20 Top Music Side Hustles For Broke Artists (4 Deciding Factors Why Struggling Musicians Start Side Gig)

March 28, 2024

The top music side hustles for broke artists are:

  1. Start a local lead generation business.
  2. Conduct music classes and workshops.
  3. Become a session musician
  4. Try music production.
  5. Offer music arrangement services
  6. Start music journalism
  7. Become a music photographer
  8. Become a music manager
  9. Perform at private events
  10. Stream live performances

The Artfinder Independent Art Market Report from 2017 reveals striking statistics about artists' earnings in the US. A substantial 75% of artists earn $10,000 or less annually from their art, with nearly 50% earning no more than $5,000. Given the 2.6 million artists in the US workforce, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's clear that making a living solely from art is challenging. This economic reality drives many artists to seek music side hustles for additional income to cover some of their expenses. Furthermore, the research from The Label Machine, indicating that even artists with top-tier quality music have only a 1% chance of signing with a leading independent record label. It sheds light on why many artists, particularly those who are financially struggling, are looking side gigs to diversify and boost their income.

Even artists who have achieved notable success in their primary fields often explore additional avenues to expand their brand, reach, and income. According to SirusXMSimon, Simon Le Bon, known as the lead singer of Duran Duran, hosts a weekly radio show titled "WHOOOSH!" on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Podcast. He and Katy Krassner select and discuss nine songs. It showcases his taste in music beyond his own band's work. Another one, John Mellencamp, a renowned singer-songwriter, diversifies his creative output by selling signed lithographs of his artwork on his website. According to Mutual Art, John Melencamp's work has been at auction for multiple times that range $50 - $4,000 depending on size and medium of the artwork. These pieces offer his fans a unique form of artistic expression. Lastly,  according to Play mpe, many celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Britney Spears, have launched their own fragrance lines.

This article offers 20 top music side hustles ideas for broke artists seeking extra income. It combines research findings that provide a realistic overview of potential side income opportunities for struggling artists striving to supplement their earnings. Also, we include the four factors why broke artists looking for music side hustle. This article answers some questions that will give you realistic insights about music side hustle. At the end, we will introduce you to a business model that can be suited to you to diversify your income with little to no maintenance that will deliver you recurring monthly income.

What Are Music Side Hustles For Broke Artists?

Music side hustles for broke artists are supplementary income sources that allow musicians to earn money while pursuing their passion for music. These side hustles include teaching music lessons, performing at local gigs, offering session musician services, distributing music online, producing music for others, licensing music for various media, and creating online music courses. These opportunities provide artists with financial stability as they work towards establishing themselves in the music industry.

Music can be a side hustle that can offer broke artists the flexibility to generate extra income, with some options requiring minimal investment and others leveraging their musical skills and expertise. Whether it's teaching, performing, producing, or licensing music, these hustles enable you to support your career financially while striving to make their mark in the music world.

20 Top Music Side Hustles For Broke Artists

1. Conduct Music Classes And Workshops

Conducting music classes and workshops is the best music side hustle for broke artists because it allows you to help parents who want their kids to learn to play musical instruments. According to a recent survey of 2000 Americans, one in six parents express a strong desire for their children to learn to play an instrument. This means there's a substantial demand for music education, which you, as a broke artist, can cater to. To get started, you can explore platforms like Udemy, Teachable, or even create your own website to offer virtual music lessons. These platforms provide a cost-effective way for you to connect with potential students and share your musical expertise.

Teaching music is not only fulfilling but can also be financially rewarding. With the demand for music lessons on the rise, you have the chance to earn extra income. According to Ensemble Performing Arts , many music schools and private instructors charge between $32 and $90 for a 30 to 60-minute lesson, depending on factors such as location and teacher experience. If you build a solid student base, your earnings can add up significantly over time. However, there are many music instructors out there, so standing out and attracting students may require extra effort. Additionally, maintaining a consistent schedule and dealing with cancellations can sometimes be unpredictable, affecting your income stability. 

2. Become A Session Musician

Becoming a session musician is a wise music side hustle for broke artists because session work offers a unique opportunity to cater to recording artists and producers looking for skilled musicians to contribute to their music projects. If you're wondering how to start, consider exploring online platforms like Fiverr or Upwork, where you can showcase your musical talents and connect with potential clients. Historically, session musicians were in high demand, particularly in major music scenes like New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville during the 1950s and 60s. These musicians were often sought after by recording studios and artists for their expertise.

While the landscape has grown, there is still a demand for session musicians in the modern music industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% increase in work opportunities for musicians and vocalists by 2026, showing a steady demand for session musicians. This presents an excellent chance for broke artists to earn extra income by offering their musical skills for recording sessions, live performances, or online collaborations.

In terms of potential side income you can make, according to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for a session musician in the United States is $18.85. However, it's important to note that income can vary depending on factors like your level of expertise, the demand for your instrument, and the location of your gigs. As a broke artist, starting with competitive rates and gradually building a portfolio can lead to higher-paying opportunities over time. As for drawbacks, gig availability can be inconsistent, making it necessary to manage your finances carefully. Broke artists should also consider the need for networking and self-promotion to secure gigs and build a sustainable career in session work.

3. Try Music Production

Trying music production is a rewarding music side hustle for broke artists because it allows you to tap into the growing demand for music producers. Specifically, music producer jobs are projected to see an 8% growth from 2018 to 2028, according to Zippia. Furthermore, the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 6% job growth in the broader category that includes music producers, music directors, and composers from 2020 to 2030. Music production involves creating and arranging music tracks, making it a versatile field where you can cater to artists looking to record their music. To get started, you can explore music production software such as Ableton Live or GarageBand, which are budget-friendly and beginner-friendly. Online tutorials and courses on platforms like Skillshare or Udemy can help you kickstart your journey.

For potential income you can make, according to payscale.com, the average salary for Music Producers is $50,986. However, income can vary widely depending on factors such as your expertise, the scale of your projects, and your client base. You can begin by offering your services at competitive rates and increase your prices as you gain experience and build a portfolio. However, music production can require significant investments in equipment and software. While there are budget-friendly options, the initial costs can still be a barrier for broke artists. Additionally, competition in the music production industry is fierce, so establishing your reputation and finding consistent clients may take time and effort. 

4. Offer Music Arrangement Services

Offering music arrangement services is a well-regarded music side hustle for broke artists because it caters to musicians seeking professionally crafted musical arrangements for their compositions. To begin with, music arrangement services are in demand among musicians who require customized arrangements to enhance their compositions. This is beneficial for artists looking to elevate their songs or orchestrate their music. As a broke artist, you can start by honing your arrangement skills using accessible software like Sibelius or MuseScore. Additionally, platforms like Soundtrap or Flat.io offer collaborative arrangements that can help you kickstart your journey.

According to Recruiter.com, the demand for music composers and arrangers is projected to rise significantly. By 2029, about 49,810 new jobs in this field are expected to be filled, representing an impressive annual growth rate of 60.22 percent. This suggests a growing market for music arrangers, providing chances to secure assignments and earn extra income as a broke artist. As for potential income, data from ZipRecruiter shows that the average annual pay for a Music Arranger in the United States is $50,596. However, managing client expectations and meeting deadlines can be challenging. Broke artists should also be prepared for irregular income and consider diversifying their sources of revenue.

5. Enter Music Journalism

Entering music journalism is a unique music side hustle for broke artists because it allows you to cater to music enthusiasts and those seeking insightful music-related content. Music journalism involves writing articles, reviews, and features about the music industry, artists, and their work. It's an ideal side hustle for broke artists because it connects with a broad audience interested in music-related content. You can start by creating a blog or contributing to establish music websites and magazines.

There is also a steady demand for skilled music journalists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), news analysts, reporters, and journalists can expect a 6% employment growth from 2020 to 2030. Additionally, the BLS expects approximately 5,400 job openings annually in these professions from 2020 to 2030. Regarding potential income, data from ZipRecruiter shows that the average annual pay for a Music Journalist in the United States is $52,737. However, building a reputation and securing paid gigs may take time. Moreover, the freelance nature of music journalism can lead to income fluctuations, requiring financial planning and diversification of income sources.

6. Become A Music Photographer

Becoming a music photographer is a creative music side hustle for broke artists because it caters to the music industry's visual needs, offering a unique perspective on musicians and their performances. You capture captivating moments during concerts, festivals, and music events. To get started, you can explore smartphone apps like VSCO and Adobe Lightroom for editing and enhancing photos. Additionally, platforms like Instagram and Behance offer spaces to showcase your work and to build your online portfolio. The opportunities within this music side hustle is substantia as Analysts predict substantial growth in the music industry, with revenue expected to surpass $131 billion by 2030. In line with this, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates a robust 17% job growth rate for photographers, including music photographers, from 2020 to 2030. This growth proves a growing demand for visual content in the music sector.

Regarding how much extra cash you can earn, data from Career In Music reveals that music photographers earn an average of approximately $44,500 per year. Your income can vary significantly based on factors such as your experience, client base, and the scale of events covered. However, music photography often involves late hours, irregular schedules, and intense competition. If you’re starting out, you may need to start by covering smaller local events and gradually work their way up to more prominent opportunities.

7. Become A Music Manager

Becoming a music manager is a fulfilling music side hustle for broke artists because it offers the opportunity to guide and promote emerging musicians, helping them navigate the complexities of the music industry. As music manager, you play a crucial role in an artist's career by handling various aspects, including bookings, negotiations, and promotions. To get started, you can use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with local artists seeking representation. It's essential to build a network and gain experience by working with up-and-coming talent.

In terms of opportunities, Zippia reports that the demand for music managers is expected to thrive, with a projected 5% increase from 2018 to 2028. This indicates a continuing need for skilled professionals who can guide musicians in their careers. As the music industry develops, artists increasingly rely on capable managers to help them succeed. As for income, data from ZipRecruiter reveals that the average annual pay for a Music Manager in the United States is $57,731. However, managing artists can be challenging and time-consuming, involving negotiations, scheduling, and dealing with the unpredictability of the music industry. If you’re looking to become music managers, you should also be prepared for initial investments in networking and building relationships within the industry.

8. Perform At Private Events

Performing at a private event is a fun music side hustle for broke artists because it provides an opportunity to showcase your talent to an audience while earning a steady income. Private event performances involve playing music at weddings, parties, corporate functions, and other gatherings. You can promote your services on platforms like GigSalad or Thumbtack, where individuals and event planners often search for musicians. Private event performances offer a steady stream of gigs throughout the year, as there is a constant demand for live music at various occasions. Whether you specialize in acoustic sets, jazz ensembles, or DJ services, private events provide a diverse range of opportunities to perform and earn income.

With regards to the potential money, Salary,.com reveals that the average actor/performer salary in the US is $61382. This range of earnings from private event performances can differ based on the type of event, location, and your level of experience. However, private event performances may require you to invest in sound equipment, transportation, and marketing materials. Additionally, managing bookings, contracts, and client expectations can be time-consuming.

9. Start A YouTube Channel As Musician

Starting sentence: Starting a YouTube channel as a musician is an exciting music side hustle for broke artists because it provides a platform to showcase your musical talent while reaching a global audience. This music side hustle allows you to share your original songs, covers, music videos, and even tutorials with viewers worldwide. This side hustle is well-suited for broke artists as it requires minimal upfront investment. You can start by recording videos using your smartphone or a basic camera, and free video editing software like HitFilm Express or DaVinci Resolve. Additionally, platforms like DistroKid or TuneCore can help you distribute your music to streaming services to increase your visibility.

YouTube has significantly contributed to the music industry, paying out a substantial $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, marking a 50% increase year-on-year. This achievement shows the platform's potential for you to monetize your content and earn a share of these payouts. Starting a YouTube channel can be a lucrative way to earn extra cash. Finance Buzz reports that in 2022, the typical compensation for YouTube content creators in the United States averaged approximately $1,154 per week, equivalent to $4,616 per month. However, building a successful YouTube channel takes time and consistent effort. Gaining subscribers and views may not happen overnight. Also, it's challenging to stand out in a crowded space, given that Zippia stated that there are over 51 million YouTube channels.

10. Stream Live Performances

Streaming live performances is a chill music side hustle for broke artists because it allows you to reach a broad audience who are looking for live entertainment online from the comfort of your space. You can live streaming music performances using platforms like Twitch, YouTube Live, or Facebook Live. All you need is a decent internet connection, a camera (even a smartphone will do), and your musical talent. It's a low-cost way to connect with potential fans. With this music side hustle, you can take advantage of the growing number of Americans who love streaming. According to Forbes Home, the average American spends 3.1 hours per day streaming video. This highlights the immense potential viewership for your live music streams.

When it comes to potential income, sponsors will pay between $15 to $50 per 1,000 views on your live streams, as reported by US Screen. If you consistently attract 5,000 or more viewers to your streams, you can generate a substantial income as a live streamer. Additionally, you can monetize your streams through donations from viewers and merchandise sales. However, building an audience and attracting viewers to your live streams can be challenging initially. It also requires consistency and engagement to grow your fan base. Additionally, technical issues and copyright concerns can arise during live streams, so it's important to familiarize yourself with the platform's rules and guidelines.

11. License Your Music Online

Licensing your music online is a nice music side hustle for broke artists because of its income potential and accessibility. Music licensing involves granting permission for others to use your music in various media, such as commercials, TV shows, internet videos and films. This offers you an opportunity to earn money and gain exposure. You can start by submitting your music to licensing libraries and companies, some of which are Spotify, Musicbed, Pond5, and Artlist. For instance, Spotify reported paying a staggering $9.76 billion in royalties to artists, music labels, and publishers since its inception in 2006. This showcases the substantial income potential within the music industry, including streaming royalties. 

When it comes to potential income, the fees for synchronization licenses, as described in Donald Passman's book "All You Need to Know About the Music Business," can vary widely. For instance:

  • For low-end TV usage, such as background music in a scene, fees range from free (for exposure) to $2,000 for a 5-year license.
  • In a film, it could go up to $10,000 indefinitely.
  • More popular songs command higher fees, approximately $3,000 for TV and $25,000 for film.
  • If your song becomes a film's theme song, you might earn $50,000 to $75,000.
  • Commercials offer even greater potential earnings, ranging from $25,000 to a whopping $500,000 or more per year.
  • A well-known song typically falls within the range of $75,000 to $200,000 for one year of national usage in the United States on television and radio.

However, competition in the music licensing field can be intense, making it challenging for you to secure lucrative deals. Additionally, navigating licensing agreements may require legal assistance, which can be costly. You should understand as well the intricacies of licensing and seeking professional guidance are crucial to protect your interests.

12. Sign Up On Patreon

Signing up on Patreon is a smart music side hustle for broke artists because it is a platform where artists, musicians, and creators of all kinds can offer exclusive content to their patrons (supporters) in exchange for recurring payments. This presents a unique opportunity for you to generate income while building a dedicated fanbase. To get started, all you need to do is create a profile on Patreon and set up tiers or levels of support that offer various perks to your patrons. These perks can range from early access to new music, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, or even personalized shoutouts.

Patreon offers bright opportunities for broke artists. According to SimilarWeb, Patreon's website receives an average of 100.6 million visits per month as of July 2023. Backlinko also reports that Patreon hosts over 6 million patrons, with 4 million of them joining within the last three years. This substantial user base shows a vast audience ready to support creators, including musicians and you. In terms of profitability, Graphtreon data reveals that creators of Patreon earned $23.64 million in September 2021. Also, the monthly payouts have been on the rise, with a 23.18% increase over the previous year, up from an estimated $19.19 million in September 2020. This growth trend suggests that Patreon continues to be a lucrative platform that you can use to earn extra money.

However, Graphtreon notes that nearly half (47.4%) of all creators on Patreon produce content in categories such as video, podcasts, music, and gaming. This means that competition within these popular categories can be fierce. To stand out, you must offer unique and interesting content to attract and keep patrons.

13. Create and Sell Online Music Courses

Creating and selling online courses are known music side hustle for broke artists because they cater to a vast audience, including parents who believe in the importance of musical education for their children. According to a survey conducted by OnePoll for Guitar Center, a whopping 82% of Americans think it's crucial for kids to learn a musical instrument. Among these concerned parents, 47% already have their children enrolled in music lessons, and 39% have their kids taking part in school bands or music programs. The demand for music education offers you a chance to create online courses that cater to this eager audience. You can teach them how to play an instrument, read sheet music, or even compose their own tunes. For broke artists, this opportunity can translate into a reliable source of extra income.

When it comes to side income potential, according to LearnWorlds, successful course creators make an average of $1,000 to $10,000 per month. And if you're great at what you do, top course creators can even rake in six- to seven-figure incomes per year. But, one downside is that creating quality online courses requires time and effort. You'll need to plan, record, and edit your content, which can be a steep learning curve if you're not tech-savvy. 

14. Produce And Sell Beats Online

Producing and selling beats online is a lucrative music side hustle for broke artists because you can cater to rappers, singers, vocalists, content creators, and more. They all need beats for their projects, and you can provide them. According to TrafficForBeats, the beat selling industry generates over $30 to $40 million annually, and it's continually growing. Beats are in high demand for movies, TV shows, and various music projects. This creates a substantial opportunity for you to make an extra income in this music side hustle.

Talking about the potential income, Eightify stated that by dedicating your time and effort, you can earn around $800 to $1500 per month by selling beats online. It's a legitimate way for broke artists to supplement their income. However, many producers are vying for the same customers, so standing out and building a customer base can be tough. Additionally, consistently producing high-quality beats requires skill and dedication. 

15. Sell Sample Packs And Patches (Offer In Splice)

Selling sample packs and patches is a great music side hustle for broke artists because it caters to a specific group of customers - music producers and creators. These clients are often in need of audio loops and presets to enhance their music production. You can create and sell digital assets to help them in their creative journey. You can start on platforms like Splice Sounds, which connect producers with the resources they need. According to Your Local Musician, Splice Sounds experienced remarkable growth in its user base. As of 2021, it boasted over 4 million monthly users, a significant increase from 2.5 million users in 2020, representing a 60% annual growth. These numbers show growing demand for audio content like sample packs and patches.

With regards to the potential income you can earn from selling sample packs and patches, according to Splice, you can adopt a tiered pricing system for your offerings. For instance, you can sell a basic license for your content, including an MP3 file with your producer tag, for $30. Also, you can offer the same content with a WAV file and stems could be priced at $50. Furthermore, you can provide an exclusive license for a higher price, typically ranging from $250 to $300. However, selling multiple licenses at the lower price points can also yield substantial earnings over time. Additionally, creating high-quality, original sample packs and patches can be time-consuming. You'll need to ensure that your content meets Splice Sounds' quality principles, which emphasize originality, platform compatibility, accuracy, and user benefit. 

16. Become A Freelance Blog Writer (Music Niche)

Becoming a freelance blog writer is an outstanding music side hustle for broke artists because you can cater to music enthusiasts and readers interested in music-related content. It's an opportunity for you to share your passion and insights about music, even if you're on a tight budget. You can kickstart your journey by exploring platforms like WordPress.com, which host a vast audience of over 409 million people viewing more than 20 billion pages each month. Additionally, you can take advantage of the fact that the average reader spends approximately 52 seconds reading a blog post. It indicates a window of engagement to capture their interest.

If you love the idea of becoming a music blogger, there are various avenues to explore. You can monetize your music blog through methods like advertising, affiliate marketing, or even selling your own products. You can check music blogs like Pitchfork, BrooklynVegan, and ReverbNation as inspirational examples. However, gaining a loyal readership and generating income through advertising or affiliate marketing may not happen overnight. It's essential to be patient and persistent in this music side hustle. 

17. Become A Social Media Manager

Becoming a social media manager musician is an awesome music side hustle for broke artists because you can cater to musicians and music-related businesses. It offers an opportunity for you to leverage your knowledge and passion for music while managing the social media presence of an artist. To get started, you can explore platforms and tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer. It can help you streamline your social media management tasks. Additionally, according to SocialPilot, as of July 2023, there are approximately 4.88 billion active global social media users, a substantial 60.6% of the world's population. This statistic highlights the popularity of social media worldwide. For artists and music professionals, it has evolved into a highly rewarding marketing channel.

Becoming a social media manager offers decent earning potential. Indeed reports that the average base salary for a social media manager stands at $56,782. While this figure may vary depending on factors like location and experience, it still shows the viability of this music side hustle to boost your income. However, managing social media accounts requires consistent effort and creativity. It can be time-consuming, and building a solid clientele may take some time. 

18. Start A Music Podcast

Starting a music podcast is an exceptional music side hustle for broke artists because you can cater to a huge podcast listener. According to the Infinite Dial 2022 survey, a remarkable 62% of Americans have listened to a podcast at least once in their lives. This translates to about 177 million Americans, marking a substantial increase from the 57% recorded in 2021. Additionally, Edison Research reveals that the 26% of Americans who tuned in to podcasts in the past week listened to an average of 8 podcasts during that time. This growing interest in podcasts presents a vast and engaged audience for music-related content. You can create content that resonates with music enthusiasts. You can offer insights, interviews, and discussions related to the music industry. Starting a music podcast doesn't require significant upfront investment, and you can get started with basic recording equipment and podcast hosting platforms like Anchor or Podbean.

In terms of potential income, it's important to set realistic expectations. While not every podcaster achieves Joe Rogan's level of success, there are various revenue streams to explore. According to Descript, you can earn income through podcast sponsorships, affiliate marketing, book sales, merchandise sales, and email ads. For instance, podcast sponsorships typically yield between $18 and $25 per 1,000 listeners. However, the podcasting landscape is increasingly competitive, with currently 3 to 4 million podcasts in the US alone, as per Apple Podcasts. millions of podcasts and episodes available. This means you'll need to work diligently to stand out and attract listeners.

19. Be A Songwriter

Being a songwriter is a notable music side hustle for broke artists because it allows you to channel your creativity and connect with musicians and music industry professionals seeking original compositions. As a broke artist, you can start your songwriting journey with just a pen, paper, and your musical ideas. There are also online platforms like Soundtrap and SongwriterLink that can help you collaborate with others and kickstart your songwriting career. Additionally, according to Zippia, songwriting jobs are indeed in demand, with a projected 6% growth from 2018 to 2028. This indicates a continuous need for skilled songwriters in the music industry.

The range of earning possibilities for songwriters is promising. According to Comparably, the average songwriter in the United States earns $73,343 annually. It's worth noting that income can vary by location. If you are in cities like San Jose, CA, you can earn more, with an average total compensation of $144,807—97% greater than the national average. However, the primary challenge for aspiring songwriters, especially for those just starting, is the high level of competition in the field. According to the three leading Performing Rights Organizations (PROs) – ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC – there are approximately two million active songwriters in the United States alone. 

20. Offer Music Video Editing

Offering music video editing is an amazing music side hustle for broke artists because it caters to musicians and content creators seeking polished music videos. According to Drive Research, music videos account for a significant 25% of content consumption on YouTube. This platform has bold ambitions to become the music industry's primary licensing partner by 2025. Given that a substantial portion of YouTube's viewership is driven by music videos, the opportunity for you as a music video editor is substantial. The demand for well-edited music videos is on the rise, making this side hustle promising. You can begin your journey with basic video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Rush or iMovie, which doesn't require a substantial initial investment. Additionally, online tutorials and courses on platforms like Udemy can help you develop your video editing skills and kickstart your career.

Music video editing also offers a reasonable earning potential for you. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for a music video editor in the United States is $31.60. However, entering this arena should expect a learning curve and be prepared to build their portfolio gradually. Additionally, investing in high-quality editing software and equipment, although not an immediate necessity, can become essential as you progress in your music video editing career. 


If you're a broke artist and looking for a side gig that does not require extensive interactions, you can check my ultimate list of side hustles for introverts.  

4 Deciding Factors Why Broke Artists Start Music Side Hustle

1. Financial Necessity

Financial necessity isn't just about making ends meet; it's an essential strategy for survival and growth in a challenging industry. For artists, especially those not yet established, the financial constraints of solely relying on income from their art can be overwhelming. A side hustle in the music industry not only offers a financial lifeline, but also provides opportunities for skill enhancement and networking. The financial struggles of artists are more than anecdotal. A survey by Artnet News revealed that in the U.S., about 75% of artists earn less than $10,000 annually from their art. Alarmingly, nearly half of these artists make only $5,000 a year. This reflects the harsh economic realities many artists face, making side hustles not just an option, but a necessity for financial stability.

2. Diversifying Income Sources

Diversifying income means creating multiple streams of revenue, reducing reliance on a single income source. For broke artists, this is not just about increasing their earnings; it's about building a more secure and resilient financial foundation. Diversifying income helps mitigate the risk of fluctuating art sales or seasonal demand, ensuring a more consistent and reliable cash flow. Furthermore, The Label Machine's research shows that even with music of top-tier quality, an artist has only a 1% chance of signing with a leading independent record label. This statistic paints a clear picture that many artists cannot solely rely on their art alone for a living.

3. Building Skills and Experience

Building skills and experience it's about developing and honing their craft. For many artists, the primary goal is to make a living from their art, but this often requires additional skills and experience that can't always be gained through their main artistic pursuits. Music side hustles offer the perfect opportunity to build these essential skills while also earning income. The journey of many successful musicians underscores the importance of skill enhancement through side hustles. According to Gemtracks Beats, many successful musicians began their careers in jobs unrelated to their current field, later transitioning to music-related roles to enhance their skills. 

4. Utilizing Existing Talent in Different Contexts

Utilizing existing talent in different contexts involves applying their existing skills and talents in new and varied environments, outside their usual artistic career. For broke artists, this is significant because it opens up new opportunities for income with no additional training or resources. It's about creatively leveraging what you already know and do well in other avenues. For instance, a study by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) shows that artists often apply their skills in multiple settings to build sustainable careers. This adaptability not only broadens their career opportunities but also enhances their resilience in the dynamic arts market.

Can You Earn Money Through Music Side Hustle?

Yes, you can earn money through a music side hustle because there are musicians supplementing their income through various music-related activities. Independent artists like Chance the Rapper and Post Malone have achieved significant success and income through their music side hustles. Chance the Rapper, for instance, released his mixtape "Coloring Book" independently, earning him a Grammy Award and substantial revenue through digital downloads and streaming platforms. Post Malone similarly gained fame and fortune by releasing his music independently on SoundCloud, eventually signing lucrative record deals. In addition to streaming revenue, you can earn extra money through live performances, merchandise sales, licensing your music for commercials or films, and teaching music lessons. These income streams provide opportunities for musicians to turn their passion into a profitable side hustle.

Can You Make Money From Music Side Hustle Without Performing?

Yes, you can make money from a music side hustle without performing. While live performances are a common source of income for musicians, there are alternative revenue streams if you do not want to perform on stage. One such avenue is music composition and production. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2020, music composers and arrangers in the United States earned a median annual wage of $58,120. You create music for various purposes, including film, television, video games, and commercials. Renowned composer Hans Zimmer, for instance, has earned substantial income by composing scores for blockbuster movies like "The Lion King" and "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Another option is music licensing, where you can earn money by allowing your music to be used in advertisements, films, and TV shows. Additionally, selling music online through platforms like iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon Music can generate passive income, as listeners stream or purchase your songs. Successful independent artist Lindsey Stirling, known for her unique violin-electronic music fusion, has earned millions from her music sales and YouTube channel without relying solely on live performances.

Conclusion: What Is The Top Music Side Hustle For Broke Artists?

Local lead generation is the top music side hustle for broke artists because of its high-income skills, scalability, and impressive return on investment. Picture this—you want a side hustle that not only pays the bills but also sets you apart from the crowd. Local lead generation gives you just that. It's all about mastering the art of ranking websites on Google and driving free traffic, skills that aren't a walk in the park to acquire. But guess what? That's your advantage! In a world where everyone's running paid ads, you're competing locally with just 10-15 companies.And here's the kicker: as counted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a whopping 2.6 million artists in the US alone which make up just 1.6% of the workforce. This means your niche is relatively wide open, giving you room to thrive and excel long-term.

Additionally, think about a side hustle that doesn't chain you to the grindstone day in and day out. Local lead generation offers you a taste of that sweet passive income. Once your website claims its throne on search engines like Google, it keeps the cash flowing for a year or more with little to no maintenance. Compare this to some music side hustles that involve active participation, such as performing gigs at local venues, where you need to consistently book and perform to earn your keep. These lead gen sites can pocket you anywhere from $500 to $2,500 each month, rivaling the returns of a fancy real estate property without the huge $50,000 to $100,000 down payment.

Let's talk about money. In local lead generation, your profit margins can soar to a jaw-dropping 95%. Why? Because you're not dealing with tangible products; you're selling valuable information—leads. No more fretting about the cost of goods, and you're tapping into the magic of free traffic. Take, for example, my tree service site above—it's been raking in a steady $2,000 per month since 2015. With just 15 hours of sweat to build and rank it, that's a sweet $168,000 I've banked over seven years.

So, when you're pondering the best side hustle to kickstart your financial journey, local lead generation beckons with its high-income skills, scalability, and stunning return on investment. You're not just surviving; you're thriving and fueling your artistic passions. It's time to seize the opportunity and embark on local lead gen business. Your bank account and your art will thank you for it!

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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