The music industry is behind the times in a lot of ways. And one of those ways is in regards to earning money. In other industries, passive income is much more popular.
But in the music world, gigs and lessons and recordings are all still common. That’s not a bad thing, and those things can make you money. However, passive income is just as important for musicians.
Keep reading to learn more about passive income and some ideas you can start today.
But first, this post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
What Is Passive Income?
Passive income is a type of income that doesn’t require consistent work. In most cases, you do have to put in some work up front. However, once you get the stream going, you don’t have to do as much work on it.
You can do a lot of things to make passive income. Whether you want to work less or just earn some extra money, you need to consider at least one passive income stream.
Why Is It Important?
Passive income is important because you only have so many hours in a day. That inherently caps your income unless you want to charge a ridiculous amount per hour.
If you have a passive income stream, you can earn more or work less hours in a day or week. You can also use more time to practice or do other things that don’t directly result in income.
As a musician, you have a lot to do. Of course, you have to play your instrument. But maybe you also teach lessons, compose/arrange music, or do something that isn’t in the field of music.
Passive income can just give you more control over your schedule. You can also use it to build up some financial stability, which can be hard as a performer.
Can Musicians Have Passive Income?
When you think of a music career, you probably think of playing gigs or teaching private lessons. While those are both popular career paths, they aren’t your only options.
You can create tons of music-related passive income streams. If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you may have seen some of these streams in action.
I have a digital shop, Flute Files, with a few digital downloads right here on this site. If you’ve read a lot of my posts, you’ve also probably seen one with affiliate links.
You don’t have to only do active projects to make money as a musicians. Of course, these passive income ideas aren’t “traditional.” But building a career in music isn’t easy, so you need as many options as you can get.
Passive Income Ideas
If you want to make some passive income, you have many options. You don’t have to give up your title as a musician to make extra money.
Consider a few passive income streams you can take advantage as a musician.
Affiliate marketing is probably one of the easiest income streams to start. If you have a website or a social media presence, you use those platforms to promote your favorite products.
If I want to share my favorite flute method book with you, I can link it. You can share your favorite method books, accessories, and even instruments with your readers.
When you use an affiliate link, you’ll get a small commission when anyone who clicks on that link and buys something. The restrictions depend on the program and website, but it can be a good income stream.
Amazon has one of the biggest affiliate marketing programs. You can also join programs for stores like Music & Arts. Of course, you should only promote products you use and like, but it’s a great, easy way to start making extra money.
Online courses have become super popular in recent years. If you teach private lessons, you can easily change your teaching style to fit a course. You can teach the fundamentals for your instrument.
If you tend to have more advanced students, you can focus on more difficult things. You can teach more specific, extended techniques.
Music theory and history courses are also popular. So if you’re good at those things, you can use those skills. You can create the course once, upload it to a course platform, and sell it to as many people as possible.
An online course doesn’t need a ton of upkeep. You may need to update some information, but you don’t have to completely recreate it.
Guides and Workbooks
Creating an online course is hard and time-consuming. While I have ideas for courses, I haven’t had time to make one. But I have had time to create a few guides and workbooks.
I’ve written a couple of how-to guides in the form of eBooks. One is about becoming a musician and the other focuses on learning a piece. I’ve also created a blank musician planner with tips on how to use it.
If you don’t need to film yourself for a topic, you can write a guide. You can also make it a workbook to give your customers a place to outline their thoughts.
Guides and workbooks can be a great way to reach more people at an affordable price. Just like a course, you can sell the digital file over and over, so you can still make a lot of money.
You can even create a sales funnel to lead people into your private lesson studio or course. And if you automate that funnel, you can make even more passive income.
Digital Sheet Music
Composers can make some easy passive income by selling digital sheet music. You can set up files with a plugin like Easy Digital Downloads or a program like SendOwl.
Or you can set up a profile on a site like Sheet Music Plus (SMP Press). You can use your website or another tool to host and automatically send sheet music as a download.
Even if you sell print sheet music, you can sell digital versions. Now, you do have to have the rights to sell digital files. You can’t do this if you have an exclusivity agreement with a publisher.
But whether you compose original music or make arrangements, you should do this. Even if you aren’t a composer, you can make some money selling arrangements.
How to Make Passive Income
Now that you have a few passive income ideas, it’s time to start making some money. You can do a lot to set up income streams, so consider what makes sense for you.
Here are a few ways to get started with passive income.
Start With One Stream
At first, focus your efforts on setting up and using one passive income stream. I’d recommend affiliate marketing to anyone with an existing blog or website because you can just insert links naturally.
It’s easy to start, and it doesn’t require much management. Once you publish the post with your affiliate links, it can make money. You can take a couple of minutes each time you write a blog post to include links.
Make sure the links are relevant. That way, you won’t lose trust with your audience when they do click on your links.
Choose Something You’re Good At
You should also consider what you’re good at and what you like to do. If you don’t have a blog and can’t stand writing, affiliate marketing may not be the best idea.
But if you really like teaching lessons, you can create an online course. You can either edit the videos yourself or hire a freelancer to help you. Then, you can publish your course and sell it on your website or a course platform.
If you don’t like working on your passive income stream, it won’t be successful. While it may not require a ton of maintenance later, it does take work to start up.
So make sure you can create a good course or workbook. If you aren’t interested in learning how to make that product, you should spend your time on something that better suits you.
After you publish your blog post or digital product, you need to promote it. It sounds simple, but you won’t make money from a product that no one knows about.
You can use your existing social media channels to share your product. But you should also share your passive income stream with your ideal customer or reader.
That way, you’ll have a better chance of making money. You don’t have to bombard your audience with it (nor should you). But you also should be excited to share your creation.
Don’t be afraid to promote your product as if it was an upcoming performance or your lesson studio.
Keep At It
One of the “problems” of passive income is that it can take a while to build. It’s not like getting a job with an orchestra or music school. You won’t get a full paycheck two weeks after you start.
And you may not get a paycheck two months after you start. That’s normal and okay. I’ve had some passive income streams for years and didn’t make money from them for many months.
However, once you get comfortable running one passive income stream, you can add another. As you add more products or streams, you can slowly increase your income. Eventually, it will all add up and (hopefully) account for a decent portion of your entire income.
Do you use passive income as a musician? Did I forget any income stream ideas? Let me know in the comments!