How to make money with music

The opportunity to make money with music started over 200 years ago. You could promote yourself and your music locally, by performing it. If it was any good and if the right person heard it, you could have even been asked to perform for important people, even royals have always loved musical entertainment. With modern day technology, the opportunities in the industry expanded in a lot of ways. Now, there are multiple services that music can have. The most known service is probably when an artist makes a song and releases it. It is no secret how rich some artists can become if they release the right hit. But how do they make the money after the release? There are a couple of ways, and these are some of them:

Earn the royalties

Royalties in the music industry is the money you make if your music is being used during, for example, an event, in a movie, on the radio etc. The more royalties you get, the more money you make. You can only get the royalties if you have copyrights or master-rights on the song that you released. This is a permanent way of earning money. Mariah Carey, for example, still earns about $250.000 in royalties every year with her song ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, because it is played a lot of times every year around christmas time.

Buy the song services

You can also release the music you make on Spotify, Itunes, Soundcloud and a lot of other platforms that require people to buy your song in order for them to listen to it. This money can go directly to you, or it goes to the recordlabel if they own the rights. These platforms use royalties as well. Let me give you an example of the power of buy-the-music platforms. Ed Sheeran’s shape of you has been streamed 1,5 billion times in one year. Spotify pays
about $0,006 in royalties per-stream. Adding up the numbers, I think we can all agree that he probably won’t have to
go back to perform on the streets again any time soon.




Not that there is anything wrong with performing on the streets. Like I implied, the most spotify-streamed artist started of on those. The corner of a street, a bar mitswa, weddings, a festival, a world tour… There are a lot of places where you can perform a songcover or a song that you released yourself. The more popular you (and the song) are, the more people will ask you to perform somewhere. Organizations usually pay you to do so. If they don’t, you can still earn money with, for example, the ticket sales to your performance or through sponsors of your performance.



Views and advertisements

Ever heard of YouTube? Yes? You’re not the only one. With over 3.3 billion views the most viewed video on this platform is a music video of the song ‘When I see you again by Chalie Puth ft. Whiz Khalifa’. Not saying that you have to make an expensive and visual music video with story line and heavy production in order to gain views on YouTube. You can also make a lyric video to your song and post that. Even though it is free for people to watch videos on YouTube, you can still make money off of posting something on the platform. You can place advertisements on them. You can make approximately $o,18 for every view your video gets through advertisements on your video. So, the more views you get, the more money you make.
Depending on several factors you could earn up to €1.000,- or more for 2.000.000 views of a video that uses your music. If you uploaded and/or made the video you could earn several thousands of euro’s for those views. Not to mention the sponsors that pay you to promote their brands.


Add feeling to film

Besides being an artist, there is another way to earn money in the music industry. I personally make most of my earnings at my own post-production company. I have always loved the music composition of movie tracks. These are created during the process of post-production. In the post-production of movies, series, games, commercials etc, the sound score for that project is created. This includes the official sound track, background music, ADR & Voice-Over, and Foley. After working in Madrid (Spain) and London (UK), I started my own company in the Netherlands called ‘Soundgram Post’. Here my job description is: CEO, TV and Film Music Composer, Sound Designer and multi-instrumentalist. With these jobs I pay my bills. In post-production there are also multiple ways of earning money with what you created. One way is if you put your music in a music (publishing) library. If a movie wants a score, they can get it by looking in one of these libraries and search for a track that they seem fit. If they find one, they can buy that track for their project. Another way is if these project makers look for a very specific sound. With this they can call you and ask you to write, record and produce a score personally.

And a lot more

But it doesn’t end there. Let’s speed things up a little bit, because there is a lot of information to share. Here is another list of jobs that you can have in the music industry:

  • Record producer
  • Recording engineer
  • A & R Coordinator
  • A & R administrator
  • Personal manager
  • Program director
  • Music director
  • Radio DJ
  • Tour manager
  • Stage manager
  • Sound technician
  • Booking agent
  • Concert promoter
  • Publicist
  • Music journalist

But most importantly, there is one thing you need if you want to make it in the music industry. That is called ‘passion’. If you don’t love what you do, it will be extremely hard to be the best in the job, and the competition is stiff. You can have setbacks, a lot of competition and things in your path that you won’t like (like taking care of the administration). The way that you deal with these setbacks, is what will define you as an artist, music director, record producer or any other job in the music industry.

I wish you the best of luck!

And who knows we’ll meet one day in our studio.