20 Ways to Make Money as a Musician

Sound Engineer Live Performance

Music is an ever-evolving industry with a wide range of job opportunities for those passionate about it. If you're thinking about making a career out of music, it is important to understand that the industry can be competitive. Success requires dedication and hard work. But if you persevere, a career in music can be incredibly rewarding and bring a great deal of joy and satisfaction to those who pursue it.

There are many different paths one can take, depending on their interests and skillset. From producers and composers to sound engineers and music directors, the top 20 jobs in music are varied and offer something for everyone. Whether you’re a musician, performer, music aficionado or simply someone with a passion for the industry, our extensive top 20 list offers a wide range of options for you to make good money or pursue a career.

1. Making Money as a Musician

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Let's start with the lavish "rockstar" persona that comes to mind when thinking about the music industry. Becoming a music celebrity or influencer isn't for everyone, but also doesn't have to be. For those who love to play music, write songs, learn covers and/or perform live, the industry offers many ways to make a living. While it can be competitive, those who are determined to succeed can make a lucrative career out of it.

The first step is to decide if your interests lie in teaching, creating your own music, or performing as a live, as vocations can go any very different directions based on this. From teaching at the elementary or university level, composing and producing music, or designing soundscapes for movies and video games, the opportunities are varied and diverse. If playing music is what you love to do, here are a few opportunities to consider.

1. Music Teacher

If you’re an experienced musician with good communication and interpersonal skills and a passion for helping others, a career or side hustle as a music teacher could be a very rewarding option. You could teach private lessons, group lessons, online lessons, or pursue a career in academics. This is a great way to make money while helping others achieve their musical goals.

Teaching can take many forms, and the approach and curriculum can vary depending on the level of the students. It's important to take into account your comfort level with advanced concepts, as well as the age and maturity level of the students you feel most confident in interacting with. Teaching music to elementary school students often involves introducing them to basic musical concepts and encouraging their creativity through simple instruments and activities. High school music teachers may focus more on developing technical skills and preparing students for musical performances and competitions. University-level music instruction may be more specialized and focused on preparing students for careers in music composition, performance, or education. In addition to traditional school settings, some music teachers may also offer independent lessons to students of all ages and skill levels, allowing for a more personalized and flexible approach to instruction.

Becoming a music teacher requires a combination of education and experience. While not always necessary, in most cases a candidate should obtain a degree in music education from an accredited college or university. Music teachers should also gain experience teaching music through internships, volunteer work, or private instruction. With the proper qualifications and experience, you can become a successful music teacher and help others explore their love of music.

2. Performing Live

One of the most obvious ways to make money in the music industry is to become a performer. Whether you’re a singer, a rapper, a guitarist, or a drummer, you can make money by performing your music in front of live audiences. You could also make money by touring, selling merchandise, and getting your music featured in films, television, commercials, and other media outlets. If you're just getting started as a musician, checkout our articles on how to start a band, and about the digital side of modern music.

This type of work comes with a lot of advantages: the energy of a live performance, the ability to connect with an audience, the ability to refine your craft in front of a live audience, and of course, the satisfaction of getting to share your music with the world. However, performing live can also be a challenge. It can be a lot of work to prepare for a live performance, the pressure of performing in front of a live audience can be daunting and nerve-wracking, and there are a lot of technical aspects to consider such as sound, lighting, etc. It's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of performing live before investing too much into this as a career path.

3. DJ

DJs are also live performers, but from bedroom producers to tour-level DJs, they tend to have a wider range of options than a typical band. Live DJs can be found playing music at events for crowds of all sizes. Turntablists specialize in manipulating and scratching vinyl, while club DJs focus on keeping people on the dance floor. But the art can also extend to radio and broadcasting.

Radio DJs are responsible for broadcasting music for listeners, including creating engaging content; selecting, finding, and playing music; interviewing guests; and engaging with listeners via calls and social media. They often work with producers to create segments and special broadcasts, as well as contribute to the station's overall sound and image. They're also responsible for reading promotional spots, and for keeping up with current trends in music and the radio industry.

4. Music Producer

If you’re musically inclined and enjoy engineering, producing, and mixing music, you could make good money by becoming a music producer. You could work on projects for established artists or produce music for up-and-coming musicians. The pay can vary depending on the type of project and the client, but it can be very lucrative.

When you're just getting started, producing can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don't have a lot of experience. The good news is that with today's technology, anyone can become a music producer. The first step is to learn some basic music production skills. You can do this by taking classes, reading books, or watching tutorials online. And you'll need to invest in the right software. Music producing programs allow users to create and edit music without the need for expensive studio equipment and a dedicated recording space. Popular programs like FL Studio, Ableton Live, and Logic Pro offer a wide range of features, from sound manipulation to advanced mixing capabilities.

Once you have a good understanding of the basics, you'll need to get some equipment. It's best to start off with basic recording equipment like a computer, audio interface, and some microphones.

Once you have all of the equipment and software that you need, it's time to start making music. Start by producing some tracks for yourself and then experiment with different sounds and ideas. When you're comfortable with your skills, you can start reaching out to local artists and bands to produce their music.

6. Music Artist Management

Music Artist Management Consultant Agent

Working in music artist management can be an exciting and dynamic career path for those with a love of music and a talent for business. As an artist manager, you would be responsible for guiding the career of a musician or group, making sure they get the best gigs, recording deals, and exposure. Publishers help artists monetize their music by promoting it and collecting royalties. Agents, on the other hand, work to get their clients the best possible deals for live performances and appearances. Consultants work with artists on a project basis to provide expertise on specific areas of their career. Music management can be a demanding job, but for those with a passion for music, it can be incredibly rewarding and prosperous.

5. Music Manager

Music managers help artists with the business side of their career. They help manage their finances, book gigs, and negotiate deals. Music managers usually get a percentage of the artist’s income, so it can be a very lucrative job.

To become a music manager, one must possess a combination of business acumen, industry knowledge, and an extensive network of contacts. It is also important to have a deep passion for the music industry and the artists or bands you are managing. Additionally, gaining experience through internships and any other type of work in the industry is extremely beneficial. Don't worry about the money at first. Just try to get your foot in the door.

6. Music Agent

Music agents help musicians book gigs and negotiate contracts. They also help musicians get signed to labels and find other opportunities in the industry. Music agents typically get paid a commission from the deals they make, so it can be a very profitable line of work.

You can attempt to do this on your own, starting off by scouting and working with smaller artists. Or you can try to get hired by an agency. Agency work can be a fulfilling and exciting job. You get to help talented people find success and advance their careers, which is incredibly rewarding. It can also be a great way to learn about the entertainment industry and make important connections.

7. Music Consultant

Music consulting includes some really big names like Quincy Jones, who has won 28 Grammy Awards, and has produced and written music for Michael Jackson, and has produced and arranged music for many other artists. Dr. Dre is another successful music consultant, who has won six Grammy Awards and has produced and written many hit albums. Timbaland, who has won eight Grammy Awards, is another successful music consultant, having produced and written music for artists such as Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado. These successful music consultants have achieved their success by producing and writing popular and critically acclaimed music, and by working with some of the most successful artists in the music industry.

This profession helps music industry professionals with various aspects of their career. They may offer advice on marketing, writing songs, or even how to get signed to a label. Music consultants typically charge an hourly rate and can make a very good living helping others in the industry.

8. Music Publisher

Music publishing can be a very profitable business. A music publisher buys the rights to songs from composers and lyricists, and then licenses the songs to other artists or media outlets. Music publishers make money from the royalties they collect from the licensing deals they make.

To get started, first you need to decide what type of music you will be publishing. You should also create a business plan that includes how you will distribute the music, how you will market it, and how you will collect royalties. Once you have a plan, you should research the music industry and learn how to network with labels, artists, and other music publishers. Finally, you should register your publishing company and create a website to showcase your music.

We have a lot of information on music distribution, music marketing, branding and website development, and promoting on TikTok, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Contact us for more information or assistance in these areas.

9. Record Label Employee

A record label is responsible for many different types of jobs. From A&R (artists and repertoire) to marketing, a record label is responsible for recruiting, developing and promoting artists. A&R is responsible for scouting, signing and developing talent. They are responsible for finding and negotiating with artists and helping them to create their debut albums. 

They have marketing departments responsible for creating promotional campaigns and executing strategies to reach potential fans. They work to create awareness of the artist and their music. They also manage the artist’s public image and oversee tour and show promotion.

Labels also employ producers, songwriters, audio engineers, and other music industry professionals. These professionals help to shape the sound of the music, record and mix tracks, to create a finished product.

Record labels also employ those who manage the business side of things, such as contracts, distribution and royalty payments.

12. Music Assistance

Sound Engineer Live Performance

Assisting musicians can be a fulfilling career choice that provides many profitable opportunities. Sound engineers are responsible for ensuring that the music sounds great, while roadies help set up and take down the equipment for live performances. Band promoters work to build a musician's fan base and organize concerts, while also managing the marketing and advertising aspects of their music. With so many different options to choose from, assisting musicians is a great way to become an integral part of the music industry while also earning a living doing what you love.

10. Sound Engineer

Sound engineers are responsible for the technical aspect of music production. They work in the recording studio and are responsible for setting up the equipment, recording the audio, and mixing the audio to create the final product. A good sound engineer can make a good living working in the music industry.

To get started working as a sound engineer, it is important to first gain experience with sound equipment and familiarize yourself with the recording process. Additionally, having an understanding of the music industry and the various roles within it can be beneficial. Networking with other professionals in the field is a great way to gain insight and make connections.

11. Roadie

A roadie is an unsung hero of any band's live performance. They are responsible for setting up and breaking down equipment, performing technical duties, and sometimes helping out with logistics. Roadies must have a good understanding of the band's equipment, including sound and lighting systems, as well as a general knowledge of all of the systems that are used in a live show. They must also be able to troubleshoot and repair any equipment that may malfunction during a show. Roadies are also responsible for packing and transporting the band's equipment and instruments to and from gigs. Finally, they are responsible for maintaining the stage and making sure that all of the equipment is secure.

12. Band Promoter

Music promoters are responsible for promoting concerts, festivals, and other events. They work with venues, artists, and promoters to make sure that events are well-attended. Music promoters are usually paid a commission based on the number of tickets they sell.

16. Music Journalism

Journalism Blogging Writing

Music journalism is an exciting field that offers a variety of opportunities for those who have a passion for music and writing. As a music journalist, you can explore different genres of music, attend concerts, and interview musicians. You can also write album reviews, feature stories, and news articles about the music industry. Working in music journalism allows you to share your love of music with others and provide insight into the creative process behind it.

13. Music Journalist

Music journalists write about music and the music industry for various publications. They may write interviews with artists, reviews of albums, and explain the music industry to the public. Music journalists can make a good living, especially if they work for a prestigious publication.

In order to get a job it is important to first have a strong portfolio of published work, as well as a deep understanding and knowledge of the field. Our next job (music blogger) is a great way to start and build a portfolio. It is also important to network and attend industry events, as well as stay up to date on the latest news and trends in the industry. Additionally, having a degree in journalism or a related field can help give you an edge in the job search.

14. Music Blogger

Similar to journalists, bloggers write about the music industry and trends in the industry. They can make money by selling advertising, writing sponsored content, or even getting paid to review certain albums or artists. Blogs have become a great way to make some money on the side, or to use to work towards a profession in journalism.

19. Music Industry Sales

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Working in music sales offers a unique opportunity to combine a passion for music with a career in sales. From selling merchandise at concerts to working in a music store, the music industry has a wide variety of sales roles available. Whether you're selling albums, instruments, or concert tickets, working in music sales can be a great way to connect with fans and help support artists.

15. Music Merchandise Vendor

Music merchandise like t-shirts, hats, and stickers are popular among music fans. If you’re creative and have a good eye for design, you could make money by creating and selling music merchandise. You could sell your designs online or at concerts and festivals.

Once you know what types of music items you want to sell, you should do some market research, such as what prices competitors are charging and the trends in the industry. You'll need to find a reliable source for your merchandise, such as a wholesaler or manufacturer. And you'll need to set up a website or online store to market and sell your products.

The most common places to sell music merchandise are online stores such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. These sites offer a wide variety of products and allow you to reach a large audience of potential customers. You could also consider setting up a website or selling on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Local music stores and festivals can also be great places to sell merchandise, as they provide an atmosphere for fans to connect with the musicians they love and purchase items related to them.

16. Music Store Jobs

Working in a music store can be a fun and creative job. It can be a great way to meet and connect with musicians while exploring and learning more about music. As a store employee, you would be responsible for helping customers select instruments, equipment, and music, as well as helping them troubleshoot any problems they may have. You would also be responsible for keeping the store organized and clean, and for stocking the shelves with new products. Working in a music store can be a great way to stay involved in the music industry and to develop a deeper understanding of the music world.

17. Record Store Jobs

Working in a record store can be a great job for someone who loves music. This job not only allows you to be around music all day, but also helps you to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the industry. You also get to meet and interact with other music lovers and help others find the music they love. You must also have a working knowledge of the music industry and its different formats and genres. Working in a record store also requires excellent customer service skills and the ability to work with a variety of personalities. All in all, working in a record store can be a great and rewarding job.

23. Specialized Music Skills

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The music industry is a multifaceted landscape that requires a diverse set of skills and expertise. For those who possess specialized skills such as legal knowledge, event coordination or music video directing, there are numerous opportunities to make a career in music. From protecting artists' intellectual property rights to coordinating concerts and festivals, the music industry needs skilled professionals who can make it run smoothly. Whether you're a lawyer, event coordinator, or music video director, the music industry offers a range of rewarding and challenging opportunities for those who are passionate about music and have the necessary skills to succeed.

18. Music Video Director

Music video directors are responsible for creating the visuals for a song or video. They work with the artist and the record label to create a video that will help promote the song and increase sales. Music video directors can make a good living and help create visuals that will be seen by millions of people.

19. Event Planner or Coordinator

Event planners and coordinators are responsible for the successful and efficient execution of events, including MUSIC! They create, plan, direct and coordinate events and activities, both small and large, including weddings, corporate events, conferences, conventions, parties, and celebrations. They are highly organized professionals who are able to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines at once.

Music event planning requires problem solvers who can think quickly and efficiently on their feet. They must be able to work with all types of people, from vendors and clients to staff and guests. They must also be able to handle a variety of tasks, from budgeting and contract negotiations to setting up the event space and managing vendors. Additionally, they must have an eye for detail and be able to ensure that all the pieces come together for a successful event.

20. Music Lawyer

Music law is a broad topic encompassing a variety of legal issues that musicians and other industry professionals may encounter. These issues include copyright law, artist contracts, intellectual property, and licensing agreements – all of which are important to understand when creating and distributing music. Music law also covers matters related to the live performance of music, such as venue contracts and artist rights. It is important to understand the legal framework of the music industry in order to protect your interests and ensure that your rights are respected.

Lawyers that choose to work in this industry, specialize in the legal side of music. They help artists negotiate contracts, protect their intellectual property, and handle any other legal matters related to their work.

Music lawyers can make a very good living. But to become one, you must first have a very strong understanding of both music and the law. This requires a solid education, including a bachelor's degree in either music or law, as well as a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school. Additionally, music lawyers should have knowledge of contract law, copyright law, and the music industry in order to be successful.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're a musician or music aficionado, there are many ways to make money doing what you love. In order to make a career of it, it is important to have a good understanding of the industry itself, as well as of the various roles within it. It is also important to have a strong network of people in the industry who can provide advice and support. And having a good understanding of the various tools and technologies available to create, produce, and promote music is essential.

Music is an art form that requires creativity and passion. It is not just a job that can be done simply for the money. Music professionals don't just punch a click. They have a love and appreciation for music and the work involved with it. While it can be a difficult path, those who choose to pursue a career in music can find a great deal of satisfaction and joy in their work.

We love hearing from our readers. If there are any music related jobs we left out that you think should be included, contact us and let us know!

Leave a Reply!

Mia Evans

Thanks for helping me understand that the technical part of sound engineers. It seems that they are a huge part of creating music to ensure that everything is in proper order to achieve high-quality outcomes. Because of that, even hiring their services to setup a home theater might be a good idea to achieve a cinema-like experience even in our own place.

Kuthropathie

Like anything else, you get out what you put in. Work hard and you can make a solid career out of music. But play around and don't work to actually improve and learn, and you'll be playing the same rathole clubs 20 years from now!

James Rhodey

Wait... You can make money as a rodie?

Band Pioneer

For sure. Spend some time working with a successful band, and regardless of the task, it's a strong reference to branch out into other areas. Exposure and experience.

Matt Roper

Thank you for compiling this list! As a full-time music instructor, which doesn't pay much, it's great to learn about so many options to use to make additional money on the side. So many music teachers bail out for other careers instead. You don't have to give up on your dreams!

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