A List Of Income Streams For Musicians

ARTISTIC MONEY (Hypebot) –
This guest post by David Sherbow looks at potential artist revenue streams. David is the CEO of LiveMusicMachine.com and blogs MusicBizGuy Speaks.


The artist music business model has been in flux for years. The record deal dream that most artists sought is no longer the viable alternative that it once was. The leveling of the music distribution playing field by the Internet is virtually complete. Terrestrial radio is on a path towards destruction that even the major labels can’t compete with. People now access and download music from multiple sources, usually for free. D.I.Y. solutions are everywhere, but for many artists hard to integrate into their daily lives.


Where does this leave the average independent artist? At the beginning. Every artist wants to know how they can make music, make money and survive to write and play another day. Here, in no particular order, is a list of possible income streams.

  • Publishing
  • Mechanical royalties
  • Performance Royalties from ASCAP and BMI
  • Digital Performance Royalties from Sound Exchange
  • Synch rights TV, Commercials, Movies, Video Games
  • Digital sales – Individual or by combination
  • Music (studio & live) Album – Physical & Digital, Single – Digital, Ringtone, Ringback, Podcasts
  • Instant Post Gig Live Recording via download, mobile streaming or flash drives
  • Video – Live, concept, personal, – Physical & Digital
  • Video and Internet Games featuring or about the artist
  • Photographs
  • Graphics and art work, screen savers, wall paper
  • Lyrics
  • Sheet music
  • Compilations
  • Merchandise – Clothes, USB packs, Posters, other things
  • Live Performances
  • Live Show – Gig
  • Live Show – After Party
  • Meet and Greet
  • Personal Appearance
  • Studio Session Work
  • Sponsorships, and endorsements
  • Advertising
  • Artist newsletter emails
  • Artist marketing and promotion materials
  • Blog/Website
  • Videos
  • Music Player
  • Fan Clubs
  • YouTube Subscription channel for more popular artists
  • Artist programmed internet radio station or specialty playlist. Any artist with a base creates a station or playlist for distribution programming the music he/she/they is/are into including their own. Fans could pay for shout outs and sponsors could pay for blocks of time or ads to support it. It could also be a subscription podcast that people could pay a couple of bucks or more a month for.
  • Financial Contributions of Support – Tip Jar or direct donations, Sellaband or Kickstarter
  • Patronage Model – Artist Fan Exclusives – e.g. paying to sing on a song in studio or have artist write a song for you
  • Mobile Apps
  • Artist Specific Revenue Stream – unique streams customized to the specific artist, e.g Amanda Palmer
  • Music Teaching – Lessons and Workshops
  • Music Employment – orchestras, etc, choir directors, ministers of music, etc.
  • Music Production – Studio and Live
  • Any job available to survive and keep making music
  • Getting Help From Other Artists and Helping Them – Whatever goes around come around. – e.g. gig swapping, songwriting, marketing and promotion
  • Related Post