5 Ways Musicians Can Earn Income While Doing Music Full Time

With the music industry still in trying to find it’s financial footing after years of massive change, full time musicians are still trying to figuring out how to make it possible to pay bills and have a music career (that includes me). Here are 5 ways successful musicians are making money on the side while still spending most of their time playing music: 


1. Online items


Most musicians underestimate how much money they can make from selling either physical goods or services online. I offer MainStage training and patches, and it’s my third largest source of income (slightly more than session work). I have a friend that sells items via Amazon and made over $30,000 last year while spending most of his time on tour. 


2. Renting


AirBnB has revolutionized renting and hotels, and can be extremely profitable for musicians. One of my friends in Franklin, TN (just outside of Nashville) rents a small 500 square foot studio apartment, and makes around $3,000 per month. Another pianist I know bought a rental property using a loan from the bank and leases it for $2,000 per month- his mortgage is $650 on the property. 


3. Teaching/Training


You might not want to hear it, but teaching others is still one of the most profitable ways to stay afloat as a musician. With the advent of online network speeds getting fast enough for video chat via smartphone, it really is possible to train anyone anywhere on earth. One of my friends teaches about 15 students while touring the world with a large country group- he literally talks to them from his cot on the bus, and demonstrates using some practice pads. 


4. Uber


It’s possible to make $15-$20 per hour driving using a taxi service like Uber or Lyft, and it can be a super easy way to get some cash quickly when you’re really strapped. I have several friends that make a couple hundred dollars a a couple of nights a week driving for Uber, which allows them to work sessions during the day. 


5. Investing


Most people overlook one of the easiest ways to making money: saving it, and reinvesting it in profitable business ventures. A few years ago one of my friends was able to save almost 30,000 dollars over about 6 years from being frugal, and he gets a check in the mail each month of just the interest for $175. He rolls over part of it (reinvests it) and told me that if he keeps going, he’ll have around $1,000 coming in each month in just 8 years.