The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted pretty much every industry. Some fields have been hit harder than others, however. The entertainment sector is one area that's struggling. If you're a musician used to performing live, the lack of events can be a financial burden. Although vaccines are being rolled out, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still advise against large gatherings and suggest limiting meetings to small groups of vaccinated people. In short: You won't be back in front of crowds tomorrow.
But don't panic! Although it may take time until you're back on stage, there are other things you can do to make money and promote your musical career in the meantime. Read on to find out more.
Making a living as a musician involves more than simply making music. For example, if you want to actually get all the royalty money from songs you've written or co-written, you have to take action. Songtrust explains that you should register with a PRO or performing rights organization like BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC. You can also use the downtime from performing to register with the World Wide Release DataBase (WWRDB) which catalogs the world's music releases.
The lack of performance opportunities due to COVID makes this the perfect time to set up a passive income stream. You might consider sharing your musical talents through online courses, for example. The Penny Hoarder explains how you can make money with online courses using platforms like Udemy (visible outside of the European Union only). Make sure to set up the administrative side of your business, as well. If you end up employing people, for example, you will need an EIN, the unique tax ID number for employers. This will also streamline your state and federal tax filings. You can easily file EIN online.
Branding isn't just for companies. Songwriting Magazine explains that defining and developing your brand can help you stand out in the oversaturated music market. So how can you develop your brand? Flypaper offers a step-by-step guide. It starts with identifying your themes, values, and personal style as an artist. You then have to convey that in words and images via all of your platforms, such as your website, social media, and music-sharing platforms. Check out websites like Bandcamp, which allow you to share your music with the broader public. This is also a great way to get new fans.
Websites like Patreon and Bandcamp are primarily about sharing music. However, you can also use these platforms to make money in other ways. For example, you can sell branded goods to your fans. No idea how to create your own merch? Service providers like Bands on a Budget can take care of it for you. They create t-shirts, guitar picks, posters, canvas totes, and more. Not sure what to sell? Ask your current followers and fans what they'd like to see. This is also a valuable means of engagement. Tailwind explains that fan engagement is critical to successful social media marketing. You can use tools like SurveyMonkey for help.
As a musician, you're undoubtedly itching to start performing again. While it may take time until you're safely back on stage, that doesn't mean that the COVID-19 period is useless. There are many ways to take this unique moment and use it to grow your musical career.
While you're taking advantage of the global pause COVID has forced onto the music industry, take the time to join the WWRDB community. Find out how to join online.