even have these major labels and companies come knocking on your door eventually.
Make money by teaching music online (Easy)
If you've got serious music production skills, you can start teaching newbies how to produce by uploading helpful tutorial videos on music production. E-learning is becoming more and more popular with experts estimating that the market will reach at least $10 trillion by 2030.
Music production is one of those skills you're not really taught how to do at school. So if you have the knowledge why not share it with others eager to learn and get better. You can teach people about music theory, make technical videos on various DAWs, or simply show people your creative process when making a beat. The opportunities are limitless.
There are many ways to teach music productions. You can do seminars, write E-books, create online courses or sell your wisdom and knowledge on online learning platforms such as Skillshare, Sellfy or Udemy.
Make money as an affiliate (Easy)
If you are a music producer or artist with a decent social media presence, you can make money with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing essentially is promoting the products of companies and making a commission fee on every sale made through you.
It's important to always keep growing your social media presence as a musician because in today's game it's all about numbers. The more followers you have, the more influence you have and music companies are always looking for influential people. They can easily bring in sales by promoting products from a music company.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make an extra income and the more work and effort you put into promoting for music companies, the more money you could earn from your commission rates.
You can start making money as a Musiciangoods affiliate by signing up for our affiliate program here. We offer a 20% commission on each sale that's brought in by our affiliates. We give you complete control over what product you'd like to promote, by giving you the opportunity to create your own affiliate links for any product.
All you have to do then, is to promote your product of choice, with your personalized link embedded.
Earn money by selling beats (Easy)
Now the most obvious choice to make money as a music producer is by selling your beats. There is a huge market for Hip-Hop beats with tons of rappers and artists from all over the world, looking for that gem that might turn them into a star overnight.
If you produce in other genres, there are still plenty of opportunities out there. The easiest one however, is without a doubt Hip-Hop.
There are various popular beat selling platforms to sign up to right away. Picking the best one, comes down to personal preference. To help you get started we have listed some of the more prominent ones. These are:
Keep in mind that, similar to selling sample packs, these platforms often take a piece of your pie for taking care of some of the promotional side of the business. A way to get around this, is by selling your beats directly from your own website. This not only cuts out the middleman, but it also gives your listeners a more personalized experience.
You can add links to your beats on soundcloud and link them directly to your personal website to drive traffic. Be wary of people stealing your work (it happens all the time). One way to keep your work safe is by uploading shorter versions of the track
in question, or by adding audio tags on top of your beats in different sections of the track.
How to make money with sample packs (Intermediate)
One of the most used ways of making money with music production, is by making your own sample packs. High-quality samples are always in high demand, with producers constantly on the lookout for new, refreshing sample packs.
Nowadays with the rise of companies such as Splice, quality sound designers are in high demand. It does not matter what genre or style or background you have. If you can make high-quality sample packs, you can easily submit them to sample pack companies and start selling.
Because a lot of producers are already using this lucrative method of making money with music, you should keep in mind to offer something different. In a market so oversaturated, it's important to stand out and find more creative ways to create sample packs. You can for example, go outside with a hand-held microphone and sample directly from the outside world.
How to present your sample packs
In order to submit your sample pack to any sample pack company, you must first ensure that the presentation is well organized and professional. This means you should label your sounds, and organize your folders, making it easier for producers to find what they're look for and navigate through your samples.
You can do this by organizing sounds by type, such as drum loops, FX, Instruments etc. You can also create subfolders within these types. Subfolders can be things as 808s, Hi Hats, Cymbals, Kicks, Percs etc.
Once your sample pack folder is properly organized, you can start labelling the individual samples within your folders. Make sure to include crucial information such as the BPM of the sample, and the tonal key. You can also add in a description to make it easier for producers to find additional information. A recommended labeling is "Name of sample pack - type of element - BPM - Tonal key".
Next to sample packs, you can also make money with loop packs. A loop pack contains premade loops of drums, pianos or other instruments producers can use to chop up and use in their beats. A lot of beginner producers use loops to make music, especially when lacking knowledge on music theory.
If you're experienced with certain VSTs, like Serum or Nexus, you can create Preset Sample Packs.
Producers can then import your creation into their VST and start making music with it.
How to sell your sample packs
So you've got your sample pack organized and ready for publishing. The next step is to decide how you are going to distribute it to the right people.
The first thing you should to is reach out to sample pack companies and find out if they accept submissions for sound packs. This usually means you'll have to share a piece of the pie when it comes to profit. So make sure you know what the details are on the financial side, your share of the profit and the distribution channels.
Working with sample pack companies will give you less options on distribution and price. Sample pack companies usually offer you a split percentage ranging from 75/25, in your advantage to a 50/50 even split. The price is determined by the size of your sound pack, and is sometimes negotiable. You should count on between $15 to about $50 USD.
If you're a lesser known sound designer, companies might offer to sell your sound pack without your crediting you as the designer.
To get started here are some sample pack companies that take submissions:
Another way to sell your sample packs, is to go the independent route and do it all by yourself. The good news is, that by doing it on your own you will make a much bigger profit. The bad news is, you will have to take care of promotion yourself, which can cost you some money, unless you're already an established producer with a strong social media presence.
One of the most used platforms to sell your own sample packs is Sellfy. You can test your sample packs by giving free copies to your audience using Toneden with social unlock. Other useful platforms are Linkfire, SmartURL, Click.DJ and Hive.
A great way to see what your audience thinks about your samples, is to give them out for free. Gain some insights and feedback and try to figure out what people are looking for in sample packs. Once you've done your homework, you can try to reach out to bigger companies with a resume, to show that you're up to the task.
Make money with music on YouTube (Intermediate)
It's a great time to be a music producer. Why? Because YouTube allows you to get paid for your content! You can start by uploading your beats to your YouTube channel, offer tips & tricks, create helpful music production tutorials or even do live sessions and get paid through the super chat function.
The main way artists make money on YouTube is through ads streamed across their music videos. But this is just one way of making money on YouTube. You can also create user-generated content or get your videos sponsored by other brands.
In 2018, US advertisers spent $3.96 billion on YouTube ads. With the video streaming platform rapidly increasing, more and more musicians are putting content out on YouTube to generate extra income.
To get started, you'll need at least a 1000 subscribers, after that you can earn advertising money by turning on ads. What happens next, is that your viewers will see third-party ads on your YouTube videos, and you will earn a percentage of the ad spend. You can get paid out directly to your bank account with AdSense, and set your own payment limit.
Make money with royalties (Hard)
Let's start with one of the most consistent money making methods, which are royalties.
Royalties are earnings that go to recording artists, songwriters, composers, publishers etc. for the right to use their intellectual property (music).
Royalties are paid out when music is sold, distributed, streamed, downloaded or embedded in other media. For example, whenever christmas comes around and you play Mariah Carey's
- All I Want For Christmas Is You, she is generating money off of your spotify stream.
This is what we call Royalty Licensing and it allows you to get a fair share of profits made from an original piece of music.
Before you can start making money off of royalties, you have to register to a PRO (Performing Rights Organization) or register as an independent distributor.
We'll elaborate on this topic more later.
First you need to know is that both of these services will allow you to own copyright to your music and get paid out when they're being used.
Understanding the process can be kind of a mind twister. We will teach you the basics of Royalty Licensing first, so you know how to get paid when you release new music.
When it comes to royalties, there are many different types. These are some of the more common and important ones you should know:
Performance Royalties: Performance royalties are earnings when your music is being played or broadcasted in a nightclub, radio station, TV channel, or streamed online within for example, a DJ mix.
These royalties are not always trackable. For example your song can be included in some DJ's mix without you being informed about it. It's important to track whoever is using your music so you don't miss out on royalties you could've earned.
Mechanical Royalties: Mechanical royalties are earnings when your music is sold either physically, so on Vinyl, CDs or cassettes. In today's landscape music is being consumed more digitally. So this also applies to streaming plays on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal just to name a few, and digital downloads on Itunes, Beatport or Bandcamp.
This is where PRO's and Independent Distributors such as CDbaby and Distrokid come in handy. They help you getting paid when someone uses your music.
How to register your music with a PRO
A PRO will collect royalties on your behalf, and on behalf of the songwriters for using their intellectual property, which is their work.
A PRO does this by tracking down the volume of plays or performances your track did so you can get paid out accordingly. PRO's are primarily focused on collecting performance royalties for you.
There are various PRO's you can link up with. In the USA, these are some of the well known ones:
SESAC: SESAC collects publishing royalties or performance royalties for the Public performance of your musical works. SESAC does not take individual affiliation applications.
BMI: BMI also collects publishing royalties or performance royalties for the Public Performance of musical works. BMI is totally free of charge to join with no fees or annual payments needed.
ASCAP: ASCAP will also collect publishing royalties or performance royalties for the Public Performance of musical works. It requires a $50 one-time payment without any additional fees or annual payments.
SoundExchange: SoundExchange will collect royalties for digital public performance. Registration is free of charge.
For canadian producers/songwriters, there is SOCAN. They collect public performance royalties from public performances as defined by the US Copyright Act and will ensure that payments are issued appropriately.
If and when you sign-up with one of these PRO's, you can submit your music, manage your personal profile, and look into analytics to keep track of the performance royalties you've earned. To sign up however, you must have a US bank account.
Luckily for you, most Independent Distributors today can manage your royalties by working together with PRO's to collect royalties for you. They can also act as Publishing Administrator, collecting more types of royalties than PRO's.
We will now get into how Independent Distributors can help you earn royalties through your music.
What are independent Distributors?
Back in the earlier days of the music industry, conventional distributors used to be the only way for record labels and independent artists to get their records out to the masses.
Nowadays, digital music distribution has stepped into the game, with digital sales surpassing that of physical mediums for the first time in 2015.
As an artist, songwriter or producer, digital distribution is definitely necessary if you want to reach as many potential fans as possible. It grows your brand and visibility, gaining exposure while getting your music into the ears of as many listeners as possible. And it also helps you get paid for your work.
A Independent Distributors job is to get your music published on to the online stores you request. Such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon and so on so forth. They also handle the collection of your Mechanical Royalties.
The difference with a PRO, is that PRO's only track the royalties payable to you. They will not publish your songs. To do that, you'll still need to find a Distributor or label to take care of that.
Hands down the best thing about Independent Distributors of today's music landscape, is that it allows anybody who makes beats, sings or raps to get it out on any platform of choice, and get paid right away.
By using Independent Distributors you can easily get the business side out of your hand, allowing you to solely focus on your music instead. The Independent Distributors take care of a
ll the boring work. Some of the more familiar companies such as Tunecore and CD Baby collect performance and mechanical royalties, and will pay out every few months. They also distribute your original work to any online store of your choice.
There are many Independent Distributors out there, so to make choosing a little bit easier, we've selected some Independent Distributors that you can sign up with to start publishing your music on spotify and similar platforms.
Distrokid: $19.99 annually flat fee. You can upload unlimited songs, get instand access to Spotify for Artists through the platform and DistroKid takes 0% of your royalties. Luckily for you, Musiciangoods is an official partner and if you sign up now by using our VIP link, you'll get 7% off your first year’s membership with DistroKid
Tunecore: Tunecore offers different flat fees, $10 for single, $30 for albums (first year only, after that $50 per year), while taking 9% of your royalties.
CD Baby: Charges a flat fee, $13 per uploaded single, $49 per album, while taking 9% of your royalties.
AWAL: Charges no flat fee, but keeps 15% of your royalties.
How to license your music
Another way you can earn money with music, is by licensing your music for use on visual media. If your music is featured on TV commercials, TV shows, promotional campaigns, films and other media content, you can get paid. We call this Synchronization.
Synchronization is one of the most lucrative ways to monetize your music. It does come with more variables as you have to be able to perform under stress with tight deadlines, high expectations and the pressure to perform at a higher level. This method is therefore better suited for more experienced music producers. Comparable to stock photographers, you can make a serious living by selling your tracks as soundtracks to music libraries.
To understand how it works, you first have to understand that the music you create for licensing won't be the same music you create for labels or radioplay.
The music you create for licensing, is custom made music made produced specifically to be featured for a company's request based on the type of media. These tracks also don't have to be traditional fully finished tracks, they can also be intro songs or jingles for video content such as TV shows or video game music.
To get paid for licensing, you should upload your music to music libraries, where the producers of TV shows, promotional campaigns, films or other media will search for a piece of music fitting for their product. If they stumble upon your work and are interested, they can then purchase it.
Normally the music you might hear on TV commercials, movies or video games, have been chosen from a stock library. To help you get started, here are some of the most popular online libraries for stock music you should know about:
If you want to submit your music to any of these libraries, make sure you have a complete musical resume with high-quality work to showcase.
To make money with licensing, you should be versatile. If you are, use this to your advantage. Also make sure to let these companies know if you've released music on labels before. This will boost your chance to get featured, because it shows that you're established as a music producer.
Making money by licensing your music is really an art form in itself, you must be able to create based on something. It's different from producing for artists in that sense. To get better at it, you can try to create background music to some of your own YouTube videos, or other peoples videos.
Making money with Mixing and Mastering services (Hard)
More experienced producers, or producers with a background in audio engineering can make an extra income by offering mixing and mastering services.
If your fans regularly compliment you on how crisp your mixdowns sound, you should seriously consider offering mixing and mastering services to other producers and musicians.
One way to garner the necessary skills for mixing and mastering is by comparing your track to those of musicians you look up to. These tracks are also called reference tracks and they can be quite useful to gauge the level of your mixdowns.
In order to let other know you're offering mixing and mastering services, there are a few things you can do to promote your services to the masses:
On your personal website, make sure to let people know you're offering mixing and mastering services
If you know artists in your circle that are talented, but lack the cherry on top in terms of quality, reach out to them. Let them know you like what they're doing and offer to help them achieve a more professional sounding mix
On your social media pages, enlist that you offer mixing and mastering services in your biography, or about section
If you have a newsletter for your fans, put it to use and create an email explaining the services you offer
Make money as a ghost producer (Hard)
If you are a more experienced producer, you can also make money by offering ghost music production services. A ghost producer, basically produces tracks and sells them to other people so they can put their name on it and claim it as theirs. Famous examples of producers who use ghost producers are DJ Khaled and Dr. Dre. Keep in mind that you won't be credited for your work most of the time, but if you don't care about being credited and just want to get paid for your work, this is definitely a great option to earn some extra cash.
Industry professionals often look down on ghost production, as it is deemed inauthentic, but in today's industry it is becoming more and more acceptable.
To get you started off here are some websites you ca nrach out to offer your services as a ghost producer:
House Of Tracks
EDM Ghost Producer
EDM Ghost Production
Your Ghost Producers
We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the various different ways you can earn money as a musician in the music industry. It's up to you to pick the ones that suit you the most, but we can ensure you that any of these proven methods can help you earn a side income, or a full-time salary.
In this guide we've covered 6 different money making strategies:
Making money by teaching music online
Making money as a music affiliate
Making money by selling beats
Making money with sample packs
Making money with music on YouTube
Making money with royalties
Make money with mix/mastering services
Make money with ghost production
Keep in mind that you can do multiple strategies at once, and the more you pick, the more income you can generate for yourself. If you have a big social presence, why not try promoting for other brands! If you have tons of unused beats, upload them to a beat store. If you have a golden ear, monetize it by offering mixing/mastering services.
Let us know in the comments which other methods you use to make money with music production.