“The fame and the money and all that stuff that comes along with it is all great, but that’s not the sole purpose of why I make music.” (Macklemore)
The vast majority of artists don’t start on their musical journey with the primary goal of making money and most don’t have money in the bank to rival artists like Macklemore. It’s widely accepted by many in fact, that if making money is the ultimate goal, then there are easier ways to do it, than music. Finding joy in the creative process, writing, producing and performing is where you should start and like the best artists that have ever lived, when making great music is your primary goal, financial success is something that ultimately follows.
But that doesn’t mean that you should discard music as an opportunity to make some money along the way to support yourself financially. There are many ways in which artists fund their musical pursuits and here are just a few of them…
Whether you decide to take your acoustic guitar out onto the street and do a bit of busking, or you get a few of your mates together and form a cover band to play at local bars, venues and weddings, playing live is great practice for any musician. You might earn a little, you might earn more than you’d expected, but it’s the performance time that will really benefit you as an artist. It’s also great experience in working with bookers, events teams, production crews and front of house staff, as well as engaging and talking to audiences – all which will all be beneficial when you hit the big time.
Teaching in your local community or online can be a great way to make a little bit of cash on the side. It’s now easier than ever to promote yourself and you’ll be surprised how many people will pay you to learn a new talent or skill. Growing a loyal and engaged audience on Youtube is popular for teachers looking to make some extra money. It can also be a great way for you to learn how to present yourself in front of an online audience, learning and developing from comments and feedback. Teaching is also a great way for you to vocalise and reaffirm basic techniques and speaking this out loud is an exercise in self improvement.
Controversial rapper Dave Burd, AKA Lil Dicky, famously put himself on kickstarter to fund the 2nd phase of his musical pursuit. Rather than sign for a record label which he said would “make him into a mainstream rapper” or put him in a box, he asked his fans for money directly, saying that the money would fund his rap career paying for a studio album, videos and touring. Having already created 30 pieces of music and videos, mostly from samples of popular music in his bedroom studio using free production software, Dave’s followers wanted to see what he could do with a professional budget. As a result he exceeded his $70k target, hitting $133,000 US dollars for his kickstarter campaign.
Lil Dicky has since gone on to collaborate with Snoop Dogg on his 2015 hit, Professional Rapper, but you can see how he got creative on Kickstarter here, offering a multitude of interesting prizes in return for cash pledges.
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