It is getting even harder for artists to earn money from their music. Live venue expenses are up, meaning pay is down. As a result, even major artists have begun to quit touring due to the cost.
There are many ways artists are branching out from traditional income streams. Below, we give three unique ways artists are earning an income.
Licensing Their Image
There are some major rock and pop artists who will allow their image to be used on almost anything. You only need to check out the long line of Kiss products and Rolling Stones merchandise to see that. Yet you may be surprised that not only big acts can license their image. Some niche bands and artists have signed deals to have their likeness and iconography placed in online gambling games, namely slots. From niche metal acts like Saxon, to dance music-themed attempts with DJ Wild, this is becoming a very popular revenue stream.
Part of this can be traced to the growth in the iGaming industry. Slot games are no longer just simple reels with traditional symbols. They have complex bonus rounds and jackpots, which have added to their popularity. Some branded ones such as Wazdan Cash Drop can command huge winning amounts. As the audience is similar, namely people who like to relax at home with a record on, entertainment in the form of online gambling and casinos are not a world away. Thus, it makes sense to use iconic musicians as a way to bring in new customers.
Sponsorships are usually associated with athletes, who can be paid astronomical amounts to advertise and use products from major brands. Yet sponsorship for musicians has been around for a long time, though not always in a so blatant way. This is because, in the past, many believed it compromised artistic integrity to be using music to promote a product for financial gain. However, those days are now long gone and if Snoop Dogg can advertise takeaway delivery companies and still look cool, you can do it as well.
Most sponsorship will come from instrument manufacturers. They may ask someone to use their instrument, strings, effects pedals, or amplifiers. Usually, these come with some promotional duties attached, such as advertising photoshoots or intimate concerts. More of these are becoming available for up-and-coming artists, especially those with large social media followings.
Making Unique Merchandise People Want
Merchandise is a huge earner for artists. Hoodies and T-Shirts are the standard and will also bring a great return. Yet it is possible to take this one step further, offering even more products to fans. If you can manage to get a unique item, you may even be able to improve your sales at the merchandise table drastically.
The trick is to make it something quality your fans will want. For example, Arooj Aftab, on her Bandcamp page, sold boutique perfume oil to accompany her album. This product fits excellently with her blend of modern Pakistani-infused chillwave. Thus, it is now sold out. Think about what could enhance your album or the kind of products your fans would clamor to have in their collection.
With streaming often paying very little, you may wonder if it is even possible to make money as a musician. But here you’ve seen some of the innovations artists are exploring to keep the music alive.
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