10 ways to make money as an aspiring musician and singer on the Internet and Offline

The days of audio cassettes and CDs are long gone. Recording sales have declined significantly, but musicians have new sources of income. Today, you can and should make money on your music in other ways. To become a successful musician, talent alone is not enough. Despite the fact that there are more and more opportunities to earn, only a select few achieve success. For many beginners and little-known singers who have not yet acquired their own audience, promoting the product of their work is a difficult task. The best way to make money from music today is to have multiple sources of income.


How can a musician start making money?

There is no magic formula by which a singer will become popular and rich. In addition to musical talent, other components of success are also important.

  1. Quality product. To make good and sought-after music that can earn money, a musician needs not only to improve his skills, learn new things, improve himself, but also invest financially - to purchase tools and equipment, pay recording studios. Moreover, the more successful the performer, the more money he spends on creating music.
  2. Listeners. As much as a singer wants to be liked by music critics and labels, ultimately his main goal is to find his audience. It is she who pays for concert tickets, buys albums and listens to music on the Internet. Music marketers came up with the concept of "1000 superfans" - these are the people who can support the artist financially. It is this minimum of loyal fans that is needed to turn a hobby into a main income. 
  3. Networking.  It is important for a singer to be able to make new acquaintances. The more contacts in the professional field, the more likely that one of them may be useful.
  4. Exceptional luck/hard work and patience. On average, investments in a musical career pay off in 3–5 years. Most successful singers have come a long way before making money. They wrote songs that few people listened to, performed at unpaid concerts. Therefore, if a novice musician has neither the strength nor the patience to wait and work so much, then one must either hope for a lucky chance, or give up trying. How to start making music, write your first tracks and create a band.


How to make money as a singer on music offline

Not all sources of income for many famous musicians are related to their main activities. How do successful singers monetize their work, and how can a novice performer make money?

Album sales

For a musician, releasing music on physical media is expensive and doesn't pay off well. Today, fans are less likely to buy CDs, preferring to listen to music online. However, physical releases have certain advantages. Unlike MP3s, fans can buy CD albums as a souvenir and add to their music collection. In addition, compact discs:

  • guarantee the best sound quality;
  • are the visiting card of the artist;
  • advertise the work of the musician.



Touring life only from the outside seems attractive and romantic. Philip Kirkorov earns about 1.5 million rubles for a concert. Most of this amount goes to pay the team from managers to dancers.

Little-known singers need to work hard so that the income from the concert covers the costs of organizing it: renting a club, equipment, transfers, and hired employees. If a singer or group does not have a well-known name, then it is extremely rare to earn more than one's own expenses. However, musicians need performances, as concerts allow:

  • communicate with fans;
  • improve performance skills;
  • attract a new audience;
  • make a profit from the sale of discs and merchandise - things and souvenirs with the symbols of the artist or group.



Any singer who has registered his compositions in the author's communities has the right to receive royalties from the use of his product. In Russia, we are not talking about large sums. Sergey Zhukov, the lead singer of the Hands Up! group, admits that he earns about 15 thousand rubles a month from this.

Interesting! At the same time, for the song "Song", the rights to which were bought by the German band ATC in 2000, Zhukov has already received more than $ 1.5 million. The cover version of "Around The World", created by the Germans, still brings profit to the Russian artist. 


Corporate events, weddings and anniversaries

The fees received by Russian singers for corporate events are several times higher than their earnings from concert activities. Often, commissioned performances become the main source of income. Inviting a popular musician to a holiday will cost the customer at least 1 million rubles. Prices increase depending on the status of the performer and the company that orders it. On New Year's Eve, the price of performances by stars increases by 20–40%.

Aspiring singers planning to perform at weddings, anniversaries and graduations should be prepared to perform not their own songs, but famous hits. The public can make changes to the repertoire during the performance of the artist, order songs or ask for repetition - flexibility also affects the size of the musician's income. Income depends on the type of holiday and the solvency of the customer. 
Today, the cost of the work of a beginner and little-known singer at a corporate party, anniversary or wedding is from five to tens of thousands of rubles. Artists earn more in big cities. In St. Petersburg, speaking at a corporate party costs about 65,000 rubles, and in Moscow - 100,000 rubles. You can earn more by performing covers, as well as combining the functions of a musician and presenter. 

Social events, festivals

Such events are organized, for example, by the city administration. To participate in them, you need to apply to the organizing committee. At local concerts, an aspiring singer can earn about $200. The fees of famous artists for participating in the city day are comparable to their income from a solo concert. 

Side projects

Some musicians have to play in several bands at once. Working on other projects helps you earn money for your music, as well as improve yourself as an artist.

Interesting! For example, Yan Nikolenko, the leader of the Oedipus Complex and Networks groups (he is known to the general public by the composition Smile), worked as a backing vocalist in the popular Splin and BI-2 bands. In addition, he played the flute and keyboards, participated in writing texts.


Music competitions

Popular singers participate in competitions already as members of the jury or star mentors. For beginner musicians, participation in competitions is a good way to make yourself known to the general public. Earn at competitions is obtained only in case of successful performance or victory. In some cases, musicians will have to spend money on entrance fees, travel and accommodation, costumes. However, many participants of the competitions were able to loudly declare themselves and began to earn money after the end of the project. For example, Nargiz Zakirova, having completed her performances in Golos, signed a contract with Maxim Fadeev's label. Her earnings during the years of work with the producer amounted to 1 million rubles per concert. 

street performances

Some singers admit that they performed in passageways, on squares or trains and thus earned their living. For example, Ivan Alekseev, known under the stage name Noize MC, gave concerts on the Arbat at the beginning of his career, and Zemfira sang on the streets in her native Ufa, performing songs from popular rock bands. 
Traditionally, passers-by can make voluntary donations for a hat or musical instrument case. In addition, sometimes speakers indicate their account for transferring funds, hand out business cards with bank details and accounts on social networks. On average, you can earn up to 1000 rubles for one impromptu concert. On the days of folk festivals, the earnings of street singers are much higher.

In Russia, there is no ban on the performance of music on the street, if it does not violate public order. Playing street musicians does not fall under the concept of illegal entrepreneurial activity. However, in reality, the police are not always tolerant of such concerts. 

Work in restaurants

A novice musician can get a permanent job in a restaurant. Despite the fact that you will have to perform other people's works, this activity brings a stable income. The average salary for 2 hours of work is $28-$32.

Interesting! At the beginning of his career, Grigory Leps performed romances in a Sochi hotel restaurant. For the evening he received about $1.60. Today, the artist's fee is 3 million rubles for a solo concert, and his participation in the New Year's corporate party will cost the company $144,000.


Songs to order

If a musician writes music himself, he can sell lyrics, music, or the entire composition to other artists. For example, Andrey Gubin wrote songs not only for himself, but also for Zhanna Friske, and Irina Dubtsova became the author of several compositions for Philip Kirkorov, Sergey Lazarev and Valeria. 
For beginners and little-known musicians, writing songs for others is a great chance to show themselves or add material that they themselves did not need. It is extremely rare to sell a song to a popular singer without intermediaries - to independently seek contact through social networks or contact a manager. That's what recording studios are for. Many of them accept song demos from up-and-coming songwriters and offer them to established artists, for example, in a monthly mailing list.
Talented musicians earn money by composing music for movies, TV shows, TV shows and commercials. The chances of a novice author to immediately sell a work on TV are small. To do this, he needs to actively cooperate with production studios and music agencies, offering his services or ready-made materials. 
Earnings depend on the volume of the order, experience and budget of the project. For music in big-budget films, the composer receives up to 1 million rubles. Income from work in serials is 30-100 thousand rubles per episode. Compositions for advertising bring authors from 10 to 100 thousand rubles. Musicians with well-known names earn up to 300 thousand per track.

Teaching music, vocals and other services

Professional musicians can share their skills and abilities with others. Depending on the experience and talent of the teacher, you can teach: vocals, playing musical instruments, arranging, mixing, mastering. In addition, the musician can earn on other services, such as instrument tuning and repair.

Income not directly related to music

Most of the income of popular singers comes from performances at corporate parties and concert activities. But many stars have other sources of income. How do musicians earn besides music?

  1. Business. Some release their own clothing line, others open cafes and restaurants. Sergey Zhukov, who owns a chain of confectionery shops with his wife, earns about 10–12 million rubles every month from this. The business brings him most of his income and helped him enter the Forbes list with earnings of $5 million a year.
  2. advertising contracts. Only popular artists with a popular name can count on cooperation with major brands. Basta's contract for advertising promotion of the bank brought him $ 200-250 thousand. Little known in wide circles, but lit up in a musical project, performer Charlotte earned 1 million rubles for advertising a mobile operator. 
  3. Merch sale. Goods with the logo of a group or artist become an additional form of income for musicians. You can sell everything where you can apply symbols - from stickers to furniture.
  4. Main job or side job. Well-known musicians most often do not need additional income, but novice performers often combine music lessons with their main activities. This guarantees a stable income, but leaves little time and effort for creativity.


Interesting! There are also rare exceptions. Ted Skjellum (Nocturno Culto), vocalist for the Norwegian metal band Darkthrone, works as a school teacher in his hometown.
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