One of the most common refrains you’ll hear when you’re starting out as a professional musician is “how are you going to fund yourself?”. After all, it can be very difficult indeed to lead a profitable lifestyle as a musician. Plenty of venues either won’t pay you or will need to be badgered constantly before they’ll offer a reward or incentive for playing. Until you’ve built up a profile for yourself – whether that’s as an originals outfit or a covers band – many venues may not even think you have the cultural cachet to make it worth their while to book you. However, you shouldn’t let any of this discourage you. Here are 7 easy ways you can fund your career as a musician.
1. Try casino gaming
While this may be a little niche for some, it’s possible to develop a winning strategy as a casino gamer and use it to reap real rewards from online casino platforms. The best online casino sites offer high return rates, a wide range of games, and enticing bonuses for new players; if you exploit these to your advantage, it’s possible to make some real money playing online casino games, which you can then funnel into your music career. Be aware that this may not be the strategy for you if you don’t already have a reserve of cash. If you do, though, and you want to multiply your money, you could do a lot worse than playing some online casino games.
2. Apply for arts grants
There are plenty of arts grants out there for aspiring musicians. The PRS Foundation grant is perhaps the best-known of them, but in England, there’s also the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants. If you’re a US-based musician, you may find the National Endowment for the Arts grant useful, and if you’re not in either of those two territories, you’re likely to find some sort of local equivalent. Doing your research on arts grants in your area is a very good idea; you’ll likely find that your government, or a local charitable organization, is eager to help with establishing yourself in the arts. Seek out a grant if you don’t have funds but you do have a dream.
3. Teach, teach, teach
Teaching can be an extremely lucrative way to make money while you gig or tour. There are almost always students looking to learn an instrument, and if you play one of the more mainstream rock instruments – guitar, bass, or drums – then you’ll have no shortage of students lining up to learn. As a music teacher – especially if you’re an independent or peripatetic teacher – you can set your own schedule and teach whoever you want, as well as deciding your own curriculum. This means that if students are unhappy with your methods, you can adapt and change them based on the individual case. Teaching is usually a fairly reliable income, too, so you won’t want for money.
4. Work a day job
It’s unfortunate, but many musicians need to work a regular day job in order to facilitate their “night life” as a touring player. This can be stressful and difficult; depending on the nature of your day job, you may find that this is simply too much responsibility and work to take on at once. However, if you can successfully manage working a regular job alongside the stresses of touring and rehearsing regularly, then you will almost certainly guarantee a stable income while you play. You will, however, need a natural aptitude for dealing with children; while many of your students may well be adults, you will definitely get private students who are children wanting to learn instruments.
5. Partner with brands
As a working musician, one of the best avenues available to you in order to make money could be to partner with a brand. You will need a slightly higher profile in order to effect this approach; many brands won’t want to work with musicians if they don’t have any credibility within the industry. However, you may find a smaller brand willing to feature your music in exchange for a fee, or you might find that some brands will give you a chance no matter how high-profile your presence in the music industry may be. Partnering with brands is a slightly more risky strategy, as it’s not necessarily a reliable source of income, but it’s worth pursuing nonetheless.
6. Sell some old gear
We know that as a musician, it can be utterly heartbreaking to part with gear you’ve been using your whole career. However, if you’re not using certain pieces of equipment – if they’re just gathering dust in your studio – or if there are things in your home that you no longer need, then selling them can be an excellent way to raise some money. Think about each piece of gear you have in turn. Are you currently using it? Do you think you’ll have a use for it in the future? How, specifically, is it currently enhancing your musical career? If you can’t come up with an answer to those questions, then it may be time to get rid of it in favor of something more immediately helpful.
7. Look at a loan
Obviously, taking out a loan without a reliable source of income isn’t necessarily your first port of call. However, if you do have a day job and you’re looking for a quick injection of cash to help you buy a crucial piece of equipment, then a loan could be the right avenue for you. Naturally, an interest-free loan should be your first port of call. That way, you can get cash without worrying about compounding amounts that you need to pay back. Be sure that you can make regular monthly repayments if you do take out a loan, and also be sure to read the terms and conditions as thoroughly as you possibly can. This will stand you in good stead as regards credit rating, too.