How To Make Steady Income As A Full-Time Artist

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It's a question that creative people have been asking for ages. How do you make a living as an artist? The cliché "starving artist" seems more the norm than a thriving artist.

But there's no better time than today to make a steady income as a full-time artist. This is because the avenues and paths for creatives are now more diverse and more accessible. Technology makes it possible for artists to share their work with the world instantly -- so that you have a chance of reaching your audience both on a professional level, and on a personal one.

Whether you are a visual artist, fine artist or musician, these tips apply to all creative entrepreneurs.

1. Subscriptions

Many musicians are turning to subscription sites such as Patreon to have a flow of regular income every month. The subscription-based service enables creatives to keep on producing, while their fans and friends around the world can support them from as little as $1 a month. The different tiers can then be raised to $100, $300 or even $500 a month. As long as you keep providing content that your subscribers will want to keep seeing, hearing and enjoying.

For some inspiration, check out this list of 35 creators (musicians included!) who made quite an impressive amount with subscriptions alone.

2. Digital Distribution

Today, you don't have to rely on brick-and-mortar retail stores to get your music out into the world. In the past, this was the only way for recording artists to get their work hard. Now, you have the edge of being able to market your music online and then make digital sales. If you have a good, smart distribution strategy, you can make good money getting your music to your listeners.

Get your music available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or other streaming platforms. Listeners can hear a few your sounds, then pay to download your track or entire album if they want more. With digital distribution, you don't have to worry about shipping huge amounts of CDs or records. And the transaction happens all very fast online, with a few easy clicks.

3. Remote Studio Gigs

Photo by  Blake Connally  on  Unsplash

There are a number of websites that house communities of producers, songwriters, vocalists and studio engineers that work together virtually. You can contract your services as a vocalist or musician through websites like Tunedly, AirGigs, SoundBetter and a local favorite of ours, NashvilleForHire.

Not only can you work for professional producers or songwriters, you can also add to your portfolio to further your career. Besides making revenue remotely, you will have no overhead expenses like travel or studio fees because you can work from home. It’s the perfect way to flourish in this new age of technology.   

4. Teach Music

You can earn a bit of cash by setting up your own website where people can pay to download recorded sessions or have live tutorials with you. Optionally, you can join one of the online platforms that allow you to create classes and tutorials. With this option, a percentage of the money will go to the website, but you will have a greater market reach and ready-made website to link your listeners to.

Teaching music in a traditional classroom setting can be another possibility if you aren't yet ready to go 100 percent digital. You may be able to enjoy the security and benefits of a regular salary if you have the right credentials for being a music teacher. That is why most artists choose to teach through video tutorials. They don't need any credentials, and editing and uploading your content can be fast and easy once you pass the learning curve. You will soon be on your way to generating steady income.

Lastly, here is a tip from artist Paul Klein on how to succeed as an artist:

"What you wanna look at in terms of career is a 10-year picture. I believe that the bigger you dream, the bigger your aspirations and your expectations, the sooner you are going to get to them. You need to say to yourself, Where do I wanna be in ten years? What do I want to accomplish?"

For more tips on thriving as a music artist, follow our blog and our social media accounts!