6 Ways to Make a Living with Music

Article by: Renata Vontobel & Philip Garcia
VQS Advice Blog | Career Strategy | Cover Image by Spencer Imbrock

How much longer will you let your audience wait for you?
Learn why the world really needs more music creators like YOU!

What if there were more opportunities to make money with your music skills than you thought? GREAT NEWS! We’re going to learn or re-learn why making a living as a musician will benefit you and your audience!

Here’s our Top 6 Music Career Paths to take if you want to be a full-time musician.

1. Sing the Songs, Everyone Loves

Break the ice through familiarity!

group of people raising hands silhouette photography
Photo by Chad Kirchoff on Pexels.com

One big dream of many people is to have a band where they can play their original music (which you should still aim for!) Now if we look closely, the most successful bands, profit-wise, are usually the ones that perform covers. Hmm…

Cover bands have an easier time booking shows at weddings and festivals, where the public wants to listen to music they are already familiar with. These events also have a higher payment than regular venue$.

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2. Make Music for TV and Film

Games, Media and Ads: They need YOU too!

Composing music for TV and Film is a fabulous way to earn money creating music. It does require strong music and arrangement skills. Now you can also break this down into further categories of a music creator by:

  1. Contributing to sound libraries
  2. Creating music for advertisements
  3. Making music for video games
  4. Custom music for YouTubers and Influencers
  5. Ghost write for any situation (minus the credit)

Any media on screen whether moving or still, usually benefits from music and sound. The world needs more music creators like you.

Always, remember: musicians are also artists, creators and storytellers.

As music creators, we bring soundscapes, emotion, texture and depth into the world of media. There’s a new audience today that is always searching and listening for new sounds. We need your fresh touch and flavor more than ever!

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3. Write Songs for Other Artists

Ignite your creative colors!

Photo By: Spencer Imbrock

When an artist releases a song, most of the profits usually go to the songwriters!

Nowadays, with musicians like Julia Michaels, who writes music for herself and other artists, songwriters have become more recognized by the public. Like a composer, songwriters often are invited to write music for film, and that is where you can be very successful!

4. Become a Session Player!

Musicianship matters. Play it for the world.

guitar fingers fretboard musician
photo by Scott Gruber

As a session musician, you will be hired to play for artists, bands, producers, and composers, and either paid by the hour or a flat fee. It’s common to be able to sight-read or have excellent relative pitch, as you will record with different styles of music in the same week.

You can also have lots of different types of work, like studio recording and live performances.

The wonderful thing about being a session musician is that there will always be work, as artists usually are not multi-instrumentalists. This is the perfect environment to learn about teamwork, following direction and managing time. Now that’s value!

5. Take Over the Spotlight!

…by becoming a solo artist.

Ok, we’re going BOLD here! Working as a solo artist or a band act is an awesome way to make it in the music world. Though challenging, it is for sure a viable way to make money.

The key to becoming a successful artist, besides creating and playing great music, is the team you work with.

Having a great team that will be there to help you promote your music in the best way possible is the way to go. But don’t forget to always persevere through the tough times and strive to succeed.

6. Spread Your Knowledge to Others

Empower the next generation of musicians.

photo of child sitting by the table while looking at the imac
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

If you weren’t a self-taught musician, for sure you can remember a teacher or mentor that helped you achieve the talent you have today. There are so many opportunities to work as an educator!

  • You can work in a school as the band or choir teacher
  • Teach in private after-school courses
  • Be a private instructor to your selected students.
  • Work from home and teach any specific music niche.


Which career path do you think is the best for you? We’d love to hear from you!

Article by: Renata Vontobel & Philip Garcia

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About the Author
LA based video creator, producer and media coach.
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