If you love making music, it’s one of the most fulfilling ways to earn a living. Whether it’s your full-time job or a lucrative side-gig, selling music is a creative way to make money doing something you love.
Come to think of It, and Adele earns more than $700 000 for a show; coming to Africa, we have the likes of Davido or wizkid, who does roughly $20,000 – $50,000 for a presentation, and the list goes on and on.
But what if the money’s not there? Then it becomes frustrating; selling your music doesn’t come with any guarantees.
Do you know that the music industry is one field that has the most undiscovered talents?
Most of the big players in this industry are just roughly 8% of what the music industry can offer because of the inadequate knowledge of most talented music artists.
All they know how to do is just compose and compose more songs; little did they understand the business part of becoming a music artist.
“Talent is not everything; it takes more than just natural talent to succeed in music.”
Who Is a Music Artist?.
A music artist produces, performs, and publishes music on a record label, often independently.
Music Industry statistics you should know.
Just to be practical, here are few data and information needed to validate the music industry.
So if you are not making the money you desire as a music talent, you need to get the required knowledge to succeed.
Here are some basic statistics you should know about the music industry.
1. The music industry is one of the fast-growing industries after technology. In 2019 revenues generated from annual music have grown from $14.2bn to $19.1bn and could be a more significant industry next year.
2. Total streaming revenues grew 34.0% to nearly half of all income, driven by paid streaming.
3. The top 1% of artists gain 77% of recorded music earnings.
Most artists do not earn up to this over here in Nigeria and sometimes all over the world because of the influence of record labels.
You need to step up your music entrepreneurship knowledge to make it big in the music industry.
4, the value of the recording industry was $15 billion in 2015.
5. In 2016, streaming revenues went up 45.2%, driving 3.2% global growth.
Websites like Spotify and amazon music are top players in the music streaming business.
6. 90.7% of all artists are undiscovered, 6.8% are developing, 1.4% are mid-sized, 0.9% are mainstream, and only 0.2% are considered megastars.
7. An estimated 68 million people paid for music subscription services in 2015, more than eight times the level of 8 million people in 2010
How Do You Become a Music Artist?
So many young people wake up and realise that they are endowed with musical gifts and talent, but not too many of them know how to plot a road map to success.
Here is a guide that will help you get started.
1. Choose a Music Genre.
I see most music artists try to shape-shift; there is one very myth I hear among upcoming music artists: singing what the people want to hear.
A music genre is a Standard category recognising certain musical pieces relating to a common tradition. Choosing a music genre is an essential aspect of your musical career as a music artist. Here are very few musical genres and their origins.
1. Pop Music.
A genre of popular music originated in the West during the 1950s and 1960s. Pop music is eclectic, often borrowing elements from urban, dance, rock, Latin, country, and other styles.
2. Hip Hop Music.
Hip hop or rap music formed in the United States in the 1970s and consists of stylised rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rhythmic and rhyming speech (“rapping”).
3. Riddles and Blue.
A genre of popular African-American music that originated in the 1940s as urbane, rocking, jazz-based music with a heavy, insistent beat.
This refers to a type of Music written to express either a personal or a belief in Christian life.
The United States popular music genre with origins in folk, Blues and Western music, often consisting of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies followed by regularly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, dobros, and fiddles as well as harmonicas.
A music genre originated in African American communities of New Orleans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles.
Music whose style or form indicates African origin or primarily African influence. Given the vastness of the continent, this covers many distinct musical traditions.
Sub-Saharan African music frequently uses religious instruments, including xylene phones, drums, and tone-producing instruments such as the mbira or “thumb piano.”
2. Rehearse Well.
The next important thing to do as a music artist is to rehearse well, and this can mean looking up YouTube videos, voice training and listening to musical artists in your genre.
You can sign up at a music academy very close to you if you have the funds or join the church choir. However, if you are broke, a blessing is attached to it.
I play the drums and the keyboard well, and I would not have acquired this knowledge if not for the church. Unfortunately, I did not make music professionally, though I still have plans to do so, this time with technology.
3. Perform at Live Events.
Performing at live events helps you build your confidence and help you learn from others; you also get the opportunity to network with another music artists like you.
Most times, you will not be paid, but just take it because you are still upcoming; just do all it takes to be in the spotlight because you never can tell who would need you at that very moment.
You can perform at the church, clubs or any secular events hosted locally and close to you. The ultimate goal is to network.
4. Use Music Distribution.
Music distribution is a platform or agency responsible for taking your songs to the end-user and, in most cases, collecting a certain percentage for doing that.
Music distribution is how music gets transported to the listener. Traditionally, distributors enter agreements with record labels to sell to stores.
However, digital distribution changed by cutting out the middleman allowing artists to distribute music directly to online stores while keeping almost all their royalties.
So many African artists have little or no knowledge of modern-day music distribution, yet most of them distribute intellectual expertise for free and yet get paid nothing.
This post would help you jump start your career as a music artist and show you the modern way of making huge money from your song.
Music distribution platforms are intermediaries between an artist’s finished songs and his end-users or listeners.
Music distribution has been around for many years, majorly since music started going electronically using Audio CDs and the like.
Old school or traditional distribution got records into a specific music store, and record labels directed fans to buy from such music store.
The distribution platform makes a profit from commissions placed on such songs sales.
Present-day music distribution platform utilises the same business model but on a modern platform like iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, etc. Instead of mass-producing CDs and physical Album covers, Songs are taken to the platform mentioned above in just a few clicks.
Royalties are paid when your song is bought or heavily streamed. There are many music distribution services out there. Therefore, keeping 100% of your royalties is critical.
Please educate yourself on all their fees and what you’re getting into before deciding. Some say they don’t take a cut, but there are hidden fees in some cases. Do your research very well.
Below are some platforms you should explore.
Landr Helps you get your music to online music stores like Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and every streaming platform for free, though there are paid plans that allows you to distribute even more than one song.
On top of that, their user interface is very excellent and navigatable, and you get a lot of unique features built into it, such as; seeing impressive stats as to how our music is being streamed all over the world, real-time data, a feature that allows you to rent plugins to develop your song to an international standard, Feeback feature to help you curate comments and feedback from your friends, and on top of it is getting your pieces distributed globally to every music store.
Landr also comes with a perfect pricing package and one that includes a free plan. Here is the pricing plan for their music distribution services below.
Just in case you need a professional Mastering feature, With Landr, you also get the chance to master your music with their inbuilt AI. Unfortunately, mastering on Landr is not free; you have to pay a flat fee of over 48 dollars to get you started with mastering. However, you can check out the mastering plans on Landr below.
TRY IT NOW – Landr.com
TuneCore is an American independent digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service that help musicians sell their music on stores like Spotify, Itunes, Apple Music and every streaming platform in less than 24 hours.
All you need to start music distribution on Tunecore is just less than a $9 flat fee. I have used Tunecore in time past, and I must tell you that the services are excellent; I recommend you try them out if you are just starting.
Unfortunately, TuneCore also comes with many exciting features, including mastering, Promoting your tracks via social media and collecting revenue, songwriting services, and a global music distribution service.
Here is an image below showing TuneCore pricing clearly.
TRY IT NOW – Tunecore.com
3. CD baby
Cd baby helps you sell your music everywhere in music stores globally such as Itunes, Spotify, YouTube music and so on; you also get the chance to get paid every week. CD baby works just like Tunecore, and their services are excellent and easy to get started with; you can get started with as low as $9.
You can check out CD baby pricing below.
You should note that royalties are not 100%, so make sure you get information properly.
TRY IT NOW – Cdbaby.com
4. Record Union.
Record Union is an online music distribution platform that helps you distribute your music to music stores allowing you to keep almost all your royalties. Record Union takes around 30-40% from each sale and stream. How much you receive from the remaining royalties depends on which royalty level you have chosen when you publish your release on Record Union. Record Union is one excellent service to get started with; here is an overview of their pricing.
You can also check out their website below.
TRY IT NOW – RecordUnion.com
Octiive is a significant label resources provider to independent artists, labels, and musicians. Your music will be available on 600+ online sites in over 140 countries worldwide, including iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, and Beatport. In addition, Octiive allows you to access royalties and reports for all artists and label partners every month!
Most distributors reach only a few retailers in very few regions, while Octiive gets your music onto hundreds of retailers in 140+ countries. Octiive sends payments either via physical check (U.S. Only) or PayPal. Please note a $20 administration fee for payments made via check.
There are no admin fees for payments made to your PayPal account. Prices on the 15th day of the following month.
Here is an overview of the pricing plan at octiive.
TRY IT NOW – Octiive.com
Amuse.io is one of the best music distribution platforms; you can sell your music on Itunes, Spotify, and Tidal for free with a very understandable user interface. This is one great platform for new music artists; I recommend you go for the pro version to keep everything in check.
The user interface is straightforward to work with and manipulate; everything is clear, like managing your personal social media page or account.
One thing about this platform is bugs, I have tried using their platform, but in most cases, bugs are excess.
You can only access amuse.io via the app on IOS and Android, and recently it seems as if they have something coming up on the desktop version of their website.
If you are broke and need to get your song up and running, you can use Amuse.io.
TRY IT NOW – Amuse.io
7. United Masters.
United Masters is one of the very newest game players in music distribution; they offer free distribution services to your music to over30+ stores and streaming platforms, including all the majors like Spotify and YouTube).
They take 10% of the profit from your streams and downloads for profit sharing. In addition, every artist has access to an analytics dashboard that tracks your bugs are excess, in most castings are streamed worldwide.
This platform comes with many exciting features such as; A record company, Music distribution as mentioned above, Masterlinks to help you share your tracks and even promote them on your own, a Free artist website, and earning statements.
TRY IT NOW- UnitedMasters.com
Spinnup is a digital music distribution service created and backed by Universal Music Group. It was initially launched in 2013 in Sweden.
Spinnup allows independent music artists the platform to distribute and sell their music globally to major stores such as; Deezer, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Tidal, Napster, Amazon Music and Google Play.
Spinnup comes with a lot of exciting features that make music artist want to be proud of themselves, such as; elaborate music distribution, a real-time chart of how your music sell all over music stores online, and the best coming last, you get an opportunity to get signed to major record label all over the world.
TRY IT NOW – Spinnup.com
5. Get signed Under A Management.
Talent is never enough; you need some set of the individual behind you; they will get a percentage on how much you make as an artist, but I must tell you that it is worth it, but make sure that you are not enslaved.
Make sure that you stick to the contract, don’t be in a hurry to run off; there is time for everything. But, unfortunately, what is very popular now in our generation is music artists trying to run off just after seeing little light; you have to allow things to work for themselves.
Getting singed under management is not a must, but if it eventually comes, I think it is an excellent opportunity for you to learn something new.
6. Learn a Musical Instrument.
This is very important because you will get inspiration occasionally, and you will need something quick to put it into play. Therefore, a keyboard, guitar or any string instrument is a must, and you can learn this from the church, school, or even any music academy closer to you.
7. Monetize your talent as a music artist
Too many music artists get impatient when starting their musical career, so many get discouraged and give up in the long run, which is caused by so many reasons. Here are an important few tips to help you make money as a music artist.
1. Start a Musical School.
As a new and upcoming music artist, you might not reach stardom at the time you expected, and this should not discourage you; what I advise you to do is not to give up on music.
One of the best things to do at that moment is to start tutoring people. If recording music and selling is your only source of income, then it will eventually work out for you.
2. Brand Endorsements.
This is very popular among music artists, and as the music starts, you become a public figure, so many brands are attracted to you and want to take advantage of your stardom to boost their company.
For so many reasons, this mode causes how viral your career is at that moment.
If you are lucky enough, you can earn up to $100,000 per endorsement.
3. Social Media Influencing.
Social media influence is becoming very popular, and brands and businesses are taking advantage of it.
One thing about social media influence is that it is way cheaper and quicker to get than becoming a brand ambassador.
Here is an article I wrote to help you get started with Social media influence.
4. Sell Your Products.
As a viral music artist, one thing that you are going to attract is a massive audience, everyone wants to have something to do with you, and this is a fantastic opportunity for you to start making money. All you need do is to come up with your product, and It can be a T-shirt, Glasses, and so many others.
Here is an article I recommend you read to get started with selling your product.
5. Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s marketing efforts. Here is an article I recommend you read to get started with affiliate marketing.
6. Google Adsense.
Google Adsense allows you to make money by displaying ads by Google; Google Adsense is not only native to bloggers but also to YouTube creators. So when you release any music video of yours, it’s better to have them uploaded on YouTube, and you will eventually get paid for that.
Here is an article I recommend you read to get started with Google Adsense.
7. Musical Royalties.
Royalties are a reward you receive when someone buys or streams your music from any music distribution company. Such a percentage is organised and agreed upon by the music distribution company.
I have already mentioned some highly reputable music distribution companies that you can subscribe to.
Making money via royalties is a great deal of work that every music artist craves. However, if you can get your music to the ears of millions of people and all you charge is less than $1, you can begin to calculate how much you stand to make.
That is why musical artists are so rich in the present time than before. An artist can make 1 Million dollars in royalties from music distribution platforms.
To get the right results, you need a heavy promotional strategy; I recommend you read the next section of this article.
8. Sell beats and Samples.
If you happen to be a producer, one popular way to earn money is through marketing samples and beats as digital products. Unfortunately, there are so many new music artists that can’t afford the services of a music producer, and the only option they have left is to come up with a lesser production pricing which includes paying for beats.
For any producer, this can even become their primary mode of income. Selling samples and beats enables you to spend work hours making music, which is the main benefit.
8. Promote Yourself Music
If you agree with me, long gone are the days when hitting stardom or making hits was very difficult. Nowadays, with the help and assistance of the internet, all you just need to do is record your track and make a series of hits from the comfort of your studio. Therefore, I included this section for young and aspiring music artists who are, unfortunately, the rented but don’t know how to reach the peak of their careers.
Aside from not being a web developer, I know how to beat the drums and play the keyboard very well though I do gospel more of church stuff. I love good music, and I want to contribute to entertainment cos our young people are knowledgeable and talented.
I have a lot of aspiring musicians as friends, and I often do feel their pains when they struggle in obscurity. So let me quickly debunk some myths popularly known to you.
1. You need to know people and have a connection to hit stardom in Music- My brother, this is a big fat lie; gone are the days when this applied nowadays; anyone sure of their talent can hit stardom anytime.
2. You need money to Blow, hit stardom – This is the biggest and most useless thing to believe; though cash is required, you don’t need to wait till you are rich like Dangote or come from a rich home-like Davido to make a hit.
3. You need to belong to a Record Label to hit stardom – Dear Reader, the gift is in you already, and nobody can help make you except you. So stop believing in this ideology. The majority of these record labels only misuse and mismanages artists.
Stardom can be achieved even from the first day you discover and decide you want to make music. I’ll walk you through a few steps that would help you vastly achieve greater heights in your musical career.
1. Banner and posters.
This is very popular now and has been used both now and in the past; one major setback about this promotional method is that it is prolonged and often does not reach the desired audience.
Therefore, I would not recommend this promotional method to any musical artist.
2. Social Media.
I always recommend that an artist build a good reputation on social media; from the first day you decide to become a music artist, you should set up a Facebook Business/Fan page.
- How To Grow Your Business With Facebook
- How To Grow Your Business On Instagram
- How To Get Verified On Instagram
Your Instagram account should no longer be a personal account but a fully customised business account.
This places your fan base at your fingers. Tip also, owning a Twitter account is not a bad idea. Create Public figure pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Soundcloud. It would help you grow.
3. Get a personal website.
Many of our top artists don’t take this seriously anymore; they all rely on and depend on the use of social media. As a music artist, owning a website is healthy for your career.
Fake news can easily be debunked before going viral; truthful information about tours can also be posted there. So you see why you need a website as an artist; that is why so many music artists in Nigeria get their careers truncated by Fake news. Owning a website can shield you from all of that.
Here is a link to an article on setting up a website.
Before diving deep into the basics and hardcore part of owning a website or running a blog, allow me to assume that you at least have a basic knowledge of how a complete website or a blog should run, so it’s time to stop talking start doing.
I decided to drop a dedicated article on how you can own a perfect domain name and a cheap web host with BlueHost, and I recommend that you study and do what is advised in the article below.
Afterwards, you may return to fully digest the part you need to get started and stay on top of your game.
Here is a link to the recommended article.
4. YouTube Is Important.
You can even create and upload your videos to share with others. As a result, YouTube is now one of the most successful sites on the Web, with visitors streaming around 6 billion hours of videos each month.
There is so much to be said about promoting yourself as an artist on YouTube, and this is why I recommend you read the post below.
5. learn How to do SEO (search engine optimisation)
SEO refers to the growth of unpaid results from search engines like Google. This form of promotion is prolonged, but I recommend that you read this article to get started with search engine optimisation.
As a music artist, people should be able to discover you when they look up search engines; above is an example of Burna Boy on Google, he has optimised his profile for tAs a result, he searches engine result, one way to achieve this is to get Wikipedia article about yourself.
6. Use Email Marketing.
Email marketing involves sending messages to a vast group of people using email. Therefore, every email sent to a potential customer is also referred to as Email marketing.
Your fans need to hear from you from time to time, and email marketing is one way to keep them actively involved; most people do that on social media already, but It is wise to build personal relationships with your Fans.
Email marketing involves using email to send advertisements. Of course, not every music artist will be able to utilise email marketing so well, but this is another potent way of promoting yourself as a music artist.
There is a lot to be said about email marketing, and this is why I wrote this article to help you get started with Email Marketing.
7. Paid Promotion.
Now that you have implemented the above steps don’t just sit and wait for a miracle; subscribe to paid advertising via Google and Facebook.
Boost your Facebook and Instagram Fan Page until you are satisfied and have gotten a vast audience because your fan base defines your success in Showbiz.
Place a Google ad to end at your website. Then, whenever you release a song, don’t wait for a miracle; go ahead, obtain the Itunes link, get a cover photo for advertisement and promote the h ** ll out till your joy is complete.
Don’t wait for the big guys to sign you a record label deal. Instead, make and create your legacy.
Here is an article I recommend you read to get started with paid promotion on social media platforms.
- (Facebook Marketing) How To Grow Your Business On Facebook
- (Instagram Marketing) How To Grow Your Business On Instagram
8. Tiktok can help save stress.
TikTok has helped various music artists go viral by enabling multiple people to vibe to 30 seconds of music with any dance step they prefer.
TikTok is home to over 1 Billion active users on TikTok, browsing their feeds and looking for something interesting.
This large audience helped give birth to viral dances and challenges, a significant part of the platform.
TikTok has become an essential platform for artists to promo instead, make themselves far beyond their immediate reach.
Be careful, not all songs go viral on the platform, and not all dances are used in challenges.
Since you are using TikTok as a channel to promote your music, make sure that all of your active fans are aware of what you are doing outside of the platform.
Are you confused about how to start selling your music? I can help you do everything right from the distribution level to promoting your music to various parts of the world; I would also guide you on how you can receive your musical royalties from these companies.
Becoming a music artist is not a day’s Job it just needs consistency and belief in oneself. One mistake I see an upcoming musical artist make is trying to get their music to the blogs.
First, that is what is killing most music artists here in Nigeria, and we must fight to end this. Don’t be in a hurry to sign a record deal with any record label, no matter how big they seem to be.
That is one mistake being made by some music artists. Also, remember to treat your talent as a special gift. Quit sending your music on low life blogs. Always do it the right way. Music distribution first, then others follow.
Dear reader, I want you to know that we are predestined to meet in this world but maybe not physically; I am so glad that we could meet on this platform today. Furthermore, I want you to know that I value relationships and friendship, and I want to get to know you more, connect and express feelings towards each other.
I am appealing that you drop your email in the email subscription box below; you never can tell we might have solutions to the problem each other and even help ourselves from there. You never can tell; great relationships start from somewhere, don’t forget to drop your email.
You can as well connect with me on social media platforms like
See you in the Next email