5 Ways Producers Can Make Money In 2021!
Written By: Eric “Realistic” Michael
If you’re a producer, artist, or engineer, chances are you’re pretty good at what you do, but it can be tricky figuring out ways to monetize your skill set. What’s so great about the world that we live in today is there are so many ways to bring in income working for yourself & even doing a lot of it from home!
When it comes to making money in the music industry the name of the game is to have multiple streams of revenue sources. Meaning, you shouldn’t rely on any one particular channel to provide all of your income. For example - if you’re a beat maker - making beats shouldn’t be the only thing you depend on to make money off of your music skills. This isn’t just true at the average producer level. This is also true at the peak of the producer level. Look at producers & even artists like Kanye, Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, & Jay Z. They even have multiple sources of income.
We feel with this list you should mix & match multiple ideas on this list to bring in your income. Some of the examples may only bring in a few hundred bucks a month; however, when you match that with a few other suggestions on the list you can potentially cover all your living expenses each month & do music full time!
Well duh, right? This is the obvious one, but it’s important that this makes the list because for most of us, this is what your goal is: produce dope music & make a living off of what you enjoy doing. Even if you have other sources of income coming in from working in the music industry, this one should always remain as one of your main objectives.
Setting your price can always be a bit tricky, but it’s usually based around the hype & buzz you have around your name. If you’re still working on creating a buzz & getting your name out there, then your price may need to be lower. You can obviously go much higher, but may also have to accept that you may not see much business until you create more hype. The more hype & buzz you create, the more you can raise your prices.
Most of you already know it, but you have a few options when selling your beats.
You can do leases. Which gives the buyer a limited amount of uses/plays & also allows you to continue to sell the same beat to other people & companies.
You can also do exclusives which gives the buyer the exclusive right to the beat & usually means you can’t sell the beat to anyone else afterwards. The buyer also gets unlimited use with the beat.
Working with publishing companies is one of the best ways to make money off your music. It’s great for producers because a lot of sync placements are looking for instrumentals more than they are looking for full songs. Think about when you watch shows on Netflix, or commercials, or highlight reels on ESPN. Most of the time they’re just instrumentals playing in the background. Even cooking shows or interior design series have music playing in the background. Don’t worry though, songs with vocals & lyrics still get placed quite often too if you have a bunch of those in your collection as well.
Sync licensing is when you grant a music license to be used by a third party. The license allows the licensee or purchaser the right to use the song or beat in a visual piece such as a commercial, ad, video game, YouTube video, show, or movie. Just remember though, mechanical licenses are for audio-only. While synchronization licenses are for video. You can also still receive performance royalties from your PRO every time the song is played. This is paid out from your PRO usually & not the licensee or publishing company. Usually the licensee will pay an upfront fee to purchase the right to use your musical piece in their work. The purchase amount depends on a few things:
● The media that the sync will occur on like TV, YouTube, Commercial, Video Game, etc.
● How long the sync license will run for. One time, a week, a month, a year, etc.
● Where the sync will air. Local stations, nationally, or worldwide.
● How big is the song already? Popular songs that most people have heard will cost more than an unknown song.
If you want to know how to maximize your sync licensing opportunities, we have a full article on sync licensing & you can read that here!
Mixing & Mastering
This is quite possibly one of the most intuitive & fluid ways for producers to gain another source of revenue working music related gigs. Producers already have a great sense of sound & balance. This can also work hand & hand with your beats as well. If you sell a beat to an artist you can also offer them your mixing & mastering services after they record the song. You could even do a bundle deal like if they get the beat from you & also have your mix the record, you will take x amount of dollars off the total.
There is a bit of a learning curve though & you should enhance your skills properly before creating this service. To make things easier on you, we’ve created a few mixing courses to show you how to mix your records with pro quality. You can find those here. We’ve had hundreds of producers take our courses & majority of them have said it helped tremendously & tons of them even said they have been able to start making a profit from mixing records after taking the course!
Our latest course - The Art Of Mastering - has been a big help for producers to make extra income. That’s because after you develop your skills with mastering, it usually only takes 15-30 minutes to master a song. This means that even if you’re only charging $50 to master a record, you can potentially make $100-$200 per hour mastering records!
Writing Ad, Email, & Social Media Copy For Other Producers or Music Brands.
This one seems kind of crazy & off brand right? Well actually you’d be surprised at what opportunities in the music industry this can lead to.
So first, let’s start by quickly explaining what it means to be a copywriter (not to be confused with copyright.) Writing copy is when you write up post captions, emails, advertisement captions, product descriptions, event descriptions, etc. You usually write up several different versions of the subject you’re writing about & then the person or brand who hired you can just go in & “copy & paste” what you wrote into their email, ad, or social media post. Hence the term “copy”.
What’s even crazier is that this is actually a pretty decent paying gig most of the time and there are tons of brands & influencers that are looking for people to do this for them. And yes, there are even tons of people & brands that are music related looking for this type of role to fill.
Think about your favorite plugin or hardware brands. Think about your favorite verified producer that’s heavily involved in the producer community. They’re posting a lot on social media, building up email lists, advertising courses, events, & new products. All of these things require well thought out captions, descriptions, & emails with a strong call to action.
A lot of these producers & brands don’t have the time to write these themselves. Believe it or not, working a gig like this can actually lead to lots of opportunities within the music industry. I myself have been doing this for a producer & that has led me to meet & work with Grammy winners, chart toppers, & mainstream artists and producers. That gig also allowed me to work from home, make some income, & continue to focus more on producing music because I didn’t have a 9-5 with a daily commute holding me back.
This type of revenue stream is one of the ones we were referring to when we mentioned that some of them may only equal a few hundred bucks a month - but hey - that’s still a source of revenue that you can add to your income stream each month. Of course there are people that have massive followings & their videos do giant numbers and make a full-time living doing so, but those channels are more of the exception. Still something to strive for though.
Earning income on YouTube basically works like this: other people & brands buy ads (much like you do on FaceBook or Instagram), those ads get placed before, during, & after your video - usually with a “skip video” option. Each time someone watches your video & the ad plays you get a little bit of revenue. That’s the simplified version of it.
To qualify for YouTube monetization your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers & 4,000 hours of total viewer watch time within a 12 month period. These numbers may seem like a lot, but if you’re consistent with YouTube, they are actually not too hard to attain.
Some things producers can do on their YouTube channels that will bring people to want to watch their channel are: tutorials, making beats, showing their process, giving tips, reviewing plugins & gear, reacting to new music, music producer humor/skits, podcasts, & more. Growing your channel is all about providing value or entertainment to the people watching. When you create content in that lane that falls in with your brand, it’s usually only a matter of time before you start to grow your channel.
These days it’s easier than ever to sell your samples, loop packs, vocal samples, midi progressions, VST presets, & more. There are so many sites out there these days that can host your samples & sell them to a large audience. Websites like Splice, ADSR, Prime Loops, SamplePhonics, Airbit, BeatStars, & more are all places you can upload your samples & VST preset banks & monetize off of them. You can also host them on your own site & direct people to your site instead!
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SoundOracle - Owner
SoundOracle (Sound Designer for Timbaland, whose sounds have been heard in over 20 Grammy award-winning songs by artists like Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, and more)
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Realistic Production - Engineer
Realistic is a Producer/Engineer located in Atlanta, GA specializing in Hip-Hop, R&B & Pop music. Realistic has been involved in the music industry for over 15 years. He has worked on projects for Talib Kweli, Just Blaze, Musiq Soulchild, Pharoahe Monch, NBA 2k, Skyzoo, BJ The Chicago Kid, Madlib, Ayo-N-Keyz, Billboard Hitmakers, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Rhymesayers, Hamburger Helper, & LoveOfPharaoh.
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Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, etc. - https://fanlink.to/bwW5
THE ART OF MASTERING
Everything You Need To Know In Order To Perfectly Master Records With Any DAW And The Plugins You Already Have
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