Ah, the notorious music producer. Garnered as both a “cool” yet “risky” career choice, those who have dubbed themselves as a music producer are some of the most passionate about making money as a musician.
Luckily, music producers have it pretty good these days – equipment is cheaper than the studio boards of the past decades, and the computers are much, much better.
In fact, this reality alone has given rise to the bedroom producer – some kid who has a computer, some speakers, a MIDI keyboard and an audio interface can wake up, crack open his laptop and start making music within minutes.
Maybe you’re “that kid”?
This has a downside for the recording industry, however – professional music engineers are losing clients left and right to DIY music producers. It’s not your fault! You’re just trying to make it in the world like every other producer, and you have a lot of competition.
That being said, here are some different creative ways you can make money as a music producer!
Sign Up For Gig Accounts
If you’re a freelance producer, you have plenty of opportunity to create tracks for people who need unique music that people can’t get anywhere else.
For instance, let’s say that you get hired by a video company that produces online ads and needs original music – not just some royalty-free track from Pond5.com. You can charge a premium for this service, as they’re paying you for your expertise and creativity, as well as the right to use the music.
You could charge a royalty, but that’s usually too much of a hassle for a freelancer – do a royalty-free deal.
That being said, there are a few popular websites that you should sign up for to find work as a music producer:
There are many others, but these are some of the most popular and lucrative sites that you should join and check regularly. You can even opt to sign up for email notifications if you’re contacted about a gig!
Establish Your Producer Website
Just like a band or solo artist, producers also need to have their own website.
You see, if you want to make it in the music production world, you have to be willing to get into the quiet fight of the music industry. There are tens of thousands of music composers in the United States alone, and tens of millions of tracks on Spotify.
Don’t get discouraged – everyone has to start somewhere, and it’s a BIG world out there. That means there’s plenty of opportunity to make a name for yourself, but you have to be all in and put in a lot of time and energy.
Your website is important because it not only shows that you’re a professional, but it can host samples of your work and serves as a living, breathing portfolio.
Here’s where the money-making part comes in: if someone is seeking to hire you as a producer, they’re going to look for your website. On your website, you need to have a contact form where they can reach you privately – you don’t want your email address just floating around (you’ll get spammed like crazy).
Sell Your Tracks
Music producers have the opportunity to sell their music in a number of different ways. One of the easiest methods is simply creating your own website, but you don’t have to do that – you can simply put your music out there using a music aggregate like DistroKid for only $19.99 a year.
It’s not a bad deal at all, considering your music is electronically distributed to 16+ major online stores and streaming services including iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, etc.
If you choose to sell music natively on your website (this allows you to keep 100% of the profits), you may want to consider the “royalty-free download” method. You can do this by creating an online store of instrumental tracks in different genre categories (you can model this off of websites like Pond5.com) and as a byproduct you’ll be expanding your genre skills as well.
Unless, of course, you just want to produce EDM tracks.
Become A Producer-For-Hire
There are many video game companies, for instance, that need original music all the time. If you start branding yourself as a producer-for-hire, you can network with these companies and see if they need someone to contract for original music.
Regardless of who hires you, they’re going to want to listen to your portfolio. You’re not a producer to anyone unless they can actually access your original productions. The best way to do this is either by creating a profile on Soundcloud.com, or hosting the music on your own website (which looks more professional and shows that you’re serious about your craft).
Sell Samples & Beats
Sometimes the easiest way to make money is the obvious choice, although it’s more tedious.
Selling samples and beats on your own website is a great way to make a passive income – hundreds of other producers less talented than you are looking for high-quality audio samples to add to their own tracks…
…and you can take advantage of this fact.
Making money as a music producer is much easier said than done. But, with a lot of creativity and drive you can make it happen!