Monday, 8 August 2011

3 ideas on how to make money from music, without selling it

Why do we commerically release music

In the blunt of things, producers pitch music to labels so they can get more exposure which should end up in more gigs, releases and eventually money.

This doesn't make you greedy or not passionate, most musicians dream is to the tour the world and play their music to others who appreciate it and as human beings we need money to survive and have the luxuries we all desire, this is all known but hardly spoke about.

But do you have to release music to achieve those things? I don't think you do in this day n age. Heres a list of ways you could be paid for making music, without actually releasing it under a fixed price tag, without the slow process of releasing it under a label, without contracts and being messed around by a middle man.

These ideas are all self-driven, tried and tested either by me or just widely known for working.

  • Give it out free via your own website and charge events, other labels and producers  to advertise on your site, this can be as cheap as 5$ a month! If you can build up a big enough traffic from month to month you'll be able to get people willing to pay you, so your traffic glances at what they want to advertise. Advertising is one of the biggest ways to make money these days, with things like freeium magazines and OnDemand TV all paid by advertising. You can give a service without making the consumer pay for it and still earn money.

  • Put it out on established NetLabels (labels who release music for free) and promote yourself as a DJ more than producer. With labels like EchoDub being one of the pioneering labels in the 2nd wave of Dubstep  ( 2008 and onwards) and Dub Techno they started off as a label which put out music for free to gain a fan base before venturing into commerical releases but this can also work with being a DJ. A DJ who is also a established producer is highly attractive to promoters within bass-music as pirate/internet radio is the most popular way to hear new music, if you're being played on credible radio a lot - I can garentee you will have a solid fan base within months. I have known people who had to start DJing because promoters were offering them payed bookings without even knowing if they could DJ.

  • Pay-What-You-Like releases; websites like Bandcamp are brilliant ideas - allowing owners of the page you use systems like "Pay-what-you-like" you're essentially giving away your music for free but unlike idea #1 - you are giving people the option to self-evaluate how much money your music is worth to them, not only is this great feedback for any producer it is a welcoming idea to a consumer.

Just some food for thought.


  1. Some interesting concepts here, especially the pay what you like. I pay the same as I would on a download site, the artist gets more of the money. Win-win.

  2. with youtube facebook and other options out there getting exposure is only as hard as you make it

  3. Me and a friend sold his cd's out of the trunk of a car at flea markets and used to clean up.

  4. Good post man! I remember hearing about a band that released their album as pay what you like. Interesting read.

  5. Great post. I personally would be happy giving away digital releases to gain exposure and secure gigs, thats where the money is these days. The only real reason i would need to make money from my music is to sustain it and buy new equipment.