Monetize Your Music: 3 Reasons Why You Should Take Advantage Of 2020

No live shows mean no performance fees means no royalties. In short, a massive income reduction. We know how difficult it is to be an artist in the current climate, so we’re always on the lookout for the next opportunity. Here are three ways to reassure you that despite popular opinion, now is a great time to make and monetize your music.

Streaming Is Taking the Lead

Even though it’s been a catastrophic year for the global economy, revenue for BMG’s music division has never been better ($308 million, to be exact). You might be wondering how on earth that’s possible, considering the closing of 19 offices across the world and 926 staffers working remotely. 

Not surprisingly, the answer is streaming.

Yep, monetizing your music via streaming seems to be not just the new norm, but one which provides top ROI. 

In the last few years, listening habits have been leaning towards going online. Universal, Sony and Warner now generate nearly $800,000 per hour from music streaming services alone.

Spotify’s Q2 results revealed that 43,000 artists now share 90% of all plays on – and therefore 90% of all money from – its platform. This means that there’s an expanding “middle tier” of independent artists increasingly claiming a share of industry revenue.

Simply put: there has never been a better time to monetize your music.

In an exciting twist, lockdown has also altered the medium that these listeners prefer, tipping the scale towards video streaming.  Of course, staying at home gave preference to a more visual experience, which in turn gave a substantial rise in YouTube and Vevo streams.

Think of it this way: in the good old days, people listened to music on their way to work, where videos were usually less desirable. But now that commuting to work means walking from your bedroom to your living room, audio-visuals are far more preferred.

“Tech companies, Instagram Live, are going to get smarter about how to empower artists in those spaces, how to make it worth our while, so that we are not just having 300,000 people tune in and not have any access to data around that or access to income from that. That is going to keep evolving in a way that is long lasting and will create new revenue streams for artists”. – Ty Stiklorius 

Livestreaming Is All the Rage

We don’t need to write the full quote here, but Darwin would agree that adapting is the key to survival. You need to monetize your music because that is your livelihood, but in order to do that, adapting comes in the form of virtual events.

From impromptu concerts to behind-the-scenes glimpses, to Q&As, live-streaming your work can have a positive impact on your revenue and even build anticipation for your future releases. Livestreaming shows “provide a much-needed creative outlet and sense of community for artists and fans alike”, says Mark Savage.  

There is countless technology at your disposal, all aimed at allowing you to monetize your music. Recently, SoundCloud added direct support links, and chances are other platforms have done the same.

Yes, this will hopefully allow you to continue making music. Still, it’s also essential to approach the topic in a way that teaches the public that music has value and is a service they should be paying to see, just like they do in the physical world.

And while we’re at it, it’s also important to make sure your live streaming platform has valid performance licenses. Like anything else, it’s a legal landscape that should not be ignored.

The Industry Is Undergoing A Reform

Covid19 is killing the music industry as we know it. And as William Ralston puts it, “maybe it needs to die”.

What the global pandemic has exposed above all is the shortcoming of the modern music industry, in which artists are paid to perform, but often barely anything for the music they record. 

Yes, as income disappears, so do the smaller artists that lose revenue without live gigs, and this is a scary creative prospect because the best musical reinvention always starts from the bottom. With that said, it’s clear that the pandemic ignited a discussion about recording contracts.

When we say “monetize your music”, we mean getting paid what you’re really owed.

Traditionally, recording deals used to pay artists on a royalty basis, around 15-20 per cent, but that’s an antiquated agreement. “Independent labels have been moving towards more transparent, bespoke artists deals for some time, and Covid-19 will shake everyone up and show that we all need to look at them.”

And if you’re wondering how to manage the nitty-gritty of deal-making between artists and record labels amidst social distancing rules, technology is already on that. Game-changing apps such as Record Deal Simulator are designed to help artists, managers, and labels model deal options and forecast profits.

The people demand music, and it can only be done if labels agree to pay artists what they’re owed.

monetize your music

It’s  important to follow the classic saying “if you’re good at something, never do it for free.”  It’s not impossible to monetize your music, especially now when the demand for it has never been higher. 

Covid 19 has had devastating effects on the musical world as we know it – but the industry is adapting to change, and you should, too. Even if your primary source of income is taken away, it’s important to continue working on new projects, even if it requires a bit of DIY.

As Trevor Peterson says, “We’re thinking that when touring comes back, it’ll give our albums a second burst of interest.”