Have you ever been to a party or social gathering of some sort, and had someone ask you what you did for a living? Of course, you have. And it always gets a little awkward when you tell them you sing for a living. No, you’re not Beyonce status or even her background singers’ status, but you do make a better than decent living doing what you love. If you would have said that you were a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, no one would even bat an eye. So what if you’re not very well known by the masses. You have a viable singing career, and it’s growing every year because you treat your music career as a business.
Or maybe you aren’t there yet, and you’d like to know how to increase your earnings as a singer, so that you can quit your non-music related day job. Once a week, I will post an article that will help you navigate your music career, so that those social gatherings won’t feel so awkward. In today’s post, I’ll give an overview of possible income streams that you can tap into as a vocalist. Some of them are obvious, and others you may have heard, but making money with them is a mystery. I’ll expound on each of them in upcoming posts, so stay tuned. And if you find this content helpful, feel free to subscribe to my email list and get notified when I post something new.
Recording Artist – a recording artist is exactly what it sounds like, an artist that records music in a studio. You do not need to be signed by a major label. However, you do need to be willing to work. Independent artists have so many tools available to them. Here are just a few ways artist make money: Digital and Physical CD sales, Merchandise Sales, and Live Shows.
Streaming – e-concerts have become very popular avenues of making money for major and independent artists. ConcertWindow, Stageit and YouNow are just a few platforms that you can use to design an experience that your fans will enjoy.
Virtual Tip Jar – using a virtual tip jar on your website or social media accounts is another way that artists can make money. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a paypal.me/ account and copy and paste your paypal.me/ link to your desired location and encourage your fans to support you. They can enter any amount they choose, or you can pre-set amounts.
Patreon – this site allows creatives to get paid doing what they love by running a membership business for their fans. Patreon gives fans an opportunity to patronize artists they believe in with a monthly subscription amount of their choice in exchange for exclusive experiences.
Vocal Coach – one way that many vocalists supplement their income, is by giving voice lessons. Although one-on-one, in-person lessons are the way that most people still give lessons, many teachers have gotten creative in order to address the lifestyle changes of their students. A couple of ways that teachers have begun to accommodate their students is through group and online lessons.
Sing at a House of Worship – some churches pay their worship leaders. A few other paid positions that a vocalist may qualify for is choir director, cantor, and section leader.
Background Vocalist – a background vocalist sings background for lead vocalists, groups and/or musicians. In many cases, the background vocalist provides support by singing harmony.
Broadway/Musical Theatre – singers on Broadway have a to have a lot of stamina. Many times, they are singing eight or more shows a week. If this is something you desire to do, there are many resources that can help you navigate the journey to becoming a Broadway singer/actor.
Give a Voice Master Class or Clinic – in order to do this, you must prepare a presentation, and reach out to schools or other organizations that may be interested in what you would like to talk about. Some great examples of outlets for your presentations are Ted Talks, presentations on college campuses, and webinars.
Vocal Producer – the job of the vocal producer is to make sure that the featured vocalist and background vocalists deliver the most stylistically and emotionally accurate performance on a recording.
Grants – provide financial support for a project. Grants are very competitive but have proven to be a good resource for artists. A great place to begin your search for grants is The Foundation Center.
Sponsorship/Endorsement Deal – can provide additional income to an artist that already has a great fanbase and has been able to prove value to a potential sponsor.
Create a YouTube Channel and Monetize It – Sponsorships, Advertisements, Selling Product, Affiliate Marketing, Promoting Services.
The next time that well-meaning family member or your friend’s dad, who happens to be an electrical engineer for some major company, asks you what you do for a living, confidently tell him that you sing.