Unfortunately, the term “starving artist” isn’t much of an exaggeration. No matter how talented you are, how many streams you get, or how many fans you have, having a sustainable career in music is extremely tough. In other words, it’s not as simple as selling a bunch of CDs or playing a few big shows; making a livable wage as a music artist takes way more than just streams and followers.

Continue reading to learn about five ways to make money as a music artist apart from streaming.

5 Ways Music Artists Can Make Money


publishing deal can be one of the best ways to monetize your music. Publishers will find promotional opportunities and secure deals for your songs to be used in television, movies, advertisements, video games, and much more. A publishing deal is a great way to make consistent money and a great way to promote your music in various industries.

Start by researching music publishing companies that you believe fit your style and brand.


Think about what your target market consumes and create a shop on your website or a platform like Bandcamp. You can feature products like t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, hats, stickers, posters, CDs, vinyl, cassettes, and even Covid-19 related products like masks and hand sanitizer. Furthermore, you can create your band merch designs using websites like Printful.

Moreover, vinyl sales have soared. According to Statista, “In 2020, 27.5 million LPs were sold in the United States, up 46 percent compared to 2019 and more than 30-fold compared to 2006 when the vinyl comeback officially began.” In 2021, this number almost doubled, with 41.72 million vinyl albums sold. Don’t miss out on one of the best profiting opportunities currently as a music artist.

Play Small Gigs: Farmers Markets, Weddings, Restaurants, Etc.

While your goal may be to play in big stadiums and large festival stages, you must start smaller to get there and make decent money while doing so. Consider playing local gigs at farmers’ markets, restaurants, birthday parties, and weddings. These gigs can earn you anywhere from a hundred bucks to a couple thousand. Additionally, depending on the type of gig, you may receive tips and may even gain a few new fans along the way.

ways music artists can make money
ways music artists can make money

Photo by little plant on Unsplash


Though NFTs have been around since 2014, it wasn’t until the pandemic that they became popular. NFTs are a great way to showcase your art and creativity in a new and highly monetizable way. Either design your collection or collaborate with a digital artist to do so.

You can sell NFTs in exchange for cryptocurrency, which can be transferred into real money or saved for investment purposes. The profits you can make off of NFTs are nearly limitless. Most of your fanbase may not know or care much about NFTs, so you will need to work further to find your target audience. In other words, you need to find people that enjoy your music beyond the average listener, are familiar with crypto/NFTs and have money to spend.

It is easier said than done, but it could result in more money than you could’ve ever imagined making through music. Many artists have shared testimonies of making more money with NFTs than just streaming, touring, or other traditional routes. For instance, Snoop Dogg made over $44 million in just five days through NFTs.

Livestream on Twitch

Twitch is a great way to connect with your fans and showcase your talent and your personality. It may not be much, but there is money to be made on Twitch. You can set up paid subscription tiers for your viewers to get access to exclusive emojis, chat rooms, and more. You can also set up a donation button linking to a third-party app like PayPal. The more of a connection you build with your fans, the more likely they will donate to you through your live stream.

Once you gain popularity, you can partner with brands to advertise their products with compensation. You can also become a Twitch Affiliate and earn money. We encourage you to put in some time learning about how others became successful on Twitch. We also recommend checking out our guide on live streaming for music artists.

ways music artists can make money