5 ways to make money if you are a music composer

Have you ever noticed that you are completely surrounded by music? Whether you’re on your way to work or from, whether you are at a party, whether you are in a temple, your favorite restaurant or even in a movie theatre, music is everywhere. Without even knowing it, you spend most of your day surrounded by music. It has surrounded you to a point where life without music will seem uninteresting. In fact, the most popular type of videos on the internet are music videos. Songs like ‘Teri Galiyan’ have crossed ten million views on YouTube. Even average Hindi songs rake up million hits. Not to mention the thousands of covers from young musicians trying to make a name for themselves.

I myself was an amateur music composer. Although, I’ve been lucky enough to know the struggles of pursuing your passion in music while struggling to make enough money for survival. Many of my musician friends underwent the same phase in life. A few of them made it big, some other few are still trying and the rest gave up. But during all these years, I have learnt one thing. It’s not necessary that you become the next Sonu Nigam to make enough dough pursuing music. You can make some good money selling music all by yourself.

If you compose music for a hobby or if you are an amateur composer but are struggling to make ends meet, then here are some useful tips for you.

CD sales
CD sales in India have drastically come down in the last decade. While the overall music sales keep skyrocketing, the total physical sales have been decreasing continuously. Having said that, CD sales still make around a billion and a half rupees in sales. If you think your music is good enough, find a producer, record an album of 6-10 songs and sell them. Given that your album is marketed well by your producer, you are sure to make a decent amount. You can also self-publish but that involves too many hassles. There are better alternatives if you are an indie artist.

Online sales
Whether you are a programmer, graphic designer or a composer, having a website is absolutely essential. Create a website to showcase your music and either stream your music or offer purchases. Anywhere between Re. 1 to Rs. 100 is a good price for a song. If the music is good enough, people will not hesitate to buy. Unlike the general public perception, a website isn’t a costly affair. All it takes is a couple thousand rupees for hosting and domain name and a few thousand more for development. A website also adds to your resume in case a producer is looking for some fresh talent.

Stream music
There are hundreds of music streaming platforms available out there. Make sure your music is available on all those platforms. You can either stream your music or display for purchase. Apart from adding to your bankroll, these streaming platforms will help you get out there in the market. If people are looking for music of your genre, these platforms will make sure they stumble upon your music. Once the purchase is made, they get the commission (a smaller part) and you keep the major chunk. It’s a win-win. Some good music streaming platforms are: SoundCloud, Reverbnation, Gaana, GrooveShark etc.

Live performances
Live performances are the heart and soul of a musician. Many musicians are good at composing but really struggle when it comes to live shows. In fact, the real talent of a musician is judged by his ability to perform live. Live shows not only help build the following among an artist’s fan base but also help make some good cash. Make sure your manager strikes a good deal with the organizers. Rs. 50000 is the minimum if your band already has a following. If you are already popular in the music circles, sky is the limit.

When you create a piece of music, you own the copyright for it. Every time your music is played in any part of the world, they are liable to pay you a sum of money. But since it is a lengthy legal process, some companies like SoundExchange have made it easy for beginners to collect royalties. Just make sure you open an account on SoundExchange. Once you do, every time someone plays your music on platforms like Pandora, Webcasters, SiriusXM Radio, Spotify, they’re bound to pay you royalties. Although Spotify is not yet available in India, I would suggest you to keep an eye on them. They’re going to be coming very soon.

Having said all that, the key to successful music, just like any other work of art, is to produce quality. The better the quality of music, better are the chances of your success. So get your rear end working on some instruments today, because your music is going to fetch you some sweet cash.

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