Thriving in the music industry is often a blend of creativity, resilience, and strategic monetization. In a landscape where streaming royalties often feel like drops in the bucket, artists are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to bolster their income streams. 

Here at SongTools, we're all about equipping artists with the know-how to navigate the complexities of the music business. The goal of this list is not to list off all of the known income streams artists receive (Streams, Merch Sales, Live Show Ticket Sales), rather to think of some alternative methods to pad your pockets while leaving time to continue doing what you love most - creating music.

  1. Affiliate Marketing for Music Products: If you use certain music equipment or software, becoming an affiliate marketer can be a natural fit. Create content around products you genuinely enjoy and use affiliate links to earn a commission on sales made through your referral. Want to join Guitar Center's Affiliate Program which pays 6% to 8% commissions? All you need is a website. Gear4Music also has a leading affiliate program for all sorts of equipment. 

**Shameless Plug**

Songtools will be shortly launching an INCREDIBLE affiliate program that will not only generate tons of income for its existing members, but will also make it easier for new artists to get started on their music growth journey. Write to us at if you're interested in getting an early peek.** 

  1. Street Performing and Local Gigs: Don't underestimate the power of grassroots! Performing in local venues or even street performing (busking) can provide direct exposure and an immediate way to earn. Always check local regulations regarding busking and leverage these performances to promote your online presence. In major cities, successful street performers can make $800 to $2,000 a week. In New York, individual performers can make upwards of $4,000!
  1. Social Content Creation: Brands understand that User Generated Content is what converts on TikTok and Instagram. Want to make anywhere from $20 to $200 per piece of video content? Use your creative chops and sign up to be a professional social content creator on one of the many emerging platforms like Social Native. Some creators on there claim to have purchased their homes solely on their earnings!  
  1. Teaching and Workshops: You've got skills, so why not share them? Host music lessons, songwriting workshops, or webinars on industry insights. With today's technology, you can do this locally or reach an international audience online. According to ZipRecruiter, online music teachers make $26 per hour on average! Better than being a barista?
  1. Custom Experiences: Early in your career, your most dedicated fans will likely be friends, family, or local supporters. Offer personalized song recordings for special occasions, private virtual concerts, or custom-written songs for birthdays or anniversaries. It's a unique offering that can help you stand out and build a strong, loyal fanbase. Don't know where to begin? Check out Songfinch. It's a platform that allows artists to create custom songs for listeners.
  1. Creating Sample Packs and Sound Libraries: Producers and fellow musicians are always on the hunt for fresh sounds. Capitalize on this by creating and selling your own sample packs, instrument presets, or even sound effects. You can then sell these sample packs in different marketplaces. 
  1. Songwriting Contests and Competitions: There are numerous songwriting contests available worldwide that not only offer cash prizes but also provide exposure and credibility. Winning or even just participating can lead to more fans and recognition in the industry. Make sure to check out BMI Foundation for a list of its competitions, awards, and grants. 
  1. Crowdfunding for Projects: Platforms like Kickstarter allow your fans to be part of your creative journey. It's not just about asking for money; it's about engaging your audience and offering exclusive content or experiences in return for their support.
  1. Content Writing and Blogging: Use your musical journey to inspire content on blogs or social media. Share your experiences, lessons learned, and industry insights. Monetize your blog through affiliate marketing, setting up a Fiverr profile to write in the music niche, or start a paid newsletter once you've built up an audience.
  1. Digital Tip Jars: When performing online or sharing content, have digital tip jars like Patreon, PayPal, Venmo, or Cash App links readily available. Fans who want to support you can give directly, especially when they know it's going straight to the artist.
  1. NFTs and Digital Art: Welcome to the new frontier. NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) allow you to sell digital art, exclusive audio tracks, or even experiences in a way that verifies authenticity and scarcity. It's a realm worth exploring as the digital space continues to grow.

Diversification is the name of the game. While streams and record sales are part of the equation, they're often just the starting point. 

We're committed to empowering artists to thrive in this multifaceted business. Our suite of tools and resources are designed to streamline your processes and amplify your reach, giving you more time to focus on your passion: making music that resonates and endures.

Remember, the journey doesn't have to be overwhelming. Start with one or two avenues that align with your brand and watch your empire grow. The opportunities are boundless for those willing to explore them!

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