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How do I make money as a musician?

How can I start a career as a musician? I want to perform live and have a fanbase, how do I do that and make money from it? I've been interested in music and singing for most of my life and have always loved performing and I think that's what I want to do.

Thank you comment icon Go live on any social media platforms that you have because that’s easier than going out face to face. Chelita Hagan

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Subject: Career question for you

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Jared’s Answer

In todays climate, there’s many options to use. Of course Social Media (TikTok, Instagram & LinkedIn are good places to utilize) but I would even go to venues to perform once a week.

Create something valuable that will go along with your music. Hopefully you have good quality music to merge with your brand. People fall in love with stories and brands.

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Yanna’s Answer

The first idea that springs to mind is to showcase your talent in public places like subway stations or on the streets. My college professor once shared his experience of performing in a subway station and earning a respectable income from it. Secondly, consider leveraging platforms like TikTok or other social media to advertise your personal brand. Finally, consider performing at local community or church events. Best of luck!
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Christina’s Answer

Arnold Jacobs tuba player and teacher once said that the "Ability to learn is greater than the ability to teach." and the best way to be a good musician is by earning money by helping other musicians. Becoming a private instructor is a good job for any musician which is how I learned how to play trombone and then tuba at fifteen. My private instructor was Chuck Russel and he always has been my greatest support and comfort. I now have a big red plastic tuba named Hubert and post videos of me playing him. Although I don't make enough money or do what Charles Dallenbach does it still brings me joy to play him. COVID hurt a lot of community and local bands I used to be a part of and perhaps you can help them too by being an instructor of your instrument which is your voice.
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Kevin’s Answer

Hi Miles,

I can give you this information as a musician who has spent time on the road, in the studio and have worked and interned at music labels. If you are going to make money playing live, then you will have to go out and investigate where the live venues are in your area. Clubs, churches, coffee houses, patio restaurants, schools, local venues are all places to create income as a live musician. You might start out with a tip jar. The more you play, the better you will get. The better you become, the more you will get the live exposure and gather the audience that you will need in order for you to create and stream content of you (and the band) playing at venues.

Before an independent (or large) label will put attention towards your efforts, you will need approximately 10,000 listeners to subscribe to your page(s). I would start there. It will take a lot of love for music and plenty of effort to get to this point. If you can make the 10k audience happen, labels will listen. You can also self-publish through bandcamp, soundcloud, cdbaby, reverbnation, etc.

There are plenty of other ways to make music-focused money. Teaching music, creating beats and loops, recording in the studio, going to school on a music scholarship, etc.

Kevin recommends the following next steps:

Practice your instrument like you mean it.
Go watch other artists at your age appropriate venue. That's how you find other players to create a group.
Look online for other like minded musicians to work with.
Start a social media campaign that will be ready to add content to when you start playing.
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Joaquin’s Answer

Starting a career as a musician and building a fanbase while making money from it can be both challenging and rewarding. Remember, building a successful music career takes time and dedication. Stay true to your passion, work hard, and keep learning and evolving along the way.

Joaquin recommends the following next steps:

1. Develop Your Musical Skills: Continue to improve your singing and instrumental skills. Take lessons if necessary, practice regularly, and strive for excellence in your craft. Experiment with different genres and styles to find your unique sound and musical identity.
2. Create High-Quality Music: Start by writing and recording your own songs. Invest in quality recording equipment or collaborate with local studios. Focus on producing professional-sounding tracks that showcase your talents and resonate with your target audience.
3. Utilize Streaming Platforms: Upload your music to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. This allows you to reach a wider audience and gain exposure. Regularly release new music to keep your fanbase engaged and attract new listeners.
4. Connect with Your Audience: Engage with your fans online and offline. Respond to comments, messages, and emails to build a strong connection. Consider hosting live streaming sessions, Q&A sessions, or virtual concerts to interact with your fans directly.
5. Stay Persistent and Adapt: The music industry can be competitive and challenging, so be prepared for setbacks. Stay persistent and continue honing your skills. Be open to adapting to changing trends and technologies in the music industry.
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Nicolas’s Answer

The likelihood that you make a livable amount of money while making music is slim to none, and it is best to network, and build relations to further your career with people who are already involved in the industry. I don't want to spoil your dreams but few are accepted and it is rare to find these opportunities, although don't get discouraged. You can map it out all on your own if you're ambitious. Do anything from photography, to video, and mixing or editing and exploit your talent if you have time. And don't forget that this is what a lot of major recording artists have done until they reached a level of support where others can take on those responsibilities.
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Jerome’s Answer

Although I’m not a musician, it feels like this is an amazing time to be alive regarding social media and having access to a virtually unlimited audience. You can post samples of your music to various platforms while trying to build and connect with your fan base.

There are always local talent shows, volunteer opportunities and the ability to go live on Instagram/TikTok that may serve you well.
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