If you think that making a good living in the music business by finding the most efficient ways of earning money is ‘unethical’…go ahead and exit this page right now.

However, if you have a strong desire for music and want to pursue it as a career…you’ve come to the right place. Fact is, most musicians do NOT know how to earn good money in the music business. As a result, they end up working outside of the music industry in a job that they aren’t satisfied with. In this article I will help you to avoid the pitfalls that prevent most musicians from making a living in their music career, so that you can realize your potential with music.

In reality, making A LOT of money in the music business is not as hard as it might seem (and is NOT something reserved for rock stars only), however, if you want to achieve this for yourself you will need to think with an alternate mindset than most musicians.

The reason why so many musicians do not make much money with music is because they are not aware that music is a business (and needs to be treated as such). These people fail because they are not mentally ready to achieve great things in the music industry.

Besides not approaching their music careers with an understanding of the business side of things, the majority of musicians do not earn a lot of money in the music industry due to making the following mistakes:

Thinking That Popularity = Making A Lot Of Money In The Music Industry

Fact is, the majority of musicians who are ‘making it’ in the music industry are NOT rock stars. Being part of a popular band does not mean that you will be earning a great living. The truth is that some musicians (who are very popular) still work side jobs just to get by. By understanding this, you will be able to push ‘fame’ aside in order to focus on the most effective ways to work toward your goal of making a good living in music. Of course it is possible to both be famous AND make a lot of money in the music industry, however it is most important at this point to focus your efforts on the appropriate aspects of your goal.

Not Working To Continually Add Value To Others In The Music Business

There is one very important concept to understand if you are going to pursue a career in music. Whether you are a touring musician, music teacher, producer, session player, songwriter, or are involved in any other occupation, the people who will pay you money to work with you will need to have a reason to pick you from the thousands of other musicians following the same path. At first, this may seem pretty hopeless, but in reality the amount of competition you face is not a major factor. Why is this? Fact is, most musicians are too busy focusing on their musical skills while not focusing on building as much “value” around themselves as possible. Your musical skills (no matter how great they may be) are only ONE element of “value”. The other elements (that most musicians do not focus on) include your work ethic, temperament, business savvy and reliability just to name a few. To make yourself the absolute best choice to work together with a music company, you must work to build up a massive amount of value so that any of the musicians competing against you will pale in comparison. This means that when a music company considers working with you, it must be OBVIOUS that there is no other choice.

Right now you may be thinking that this is a simple concept to understand (and you are right!). However, in spite of this, the overwhelming majority of musicians do not take action to do this in their music careers on a daily basis. As long as you have the ability to continually add high amounts of value for anyone in the music business, you will have great potential to make a lot of money. It is for this reason that I train all of the musicians in my music industry mentoring program to develop a mindset for adding value within everything they do.

Not Establishing Multiple Sources Of Music Related Income

Almost all musicians enter into the music business with the same mindset they have used while looking for a regular job. This means they only expect to make a single source of income from touring or releasing music albums.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with this approach to making money. However, relying “only” on these avenues is very limiting and makes it difficult to continually make a comfortable living as a musician. Fortunately, it is quite simple to create many different sources of income for yourself that add up to give you a very stable and sustainable career in the music business. No matter what your main goal is in the music industry, whether it be touring in a band, selling albums, producing records, etc…you will need to have various sources that are bringing in money for you in both passive and active ways. By having multiple sources of income, you will gain a lot of security and won’t need to rely on a single income stream to make a living.

Not Knowing Your Goals And Not Having A Plan To Reach Them

To earn more money in your music career, you must set specific goals and have a strategy in place for reaching them. Don’t simply have vague ideas of wanting to be a professional musician. Instead, you must focus on what you want out of music. To get started, answer the questions below:

  1. What do you want your annual music career income to be?
  2. What are the various sources of income that will allow you to reach your goal in question #1?
  3. What action must you take in order to set up these sources of income?
  4. What is every possible way that you can add high levels of value to each interaction you have in the music business?
  5. What is every possible way that you can eliminate risk for other people in the music business?

Once you have answered each of the questions above, you must make every step in your music career go toward the specific goals you have determined for yourself.

The majority of musicians struggle to identify exactly ‘what’ they must do to get their desired results in the music industry. Additionally, once they know ‘what’ to do, they struggle to understand ‘how’ to use this knowledge effectively. If you are in this same situation, the best action that you can take is to find a great mentor who can train you to achieve success in your music career and make a lot of money in the music industry. By doing this, you will avoid wasting your time and effort on the same frustrating mistakes that other musicians make.

Not Properly Identifying Who You Are Marketing To

After you understand the value you are ready to offer in the music business, you must know WHO you are going to give it to. For instance, if you are ready to put out your new album, or create a new instructional service or product on your website, who are the people that are going to purchase it? Do you have a way to get in touch with these people? If not, what steps are you taking now to build a database of your fans/customers? If your goal is to work as a session musician, have you already spent time to write down all the musicians, studios, and bands that might be looking for someone to work with? What are you going to do today to get the attention of your potential customers?

If you are at all like the majority of musicians, you likely have not invested much time into determining who your market is. As a result, here is what is likely to happen: you spend a lot of time and energy to create music or instructional products, but don’t make much money from your musical efforts since you don’t already have a database of customers who are willing to buy what you have to offer.

Since this is such a major factor for success in music business careers, I spend a great deal of time showing musicians in my music business mentoring program how to build a database and use it to make a good living in music.

You might believe that being signed with a music company means that you do not need to work to promote yourself, build a list of fans, or find ways to earn money. However, in reality these companies are not responsible for your music career, and will not do this for you. The key to achieving success and earning a lot of money in the music industry is for YOU to take action and build your database. This way all your customers/fans are controlled by you.

Ending Thoughts

There are many musicians who view the music business as ‘deceptive’ or ‘wrong’ because it involves making money from one’s passion rather than giving it away for free. These people likely spend their time focusing on songwriting skills or improving their abilities on their instrument. Although these are important things to work on, it is also critical to focus on improving your ‘music business skills’ if you want to earn enough money from music without needing a day job just to get by.

Even though there is no way to predict (in a single article) the specific path you must take to make a great living in the music industry, if you avoid the mistakes mentioned here you will be much more likely to achieve financial freedom in your music career. The good news is that when you do start making a stable living as a professional musician, you will be able to spend more time on that which drew you to the music industry in the first place: making music.