Which free resources should I send you?
Let’s go in-depth on my Top 5:
Remote Studio Gigs
Leasing Acapellas or Beats
Writing music for TV and Film
Teaching Lessons, but at scale
- Remote Studio Gigs
If you are an amazing singer with a recording set up at home, start getting into demo singing to make some cash! Vocalists, songwriters, producers/composers, mixing engineers, audio editing and tuning, mastering engineers, and every instrument under the sun, this is a very reliable way to make a sustainable income with music. But you gotta be good! If your product is great, you can do this.
Here's a quick start guide to get things rolling:
Step 1: Create your Soundbetter.com profile first since there is a waitlist. Once your profile is perfect (hint: maybe scope out other top professionals profiles), apply for Premium and wait while they review your application. They will not charge you the membership fee until you are accepted, and YESSS it's worth it.
Step 2: Copy your flawless profile information to Airgigs.com, and purchase an ad. When you purchase an ad on Airgigs, you become visible on very top of your category. You only start to move down the list as others start to buy ads. I've found that I have good visibility for about a whole month before I purchase a new ad to bump back to the top. Check out their public job board while you're there!
Step 3: Give Vocalizr.com a chance if you're a singer. There is a small membership fee, but I have made some decent money on this website! You place bids on jobs that producers post. Being able to see everyone else's bid does create a bit of ugly competition, but I always just bid my real rate and don't price cut.
Step 4: If you want the most in-depth explanation—including information on how to sign up, communicate with clients, rank on the algorithm, and more—buy my e-book The Remote Studio Musician. It’s $17.99 :)
Step 5: Rinse and repeat. There are several other sites where you could advertise your services. You may undoubtedly create your own website, sell your services to your devoted fan audience, and get started with contemporary marketing. Here are some other gig websites: LANDR Network, Melodynest, Musiversal, StudioPros, Kollab.co, ProCollabs, DemoMySong, Thumbtack, Upwork, Fiverr
The overall leader in this field is Soundbetter.com. They have the best web presence, which has helped me earn over six figures a year just from studio vocal recording performances. This website's in-depth verification process is one of the factors that contributes to it being the best-paying of its kind. Anyone can register for free and list their services there, but to benefit from their visibility algorithm, you have to be Premium, and that's when all the clients find you! I waited for approval for about 8 months, and I know others who waited for about a year. It is totally worth the wait.
- Leasing Acapellas or Beats
The number one marketplace for selling beats is Beatstars.com.
The number one marketplace for selling acapellas is Vokaal.com.
I'm a big advocate for using these online marketplaces to build your business while also utilizing social media and other marketing means to draw clients to your own website. Selling on your own website means you keep 100% of revenue, but it is a building process to get traffic to your site. So starting on marketplaces is a great start.
A Beatstars Pro membership costs $19.99 per month to sell beats, beats with hooks, and acapellas. They do not take any commission off your sales! Just pay the monthly membership. I think that's really cool. Being seen on Beatstars is a little challenging. On there, people are quite inventive in an effort to raise their views and, ideally, make one of the fantastic charts. Charting is major.
SINGERS, beats with hooks are in high demand. Go through the charts, listen, like, comment, and DM producers you like. Strive to collaborate with others on Beatstars and this is a great way to start building. This website is not super cut and dry, but with patience and dedication, you can kill it.
There is a paid promotion option. I suggest it. But the thing I advocate doing the most is producing amazing music.
My only experiences with acapella licensing websites have been with Vokaal and Voclio. Over $800 worth of $39 acapellas were sold in my very first month on Vokaal. You are welcome and encouraged to email your customers, and they are open about your sales information. Since they are non-exclusive, you are urged to upload your acapellas wherever you can to maximize your earnings.
- Create a Sample Pack
How would you get started here... research. Look at what your competition is doing, note what is effective, and note how you can one up em. Splice is a great place to start your research as the leading website for downloading samples.
I recommend downloading a competitors entire sample pack and take notes on how they label their tracks, folders, and subfolders. Always include the bpm and key in the names of your samples. The way I did it was: KIMERA_FolderName_SampleName_WetOrDry_Key_BPM
Make a list of how you want to structure your folders for the different types of samples you'll be making. Stay organized with a plan - you don't want to be disorganized when making hundreds of tiny samples.
As a singer, my approach was to grab about 5 different instrumentals and line them up on one track one after the other. I made vocal record tracks by folder, and recorded samples across the timeline. This kept me pretty organized.
Once you've made your samplepack, complete your package with a demo. Produce a song that showcases the different samples. Here's mine for example.
Submit your sample pack to various websites like Splice, Sounds, ADSR, LANDR, Vokaal, Loopmasters. You may consider going through a distributor like Symphonic, which is what I did.
- Sync Licensing
There's a whole sector of the industry dedicated to getting your music into TV, film, and advertising. I love sync because you can record a song once, and it can get used over and over. Generating royalties is a building process so I consider this route part of your long game strategy, but totally worth it to pursue.
Music Supervisors are the are the decision makers when it comes to what songs sync to film. It's always a good idea to look up who the music supervisors are on your favorite shows, follow their work, follow their social media, and consider trying to build relationships with them. If they are a speaker on a panel at a music conference, attending would be a great place to start.
Licensing Agencies are my personal go to. They tend to be small to medium size boutique companies with a team of agents who actively pitch your music for you. Sometimes they will also act as your publisher, keeping 100% of your publishing, and splitting 50% of your upfront fees (which can be anywhere from $500-150,000). You would only sign 1 song or 1 ep at a time to an agency, NOT your whole writing career like major pub deals. This is nice because you can actually sign different songs to different agencies and test out who you like working with the best. In my experience these agencies tend to give your songs more attention, and they also may invite you to write songs for specific projects!
Sync Libraries are companies that usually have a huge catalog of songs with a sophisticated search engine for music supervisors to just go and search for the music they need by using filters like mood, genre, lyrical content, tempo, vibe, etc. Many times libraries offer non-exclusivity so technically you can put the same song in more than one non-exclusive library. Send your back catalog type music to libraries - songs that you mostly see being used as background music in a club scene. If you have songs that you feel would work for a Target commercial, maybe save those goodies for an agent or to send directly to the music supervisor in an ad agency.
But on that note, sending music directly to supervisors, don't rush your pitch. Just be a good member of the sync community, genuinely get to know supervisors, and maybe one day if the stars align, and it feels right to pitch, go for it. But let me tell you why I actually do not pitch to supervisors at all... First, trying too hard tends to turn people off. People smell a salesman who is only talking to them because they wants something. Second, there is more going on behind the scenes than you may realize- part of their job is to legally get clearance for the song so no one can sue for copyright infringement etc. For this major reason, supervisors who are my friends already, still prefer going through an agency to get their music because they trust the agency does the due diligence of making sure songs don’t have samples of famous songs, all writers are in agreement on their splits, and agree the song can be placed without needing to hunt everyone down for permission (which is called a one-stop agreement among writers). So when a music supervisors doesn't want to place your song directly, it's not personal, it's just for their legal protection.
5. Teaching Lessons at Scale
Teaching - a true classic musicians revenue stream. But how can you do it bigger? Start by using the internet ;) Maybe in the past you would collaborate with local elementary schools to be their friendly neighborhood saxophone teacher, but NOW you have an opportunity to scale that same intention.
You could film your typical lessons by categories and sell micro lessons as digital downloads or short video courses. You could teach group lessons over zoom as a way to actually charge less but make more per hour. How about write an e-book? You could even create an online community on Facebook and offer a premium masterclass experience at a high price point.
Maybe it's not just teaching but consulting... Charge for consulting office hours!
Just like marketplaces for demo singing, there are marketplaces for selling education. Get started there, and eventually build your own website to offer your expertise!
Remember: figure out how to figure things out. Try Google: where to sell my music lessons? Or better yet, pretend you’re the client: where to take music lessons online?
A few sites I’ve found for ya:
With any avenue you try to pursue, starting with websites that have already built that infrastructure is the best starting point. In the meantime, get the word out and market yourself for that right moment when you start to fly solo and build your own website. Be present and stay on topic with what your business is about on Tik Tok, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Linked In, and Facebook. Build awareness around your brand. Start with socials, build a basic website, and start building an email list. From here on out it’s just a building process of slowly expanding, slowly improving your SEO, learning modern marketing techniques, and growing your business little by little.