If there's one thing that most independent artists share, it’s a spirit of perseverance: the ability to keep chasing your dreams in the face of obstacles, and to do what you love even though it’s not always the easy path.
This goes for making money from your music as well. It may not be simple, but finding different ways to support your craft is a worthwhile way to create a career that’s sustainable. And finding some recurring revenue through online sales with your website is a great way to earn income while also writing, playing, and performing music. After all, if you avoid the ask you won’t hear the offer, and your website has a global reach.
So how did musicians make money with their websites in 2021? After looking through Bandzoogle artist sales reports, we discovered that our members made $9.9M in commission-free sales last year. That’s something to be really proud of!
We thought we’d take a look at some of the most successful ways musicians have been making money, and hope that it sparks some interesting ideas for all independent artists.
Digital music sales through a music website
Streaming is a wildly popular way to consume music. However, there are still plenty of die-hard music fans who love to support musicians, and buying directly from an artist’s website is the best way to put some money, commission-free, right back into their pockets.
If you have a new release coming up, it is possible to make some money from your music by selling it online! The complete guide to selling your music online will walk you through the steps of getting ready to make digital music sales.
Band merch sales
Many fans are more than willing to help support their favorite artists especially when it means they receive something in return that they can hold in their hands, or wear on their bodies. Band merch sales came in at an impressive $6.4M in 2021.
This includes sales made with merchandise created and fulfilled using Printful. If you haven’t yet tried selling merch through your website, setting up products and having them fulfilled for you is an easy way to dip your toes in. You never know how much your fans might buy, and there’s no commitment on your part for sizing or shipping.
With the release of product bundles in 2021, musicians also made the most of pairing up merch options, putting songbooks with CDs, t-shirts with hats, or setting up experiences for their fans to make more money creatively.
With live shows still being in flux throughout most of 2021 in different areas of the world, we’re amazed at the adaptability shown by many indie artists as you continue to engage fans through performances. Selling tickets to live streams, workshops, actual live shows, and more netted Bandzoogle artists $831,250 in 2021.
Digital merch sales
Using your website to generate passive income while you pursue other things like recording and playing live is a wonderful way to supplement your income. In 2021, this was no exception - musicians sold many different kinds of digital files, from videos, to live stream compilations, sample packs, lyrics, sheet music…the list goes on.
Generating income with fan subscriptions
Selling recurring fan club memberships to your biggest supporters is a great way to earn regular income. And as natural content creators, many musicians found the fan subscription model to be a successful fit in 2021.
From offering videos like Q&As to sneak peeks at new music, all of this community building created $545,000 in revenue for musicians.
Tip jar donations
The virtual tip jar continued to be a viable way to let fans donate directly to their favorite artists through their official websites in 2021. Whether you add a tip jar during a live stream, or place it on your Homepage with an engaging note, artists made the most of virtual tip jars in 2021, earning $497,200 in donations.
While musicians creating and selling goods and services directly from their artist websites is nothing new, it’s always amazing to take a look at how successful it can be. Giving fans options to buy direct, and support local, can only result in musicians making more money, especially if you put your heart into promoting the online options through your artist website.
Keep 100% of your revenues when you sell music, merch and tickets through your website. Build your website with Bandzoogle now.
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