10 Ways Musicians Make Money Without Sacrificing Creative Freedom

Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise Combines Her Music With Her Activism
Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise Combines Her Music With Her Activism
Infowars' Creative Marketing!
Infowars’ Creative Marketing!

Vengeancia (updated February 18, 2014) Happy Valentine’s Day! Here are some thoughts on becoming successful, self-governing and self-sustaining with your music, beginning with an article from Jo-Ná A. Williams, published at Reverb Nation. But first…..

“Nothing says femininity like field stripping an MP5 with a fresh coat of nail polish…..” Bunny Hunter gives LeeAnn McAdoo a lesson in real feminism…. Also, “Officer Jouppi has been found ‘not guilty’ of all charges in connection to a video showing him attack a citizen in a wheelchair.” Wow. It gets worse: Is your car on a “hot list of target vehicles”? Read more February 2014 News. Also, check out No Depression. Check out PearlTrees. ¿Hablas español? Check out these videos from Johnny Guzman.

Rockstar and Outdoorsman Ted Nugent combines his music and activism
Ted Nugent combines his music and activism

“Formerly Western CPAC, The Western Conservative Conference is a place to discuss the important issues facing America. This year we are planning important panels on Immigration, Taxes, Attacks on the Tea Party, States Rights… guest speakers include … Neal Boortz, Rocker Ted Nugent, Actor Steven Segal, Representatives Paul Gosar and David Schweikert.” Read more.

“Ted Nugent is many things to many people: rock star, guitar god, hunter extraordinaire, NRA poster boy, author, blogger and celebrity hunting show host of the extremely popular ‘Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild’ on the Outdoor Channel. During his trip to Harrisburg last week to take part in the first Great America Outdoor Show at the Farm Show Arena, the NRA-owned show that replaced the defunct Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show, Nugent made headlines, friends and enemies for his stances on God (in favor of), guns (in favor of) and the government (decidedly against).” Read more.

Reverb Nation “Due to collapsing album sales, piracy, and less money generated from digital downloads, artists are now faced with the question, “How do I make money with my music?” Well, if the sales aren’t cutting it and the only people at your shows are your family and a few high-school classmates, how will you really make a living with your art?

Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise Combines Her Music and Activism
Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise Combines Her Music and Activism

“I’m sure you know licensing and live shows are great money generators for musicians, but what are some less common ways that artists are making money in the music industry today? I’ve spoken to musicians on this topic recently and here are 10 ways that artists are making good money, maintaining their creative freedom all while paying the rent:

  1. Hold live online shows

    Create an online streaming concert and charge your fans and followers to watch your live performance from the comfort of their home. Great way to increase your fan base and take full advantage of technology. Try the site Stageit.com. They allow you to perform a live streaming concert for a portion of your ticket sales and they even allow fans to tip you while you’re performing!

  2. Become a partner with YouTube

    Partnering with YouTube on your channel is a great way to generate revenue by allowing ads and placements.

  3. Music for web-shows

    The web-show movement is booming and many shows need songs for their introductions or throughout their episodes and they can’t pay the hefty licensing fees for mainstream music. This is also a way to expose your music to larger audience. Start by contacting some of your favorite web-shows via sites like YouTube and Vimeo. Ask them if they are looking for original music to add to upcoming episodes. Be sure to include web-links in your correspondence so they can easily access samples of your music.

  4. Compose for Off-Broadway shows

    Theatre productions need great composers for their music. This is an awesome revenue stream if you can snag a position on a new play — it’s less common but lucrative way to make money. These gigs are generally through the web of networking. I never recommend agents because they tend to only work with people that have BUZZ or through their own networks. But If you can connect with OTHER artists via networking…you’d be surprised how you can get a great gig. I know some musicians that have contacted theatre companies in their area to see what new projects they are developing and snagged jobs this way. If you don’t have a theatre in your area, tap into your web of artists. Sometimes musicians know other performing artists that need help with their plays and productions. Get creative!

  5. Become an affiliate

    Many companies that you love have affiliate programs. If you promote their products or services to your email lists and people purchase as a result, these companies will give a percentage of the proceeds to you. Don’t you love getting unexpected checks in the mail?  An example of  a great company with affiliate programs is Ariel Publicity. Visit the site for details on how to become an affiliate.

  6. Start your own publishing company

    Publishing your own music is great because if you enter into co-publishing agreements with larger companies not only will you get your writer’s share of royalties, you’ll also get ½ of publishing royalties. First step to starting your own company is to register the proper business entity within your state. For example, a Limited Liability Company or Corporation. Next, register your songs as a publisher with a performing rights society such as ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC. These steps will put you in the driver’s seat as your own publisher. Get those royalties!

  7. Be a freelance sound engineer

    As a musician you have a great ear for sound so put it to good use. Companies, events, and less-experienced performers need someone to oversee the sound in their productions.

  8. Pre-sell your upcoming album

    Pre-selling your album gives you the money to produce a higher-quality product. Not only is this a great way to get cash flowing to your new project, this is also a way to generate excitement for your upcoming album with your fans! Free marketing AND money, where do I sign up?

  9. Rent your studio

    If you have home studio where you’re producing your own music, share the wealth!  Some artists need quality production of their music and they can’t afford the larger studios. This is a great way to help your fellow musicians and make money at the same time.

  10. Build your email list

    This is an age-old marketing tactic that you definitely want to incorporate into your life as an artist. You don’t want to have your fan base only connected to your social media. What if that method goes away? You’ve lost them and you have to start all over. Always have someone to market your next product or concert to by building your list. Add links to your music on iTunes or your new merch. Use Reverb Nation’s mailing newsletters option to give you a professional and fun way to connect with your fans.

“As an independent artist, I know that you would prefer to have all your money come from the screaming fans at your concerts or people clamoring to get your CD, but the reality is, you have to make ends meet until you finally reach your stride in your career. Take at least one of these ideas, apply it and then take that revenue and re-invest it into your career. Careful planning and monetizing every aspect of your art is the key to success in this industry. It’s time. Let’s do this!

“This guest post is written by Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq., a former vocalist and songwriter and a solo practitioner with her own firm in New York…” Read more.

Related posts courtesy of Reverb Nation:

  1. Crowdfunding campaign fail? 5 key tips to get the money flowing fast
  2. 7 Ways to Build Music Business Contacts
  3. Top 5 Ways to Sell More Music and Merchandise
  4. Licensing Success in Seven Steps: Reverb Artist Shares her Secrets
  5. Why Musicians Don’t Need to be Signed to be Successful

“Nkeiru Okoye [in KEAR roo oh KOY yeh] is an established voice in new music. Her works have been performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Virginia Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and countless regional orchestras” Read more. The blurb, below, discusses Nkeiru’s experience and inspiration related to her works exploring the life of Harriett Tubman.

“WHEN Nkeiru Okoye, a composer who lives in Massapequa, decided to move beyond the mostly orchestral works she had written, she set out to create some vocal music. Envisioning an oratorio, Ms. Okoye (pronounced oh-KOY-yeh), who is of African-American and Nigerian descent, felt that ‘a black woman would be a natural subject.’”

HARRIET TUBMAN is a two act theatrical work from Composer Nkeiru Okoye
HARRIET TUBMAN is a two act theatrical work from Composer Nkeiru Okoye

“Living in Baltimore at the time, around eight years ago, she focused on Harriet Tubman, the runaway slave born on Maryland’s Eastern Shore who repeatedly led other slaves north to freedom through the secret network of safe houses and routes of the Underground Railroad.

“‘I just poured myself into that research,’ Ms. Okoye said in a telephone interview. She used her recovery time from a car accident to scour past and recent accounts of Tubman and her times. As the oratorio grew into the makings of a full-fledged opera, she also produced a cycle of four songs — arias from the opera — that could be sung independently.

“Those ‘Songs of Harriet Tubman,’ which were completed in 2007, will be a centerpiece of ‘A Ride on the Underground Railroad,’ ….

Composer Nkeiru Okoye
Composer Nkeiru Okoye

“Ms. Okoye, 39, an adjunct assistant professor of music at Hofstra, is hosting the event and will provide some narration. ‘I’m going to take you through a ride on the Underground Railroad,’ she said. ‘A lot of people think it was an actual train.’

“Parts of the concert will explore ‘coded spirituals,’ whose lyrics were embedded with hidden messages alerting slaves to coming escapes or routes to freedom. One piece on the program, for instance, is ‘Wade in the Water’ (arranged by Chandler Carter, a Hofstra professor of music). ‘It tells you the best way to avoid capture if dogs are chasing you,’ Ms. Okoye said.

“‘Coded messages are also the basis for Julius P. Williams’s ‘Fantasy for Violin and Chamber Orchestra,’ composed for the concert. The work is based on the spiritual ‘The Gospel Train,’ whose lyrics relay that ‘the Gospel train’s a’comin’, I hear it just at hand …’” Read more.

MK Lords: “I got to sit down with Tatiana Moroz, a prominent musician in the liberty and bitcoin communities, to discuss topics of music, bitcoin, and much more. Tatiana views music as one of the best ways to spread the message of bitcoin and liberty, and has thrived in the scene.” Check out this recent interview with our Featured Musician, Tatiana Moroz:

Here are some recent thoughts from our Featured Musician, Gabrielle Louise:

Happy Winter, friends!

What I’m learning about yurt life is this – The central component, indeed the key element to happiness, actually, better put, the PRIORITY relationship in your life is the wood burning stove. You have to think ahead to please her, learn to coax the crackle and snap of seething warmth from her lungs by a delicate series of intricate steps, pleas, seductions, and prayers.

If she’s not happy, nobody’s happy. And that’s the goddamn truth.

Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise explores alternative living in a "Yurt."
Featured Musician Gabrielle Louise explores alternative living in a “Yurt.”

But I’ve got the rhythm now, and I must confess I’m very happy. It’s been snowing since I arrived, and that’s a charming contrast to the 70 degree weather of southern New Mexico, where the “central components” of my life for the last two months had been a cup of tea in the sunroom, a bicycle and a light shawl. For once my mind is in the same place as my body, and time is passing smoothly. It’s as though someone had cranked and oiled the seconds.

I was making soup in the kitchen one evening while the long light of the short day lay like chicken broth on the wooded lot next door, and it seeped in from the windows, and it spilled upon the floor in golden rods and lines. A car drove by. I chopped an onion, crying.

And for once I wasn’t crying from the onion.

It’s just that simple things please me.

I’m headed to Denver in a few days to play two shows, and then to the east coast for the briefest of visits before I board the plane to South America again. I’ve been spending a lot of time planning out tours for April and June, too.

The rhythm I’ve found is movement, and I’m just beginning my spinning. I’m not sure where or how I’ll land. I don’t mind the ambiguity, but maybe I’ll see you somewhere in the journey.

You can find me on February 15th in Coal Creek Canyon for a Valentines Weekend themed show. My brother will be opening the evening with his instrumental duo project that he calls “More Than Physics.” I’m really looking forward to hearing his set. Brodie Kinder will join me for some new duets, including some really classic old country songs I learned down in New Mexico.

February 21st Brodie and I will perform at the Mercury Cafe in downtown Denver. This time Brodie will open the show with some of his new original songs. As for myself, I’m looking forward to playing a tune or two on the piano – I’ve been squirreling away hours remembering content from childhood piano lessons. It’s great fun.

If you’re East Coast based, catch Dave Kaye and I giving a guest set at Walrus & Carpenter on Wed, February 26th. Our friends Meradith DiMenna and John Torres present a great weekly series there featuring music written before the 1960s. I think they call it their “Prohibition Night.” 🙂

See you soon!

In Joy,

Gabrielle Louise

P.S. My friends at the Paradise Theater in Paonia, CO are in a pickle. They’ve launched a Kickstarter. Please support them! I love this theater……Read more at Gabrielle’s website.

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