As an independent artist in Africa, it may be tough to create ways to monetize your music and depend on your music as your sole source of income due to the uneven music market. But if you love making music, then it’s definitely one of the most fulfilling ways to earn a living. It may be your full-time job or a lucrative side-gig, the goal is to sell music in a lucrative way and make money while doing what you love.

Although selling your music doesn’t come with any guarantees, what if there’s no money there? A lot of musicians, African artists especially, see this step as taking too much risk and eventually back off. But instead why not manage the risk? Why not create ways to monetize your music?

How do you manage the risk? Or in fact, eliminate them altogether? Making money from music generally isn’t easy, but it’s not entirely impossible if you know the ways to monetize your music. By diversifying into automated revenue streams during COVID, musicians were able to reduce risk and break the barrier, thereby taking a chance at their dream careers.

Statistica shows that revenues from streaming services rose up to 20% in 2019 totaling to $8.8 billion, accounting for 79.5% of all recorded music revenues. Music streaming is anticipated to grow in Africa to $493 million by 2025 with Nigeria’s music streaming alone valued currently at $40 million and is projected to increase by 10% by 2023.

This data shows the gap between the income African music creators make compared to the global counterpart, but still indicates the growth within the African music business. Hence, the reason why every independent artist, including you, has to take advantage of this growth and create ways to monetize your music. 

In this article, I’ll be sharing with you reliable ways to monetize your music and begin making an income from it.

5 Ways To Monetize Your Music 

In the inception of your music career, it’s important to have multiple streams of income from your music. Without a record label, any single stream is very unlikely to generate enough income for you to earn a living hence why you need to indulge in other ways to monetize your music. 

Operating together a number of automated revenue streams can help you mitigate the risk and focus on creating good music rather than selling it.

The following are surefire ways to monetize your music and make an income from your music career:

Earn Streaming Royalties Through Digital Distribution 

To completely leverage this and understand what digital distribution is, it’s important to know the difference between a streaming service and a distribution network. 

A streaming service is a music platform where people listen to music. Examples of streaming platforms that provide streaming services are Spotify and Apple Music. Contrastingly, a distribution network distributes and collects royalties from these streaming services. 

Using distribution networks to distribute your music across all streaming platforms is one way to monetize your music as it helps you collect your royalties on these platforms. Although musicians don’t really have a choice when it comes to streaming services, it’s important that your music is streamed on the two largest streaming platforms- Apple Music and Spotify. There are other streaming services like Google Play, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and genre-specific streaming services like JunoDownload, Beatport, etc.

How To Choose The Best Distribution Network

To leverage this as one of the ways to monetize your music, you need to know to make the right decision on choosing the best distribution network. Most distribution networks have access to send your music to all major streaming platforms so this isn’t a major concern in determining the best distribution network to help you create a way to monetize your music. However, there are different kinds of services offered by these distribution networks with their pricing, their royalty payments, and their pros and cons. 

Here are the most common distribution networks available:

  1. Landr: The plan price on Landr starts at $4/month. It provides access to all major streaming services and pays 100% of streaming royalties to the artist, making it one of the less expensive options. Its con is that it has intrusive ads for its flagship product.
  2. Tunecore: Its plan starts at $9.99/year for each single posted. It includes a suite of tools to help artists prepare, promote and sell their music and also pays 100% of streaming royalties to the artist. Its con is that it has a confusing price structure since you’re charged per song, per year and there are tendencies you’ll be paying out more than you make.
  3. Amuse: This distribution network is free. This is the most affordable distribution network to use, it’s very easy to use and great for upcoming artists. It also doubles as a record label, offering a chance of being discovered. It pays 100% of streaming royalties to the artist. Its con is that it only works through a mobile app with no desktop version and the features are very limited.

Make Money From Playing Gigs 

One of the ways to monetize your music is by playing live. This is one of the most profitable ways for musicians to make money. Now that the internet has made it possible to live stream music performances, it’s still not as intriguing as performing to your fans in person. 

Although in Africa, it’s quite tough to find paid gigs as a musician, you’ll need to have created quality music to want to perform to an audience. But once you get a paid gig and the audience loves your music, you indirectly build your fanbase while also making money in the process. So you need to include playing at paid gigs as one of your ways to monetize your music.

In the long term, you may want to build relationships with the local venues paying you for the paid gigs. This is where your networking skills need to play their part. You can start small and begin to look for venues that are open to new acts.

To leverage networking, you may need to create an electronic press kit.

What to include in your electronic press kit:

  1. Links to your songs on streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify.
  2. Professional photograph.
  3. Links to your website and social media profiles.
  4. A brief bio of you and your band (if you have any)- more like an “About us page”.
  5. Music videos (if you have any).
  6. Press quotes or reviews.
  7. Contact information.

Collaborate With Brands And Other Musicians

Being a musician doesn’t stop you from becoming a freelance musician. In fact, this is one of the ways to monetize your music. You can collaborate with other musicians by producing for them or running vocals for them. 

Although this is dependent on the kind of music you make and your specific music skills, you can hop on freelance platforms like Upwork, freelancer, and twine as they have job postings for vocalists, producers, and skilled instrumentalists. 

You can also reach out to your network of musicians and brands who want to collaborate for a feature on a track. You can also write music for other artists who love your sound and would like you to write their songs for them. This is very popular in the African music industry with A-list artists hiring lower artists to write songs for them and paying them with royalties or outright payment.

Sell Beats And Samples

If you’re a musician with production skills, selling beats and samples is also one of the ways to monetize your music. You can sell your beats and samples as digital products. If you’re a full-time producer, this can be your primary source of income.

Selling samples and beats gives you the freedom to spend work hours making music. This is one of its primary benefits. 

What to know to sell your beats online as one of the ways to monetize your music:

  • Mixing and mastering: Any musician purchasing your beats will expect a certain level of technical quality. If you’re not good with this, you need to spend time learning this perfectly.
  • Licensing: When music artists purchase beats from you, they’re purchasing the license to use the best in their music. There are different types of licensing, so it’s important you understand what rights of your music you’re giving up when selling your beats.
  • Marketing: There are a lot of licensed beats out there. A lot of beats may interest your buyers hence it’s important you market your beats to the right audience. You need to find your niche and create a marketing strategy around that niche to maximize your marketing plan. Here’s a guide to walk you through Music Niche Marketing

Teach Music Classes And Sell Lessons

Not every musician is interested in global stardom. Some just want to make good music and impact lives while doing so. If you’re one of these persons, you can add this as one of the ways to monetize your music. 

If you’re interested in training others, this can be one of the ways to monetize your music. There is a lot of learning management platforms that can help you to create and manage your music course online. With proper marketing, you can get people enrolled for your music course.

These platforms include: 

 

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