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How realistic it is to make money making music?

The world of music is not as difficult to make money as it seems. What is difficult is to succeed.

I'm a musician and I've been with my band for over 15 years and people  still pay us with beers, I do it for fun and love of music.

But I have won a lot of money with views of a YouTube video about  how to play popular songs.


One of the myths I hear is that talent is the only thing for a group to succeed, and although having a talented interpreter will help the group to have everything easier (A good lyricist, a good composer, etc ...) at the end, what differentiates the success or not of a group is luck, finding the right contact at the right moment, having contacts with record companies, producers, etc ... that are in charge of moving your music properly.

Many incredible groups have stayed on the road for X or Y reasons, and were not necessarily worse than other groups that have "triumphed".

But if you do not want to live exclusively from it, you can get a great secondary income source of music in several ways:

Riding a group and playing weekends in various places in your locality / community / country. You can report an extra pinch, but you have to have good marketing skills and above all know how to connect with your audience and through word of mouth you end up hanging around the local scene. In my times we would get approximately € 200 for a one-hour concert, giving 4 or 5 concerts a month, it was a good pinch. The most difficult part of this part is getting enough concerts to live and not abhor your audience with your same repertoire.

Following the previous example, the sale of merchandising and CDS is a source of secondary income, although it is an investment that must be made in an advanced life cycle of the group.

If you have worked with the musical production or are passionate about it, you can set up a recording studio and charge for offering your services to different groups or be part of the staff of a larger studio. Again, luck and contacts help a lot at this point.

You can sell your songs online. This is complicated with the large number of artists there, but it is not unreasonable to think that you can make money this way.

Playing in an orchestra. It's hard work, and you usually pay more for the assembly / disassembly work than for the interpretive ability of the musicians (generally it's playback except the singers and the drummer). But they pay approximately € 100 per night and in summer it is a fairly safe source of income, especially in Galicia.

Giving private lessons One of the most common methods of making all the profits profitable is getting students to give private lessons. Having a good didactic helps more than the skill, as well as knowing how to find the right clients for you.

Create a YouTube channel dedicated to music (Jaime Altozano, I mean you). It can be a great alternative to get to know you and be able to teach what you do, generating a source of income usually small, but that opens doors to other fields or collaborations.

In short, like most things in this life, it's a bit of talent, a bit of luck and being in the right moment, with the right people, in the right place, as well as knowing how to look for life, move and know the correct people

You can live from music, but like almost all artistic disciplines, you have to look for something that you can differentiate yourself in so that you can separate yourself from the millions of artists that exist in the world.


It's not a easy route to take if you're aiming for comfortable living. The factors that can help you earn some substantial income from playing music are influenced greatly by the people you know and luck. 

Relatively speaking, the easiest part having is mastery in playing the type of music you're interested in. Let's say you mastered all that needs to be mastered at an individual level. The next hurdle is trying to sell your name out there. 

It's the people you make friends with that could give you referrals for gigs or your lucky stars that some producer happens to be nearby and digs your music. It can take several years or never before that big break. Your best bet is to use whatever social media you have at your disposal to advertise and hope your performance gets viral. 

If you're flexible enough to create music through exploring multiple genres and events, you can have some steady income playing in weddings, tutoring, creating content in the blockchain, and creating content in sites like youtube.  


First of all, there are now a lot more sections to explore in the music industry so making money shouldnt be restricted to singing alone.

Although the Mega Singers make the most money, the field is incredibly competitive that severely restricts ones chances as a singer. However it is still quite possible to make it with a unique natural (voice) talent, great promotion/marketing, a great team and a little bit of luck.

Howver if you're looking to explore other areas, this will certainly increase your chances of making a financially viable career in the music industry. Major Sections include songwriting, production, Marketing and Video Directing amogst others.


Some people could never be professional musicians. There are millions of them trotted out on the X Factor every year. For others, they're so talented that it would be harder for them to not get noticed.

Being honest, and going purely by the info in the question (which really is not much) I'd say that it's unlikely for you.

If you want to go into pop and make millions of dollars and be loved by fans, you have a better chance of winning the lottery jackpot. — you need connection, talent, and a person to sponsor your career, all hard things to get.

If you have worked hard since you were eight on a specific instrument, and want to be a professional orchestral musician, then I would say your chances are pretty good.

if you don't have the music where you want it art-wise, you might want to go work on that, this article isn't going to help you much either. you will be better off by practicing and studying and working on your music instead. you will need to get the art pretty close to where you want it, before you should worry about making much of a living out of it.

keep your expenses very low. read that one again. move someplace cheap. drive a good used car. do all the things it takes to be a secure un-monied person. you have to have health insurance. you have to have a reliable car [unless you live in nyc or something]. you have to have some money in savings. you have to pay your taxes. don't have a big expense of alcohol or drugs or any drag on your system like that. i wouldn't even smoke. use your head. spend very little, save as much as you can and don't get into any big expenditure until you can afford it, maybe never. buy your gear used. research as much as you can. think about it really hard before you part with a dollar.

learn how to honestly add and subtract without emotion. if you spend more than you take in, you lost money. i can't tell you how many folks that i run into that have trouble with this. if you bring in more that went out guess what? you just made money.

stick to this low-overhead model, if you end up making a bunch of dough, you already know how to deal with it. if not, you still get to keep working because you don't have a bunch of stuff that you have to dust and pay for.

the more overhead you tack on, the harder it's going to be. and the easier it is to get knocked off course.

Don't be afraid to do other things to make money in the short term. this can be a very rewarding experience. historically musicians have been barbers and bartenders and all kinds of stuff to make ends meet. this is totally fine. don't worry about it. it's cool. do what you need to do. waiting tables will give you lots of stuff to write songs about. i used to call myself the king of the part time job, because i could get up out of my chair at any time and go get a job of some sort. not that it would be the greatest job of course, but i could go and get something going. i've cleaned pools, painted apartments, done maintenance work, taught music, worked in a factory, threw newspapers, drove a delivery truck, cooked, all kinds of stuff, and none of it killed me. through it all i was able to keep practicing and writing music and studying what i was doing. bills? hey no problem, go flip a few burgers and i can pay that and get back to playing the banjo. get a job in a dance band whatever i have to do. just live within your means and you can avoid so many hassles. hassles interrupt your practice routine.

I should not recommend any materialistic person to read this comment skip i don't think he /she is going to like what it says.