Although this graph is telling about how little we artists actually get paid for streaming, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

If you are an independent artist and you have some tracks on Spotify, you can make much more than .00029 cents per song streamed.

No, it’s not going to be much; maybe about ⅓ of a cent, but imagine making ⅓ of a cent on a higher volume of plays.

I am including this one more for full disclosure than anything else – streaming does generate income, but the amount is usually not much unless you are able to generate millions of plays.

Taxi (not the driving kind)

Here’s an interesting one not enough people outside of the commercial music world talk about.

There’s a website called Taxi in which you can upload your music and tracks for consideration in television commercials, movies, record deals, and the likes.

More composers and music makers should be sending their music to Taxi – their placement rate is actually pretty damn good – they’ve been in the business a long time and send stuff to high-level people.

Also, even if you don’t get placed, you will get direct feedback from industry professionals about your music in some of your submissions.

Teaching At a High School or University

For musicians looking for stable employment, teaching young musicians the greater mechanics of performing and composing at a high school or university can be a satisfying way to make a consistent paycheck.

In order to teach at the high school level, you almost always need to have a Music Education degree. Here are some of my suggested programs, although many schools beyond even these ones develop excellent teachers.

To teach at the university level, you almost always need a terminal degree in your field of study.

Ticket Sales

On top of the aforementioned performance fee that you can make when putting on a show, you can also make cash from ticket sales.

Usually, unless you have your own venue, the ticket sales you sell at a show will be split among you, other acts, and the venue. You can sell tickets both at the show and online.


Touring is a great way to make money as a musician, since you are going to perform for so many people in so many different cities.

Touring is also a really good way to convince sponsors to pay you for spreading their name, since, again, you will be performing for many people in many different cities (read above on “Sponsorship Advertising”).

Touring itself usually does not present its own kind of revenue stream, but rather, is a way to take advantage of multiple revenue streams.

When touring, you should sell tickets, merchandise, CDs, mp3s; offer sponsors the option to promote their brand name along yours; get people to sign up to your mailing list; promote your website; solicit donations and cash for any crowdfunding platforms, and more.


As you can see above, there are so many great, creative ways to make money as a professional composing or performing musician in today’s world.

Sure, you can’t make a great career happen overnight, but you can start working on tapping into these streams of income today. Imagine, ten years down the line, having a number of these streams work in simultaneity for you – you could impress the world at your self-sustenance, money-making abilities as a musician.

Any more ideas for making money as a performing or composing musician? Leave them in the comments below.

Cover Photo by John Althouse Cohen Via Flickr Creative Commons