A thread on Gearslutz.com got me thinking about unique ways to make money with music. Here’s what i came up with. What do you think?
1) Holiday album with kids singing. Half original music, half public domain standards.
I had this idea about 10 years ago. For some reason my roommates at the time absolutely hated this idea. I love it. It’s a sure-fire way to get music on Spotify and Pandora’s holiday playlists. Don’t let the fake “cup of coffee” stats fool you, streaming is lucrative if you own the master and publishing. Labels won’t disclose the amount of money they receive for their masters since it’s so lucrative.
2) “Misguided Kidz Bop”. Kids singing Drake, 2Chainz, Weeknd songs.
A great way to get featured on blogs. People will listen simply for the novelty. You don’t need a publishers permission to cover a song and sell it online. Of course you still have to pay them, but they don’t need to “clear” the song as if it was for a sync.
3) A rap-themed holiday album.
Write some holiday themed rap songs with holiday sounds embedded in the beats. Would do great on holiday themed content. Remember Outkast’s first single?
4) Record really great instrumental pieces, furnish them to rap producers to “sample” ala Frank Dux (the musician not the guy from Bloodsport).
If you have an under-utilized live room, record some instrumental interludes and put them on the web for producers to sample. The rise of “in the box” recording created a dearth of new, really great analog based instrumentals.
5) Approaching a film director offering to score the film in exchange for an equity position in the film instead of an upfront payment.
Not only will you be in the music business, you’ll be in the film business. Films are always looking to cut costs. Offer them a FREE score in exchange for an equity position in the film. Parlay that into some nice panel appearances at film festivals to get more work…which you can charge upfront or take similar equity positions.
6) Re-score public domain films and release the soundtrack commercially after uploading the re-scored film to YouTube/Vimeo.
I think this is the coolest idea of the bunch. Take an old film and re-imagine the score with current sounds. Instant feature on both film AND music blogs. Upload your new original score to Spotify, iTunes etc.. and parlay your newfound press into more gigs.
7) Team up with a video production company, run around to local businesses offering to shoot commercials with a brand new custom jingle.
This works best in smaller cities/towns. You’re not looking to break the bank with this, instead earn a nice supplemental income while building your reel. Scout the local TV production companies and offer your services as a jingle writer.
After writing a few jingles, everyone in your city will be aware of your music. I’m sure the person who wrote the “GET IT AT GALPIN” jingle has no problem getting meetings in LA. The whole city KNOWS that jingle backwards and forwards.
8) Rent out your studio space to youngsters who want to make YouTube vids.
If you have a studio with a large “live room” it can easily be repurposed into a video production space. Each hour your live room is empty you’re losing money. Rent it at half price for people that bring their own equipment to shoot videos. Invest in a green screen to attract the most creators possible.
If creators want to use the AUDIO equipment they’d pay a higher rate.
9) Cold call 100 TV shows and ask what type of music they need, and if there’s anything in production that needs a theme song.
A sure-fire way to get work. No excuses just do it.
10) Book a rave at a local event venue.
Find a turn-key venue with insurance, security, bar tenders etc.. put down money to reserve the night. Charge a $20 cover, book some DJs with good marketing/social media skills. This will also grow your social circle. Bigger social circle equals more opportunities.
11) Start a YouTube channel about your personal trials and tribulations in the music business. Do 3 vids a week, get NI, UAD etc.. to sponsor your channel.
This is the most time intensive. Very doable if you have a personality and record/edit video. This also opens up a world wide audience of potential customers, buyers of your music etc.. You don’t need a Pensado’s Place level production, wonders can be done with a simple laptop webcam.
12) Host a stand-up comedy night at your recording studio. You can get A+ level standup talent to perform.
Celebrity level stand-up comedians play ancillary markets, invite them to perform at your studio. Charge $20 per person. Get some local openers who can bring a few heads each. All you’ll need for audio is a mic and decent PA system. The room is already treated for music so it should be easy to dial in clear audio.