For the better part of the last year and a half, performing in person has been difficult, if not outright impossible. This has made life especially challenging for professional musicians. Although vaccinations slowed the rates of COVID-19 in the US, infections are rising again as more contagious variants enter the population. Once again, musicians are looking at a world where they may not be able to get the gigs that push their careers forward.
Fortunately, there are many ways musicians can continue to live off their craft that are perfectly pandemic-safe. Giving yourself a foundation in some of these avenues now can leave you better prepared should another lockdown be in the future. Landon Buford.com shares some jobs that are a great way to diversify your skillset and make a steadier, more substantial income from music:
Starting Your Own Business
First and foremost, musicians should make sure they’re thinking of their work as a business, not a pastime or hobby. Simple steps like creating a website, running social media accounts, and making business cards can put your music career on another level. These little marketing moves put you in a much stronger position when it comes to building an audience, getting jobs, and making a real income.
If you go this route, remember to take the legal side seriously, too. Money made off of music still needs to be reported on your taxes, and you’ll need to set money aside to pay anything you owe at the end of the year. Fill out an EIN number application to get your tax ID number. According to Zenbusiness, this makes filing simpler and empowers you to keep your business and personal assets separate. This is especially valuable for those who are making money from several revenue streams at once, which is common for performers.
Teaching Virtual Lessons
One virtual-friendly option musicians have for making money is to offer music lessons online. This is a great way to connect with budding musicians and help others to grow. Platforms like Zoom allow you to meet with people from the comfort of your respective homes, and still give you the visual access you need to correct form and posture.
If you decide to go this route, be sure to use a good scheduling system. It’s easy to inadvertently double book yourself or drop the ball on a lesson because you’re disorganized. Although students may put up with this once, repeat offenses are likely to leave you without a client base. Try digital and physical scheduling systems in order to figure out the approach that works best for you.
Streaming and Selling Music
Finally, you should consider trying to sell your music online. Sites like Twitch and YouTube give you the opportunity to perform live for your fans no matter where they are. You can pair these performances with a link to the payment site of your choice to encourage people to support you however they can.
You can also make money with your music online by getting your original work onto streaming sites. This, paired with the careful promotion of your work on social media, can help you to get plenty of listens and views. The more popular your music, the more money you’ll be able to make, and the more likely you’ll be to build a loyal audience. Not only will this pay off in the form of short-term income, but it can also lead to larger crowds and bigger revenue once you’re able to perform in person once again.
Making a living as a musician is always challenging, and COVID-19 has only stood to make it harder. That said, we’re dedicated to helping musicians reach their goals and make their dreams a reality. We hope this article has empowered you to find new and creative ways to make a living doing what you love.