The vast majority of singers leave a lot of money on the table, as the equipment for singing is fairly expensive every bit could be helpful. Below is a detailed list of how you can make some extra money as a singer, provided that you stick with one or two methods you will probably be able to make a full time living in no time.
There are a lot of ways for how to make money by singing, both offline, online, and even in passive ways. You as a singer are an entertainer and most of your money you will make by singing will come from entertainment jobs like singing at weddings, events and so on. Once you have made a couple of successful songs you will be able to earn money from royalties, and this is how the most successful singers make money as well.
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Sooner or later you will have to think of how will you make money as a singer, although most beginner singers think that in order to make money you have to have either a huge following on social media or you have to be extremely lucky. This is far from the truth, there are a lot of ways on how you can make money as a singer anything from small gigs to full-blown concerts. Generally speaking, most beginner singers do not even consider the fact that while they are still improving and learning that they can actually make money, and some of them can make a full-time income.
As a singer you will have to invest in some equipment, depending on how determined you are to make it as a singer this equipment can cost a lot of money. Most singers set up a small home studio, if you want to know what kind of equipment you will be needing than check out my recent article Singing at home equipment ( Top 11 Essentials ). The smart thing is to start making some money as soon as possible, remember you as a singer will have to start at the bottom of the industry.
Nowadays nobody wants to start from the bottom, everybody wants to have their big break, but even people who get their 15 minutes of fame can rarely capitalize on it and they will still end up starting from the bottom like everybody else. The only people who have a head start in making some serious money while singing are the ones that come from a singing family, usually, if the parents are established singers it will be a lot easier for the child to start their singing career.
If you are a beginner singer and you are not ready to go full time with your singing career, then my personal recommendation is to not quit your day job and focus on making some extra cash on the weekends. Far too often people go all-in with their singing career, some of them even move to another city. The problem is that you are not guaranteed to succeed and as you will have to pay your bills some way so you will get some low-paying job, where you could be stuck for years if your singing career doesn’t kick-off.
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Make money by singing at weddings
If you have already read my recent article How long does it take to become a professional singer? ( The Honest Truth ), then you probably already know why I do recommend singing at weddings, it is simply way too easy money and it can help your singing career a lot. Most restaurants and hotels which do host weddings oftentimes make different packages available for the groom and the bride.
Usually, these packages do include some form of entertainment and even a cocktail bar if it is a fancier wedding. If you want to make money as a singer then my personal recommendation is to go to speak to a couple of managers, if that doesn’t work try to speak to the band members who go to perform at weddings. Oftentimes these bands are booked for the entire season and they will hire backup singers just so that they can have a break or two at the wedding.
If all of the above tips fail then your best bet is to talk to freelance bartenders, usually, they have a good relationship with the managers and a good word from them could help you get hired. If you are a good singer then you will need just a couple of wedding gigs before people start asking you to perform at their weddings.
PRO TIP: If you know you are a good singer then do not sign a contract with any establishment and be a freelance singer, the main reason is that by being a freelance singer you will make a lot more money and you can make your own schedule.
Make money by singing at corporate events
This is very similar to singing at weddings, the major difference is the pay and how many hours you will have to sing. Generally speaking these corporate events are held during the holiday season and usually right at the end of the year. The problem with these corporate events is that it can be fairly hard to get a gig from them. Usually, these corporations stick with one or two singers which they rotate during the year at different events.
Just make sure you know what you are getting into, as these corporations will rely on you for entertainment it isn’t advised to refuse any gig from them as they will find a new singer in no time and might even replace you in the long run. You have to say goodbye to holidays with friends and family, one of my best friends who never quite made it as a singer is working at a factory during the week, during the holidays he also sings at different corporate events and I have seen it on him that after one month of holding two jobs he is exhausted.
Make money by singing on YouTube
There are a lot of singers who made it big by uploading songs on YouTube like Justin Bieber. Generally speaking most singers on youtube upload different cover songs and they monetize them with ads, sponsorships, or affiliate offers. Although youtube is an excellent place to get traffic it can be oftentimes a minefield when it comes to music, there are a lot of companies that make copyright strikes some of them abusively.
There are even some shady companies that use bots to copy strike random sounds like rain and sirens. There has been even an instance where an artist was making a youtube live event where he was making his original song, and during the live stream, he got a copyright strike by a random company making him lose any revenue generated by the video. If you are serious about starting your singing career on YouTube then go ahead and inform yourself about what you need to watch out as a singer.
Promote affiliate products with your singing videos
In order to make money as a singer from affiliate products you will need to have a following, generally speaking, these affiliate offers work the best on social media although some are better than others. If you look at some of the singing youtube channels that do cover singing you probably noticed in the description they are listing the type of microphone and other equipment they are using.
Once a user clicks on one of these affiliate links and purchases a product the singer will get a commission, although usually, these commissions are fairly low but they can add up fast.
Make money by teaching others how to sing
This option is viable for more established singers, usually, people rely on them to teach others as vocal coaches are extremely expensive. But if you are a talented singer then you already know how much work and dedication it takes to be a singer, especially if you want to make it professionally. Generally speaking your best approach to teaching people is to teach children, usually, they learn fairly fast and you probably have a lot of tricks and tips to show them due to your experience.
Make money by being a freelance singer
There are a lot of people looking to hire a singer for smaller jobs like simply recording a song as a backup singer. There are a lot of websites that have a lot of freelance singers, usually, their profiles do have some demo songs and the buyer can simply choose which one they like the most. One of the best parts about being a freelance singer is that you can do it right out of your home although you will need some professional equipment in order to do it.
If you are not interested in making money online as a singer you can always try it at recording companies and theaters, generally speaking, if you are a talented singer they will hire you temporarily.
Make money by singing at house parties
Not a lot of singers are a fan of singing at house parties, and who can blame them usually people are not interested in the singing and they would rather party. One of the worst parts about house parties is that you will probably be heckled during your performance, so only accept this kind of job if you have a fairly thick skin. On the bright side house concerts can make a lot of money, just make sure where you are going to sing is safe.
PRO TIP: If you are ever invited to perform at a house concert then make sure that you take 50% of the money upfront, as they will be some people who will outright refuse to pay you after the performance due to one reason or another.
Make money by busking
A lot of people recommend busking, although I have never done it myself some people do claim that there is a lot of money to be made. Although busking is not illegal in most of the USA and UK it can be somewhat dangerous in some of the parts of the country. Most people look at them as they are begging and honestly speaking most artists who are busking do look like they are begging. This is scraping the bottom of the barrel if you are in such a bad financial situation that you have to rely on busking than you might want to rethink your life choices and get a job.
If you have ever visited some of the most famous cities in Europe you probably have noticed that there are a lot of street performers and the competition is fierce, everybody is trying to outdo the other and some of them do rely on brute force and intimidation. It is a dangerous life for any singer who is busking, my personal recommendation is to not do it no matter how bad your financial situation gets.
Make money by using sing and earn apps
There are a lot of apps that allow you to sing and earn some money like Smule, although the payout can be rather small if you do not have a large following. The main problem with these apps is your actual time, oftentimes you will work a couple of hours to sing some covers and all you get for your work is a couple of dollars at best. There are some apps that have a larger pay rate but you have to be extremely careful of these and inform yourself if they actually pay or not.
Make money by selling your own lyrics
If you are one of those singers who actually writes their own lyrics then you might be an actual gold mine. A lot of recording companies are looking for talented songwriters, although it can be fairly difficult to get into this industry if you are a fairly new singer or songwriter. On the bright side, there are numerous websites where you can sell your lyrics and the websites will take a commission, but overall you will be making a profit.
Just keep in mind that you will be working for other people online and you will have some issues at the beginning. Oftentimes when somebody hires you online to write them some lyrics they will think that for the sum that they have paid you have to work till they are completely satisfied. While most people will have no problems some will ask for frequent changes and updates of the lyrics for no particular reason, in short, beware of choosing beggars.
Make money by doing skype concerts
I know that you are probably asking yourself who is still using skype today. Generally speaking, these skype concerts are a budget-friendly way to have some entertainment at a party, usually, these parties are aimed at children and not adults. These skype concerts usually start at 25$ per hour but they can increase a lot if the demand is high enough. One extremely important thing to know about skype concerts is that you have to take into consideration the difference in time zones.
As you will be singing at odd hours due to the time difference, and if you are living with a roommate this could be difficult.
Make money as a singer by selling your merch
When you as a singer have got some following you can start selling your own merch, this doesn’t have to be anything fancy, some shirts will do. There are sites that will handle everything you need providing that you sell at least a certain number of T-shirts. On the other hand, you can always sell your own merch at festivals and concerts just be careful as at some of these events you will be needing a license to be able to sell anything.
Make money by uploading your singing to SoundCloud
SoundCloud is a great way not only to make some money but to also gain some exposure as a singer. More established singers will earn money with each play of their song, usually just a few cents. However, for beginner singers, this option is not available, on the other hand, you can always add a buy now button to your song and with some luck, you will earn some money. Just as a friendly reminder, do not rely only on SoundCloud to make money as generally speaking you will either need a large following or be extremely talented to make a decent amount of money.
Make money as a singer by being a karaoke MC
If you have ever been to a karaoke night or a karaoke club you probably have noticed that there is one person who is in charge of the entertainment. Usually, these karaoke shows sign up people who want to sing and they also sing a couple of songs. Most of these karaoke nights will also offer some kind of prize for the winner and usually, the karaoke host will choose them. The truth is that you don’t even have to be a good singer to be a karaoke host, your main goal is to entertain people and not to take it overly seriously, remember that people are there to party and to forget about their everyday problems.
Make money by singing with royalties
This is where the big money will come, have you ever thought about the fact that some singers who didn’t sing for decades still make a lot of money, if yes then the answer is royalties. Some artists make one successful song that has a global reach and the royalties for that song can be significant, by significant I mean that you might never have to work one day in your life, and money will come in every month.
If you have made an original song, every time this song is played either at live events or on the radio, TV, and even online you will get a royalty fee. You as a singer will not be able to collect it directly, there are some organizations that will handle the collecting of royalties on your behalf. In order to get money from royalties, you will have to sign up for the Performing Rights Organisation and to SoundExchange which handles the digital part of the royalties.
Make money by selling singing gigs on Fiverr
Fiverr is a great place to earn some extra money, although the number of singers who can make a full-time income is fairly limited. The good news is that if you are a good singer you can branch off to other niches also like songwriting, and even voice-overs in addition to singing. If you have never heard of Fiverr then you should definitely check it out, sign up and create a couple of gigs, once you get a couple of orders and the first couple of positive ratings then the ball will keep on rolling and you can even increase your price.
Make money by singing at school events
All schools have at least a couple of events every year, oftentimes they invite a local singer to perform as they have a very tight budget. Some schools which do not have any money can turn to special grants from different foundations. If you want to earn some extra money as a singer than my personal recommendation is to contact your local singer or artists foundation, generally speaking, they will have some events in the near future, but you need to understand that these events are not so well paid as some of the others on this list.
Make money as a singer with crowdfunding
A couple of years ago crowdfunding was extremely popular, in some niches it is still a viable thing to do. Some artists on youtube turn to Patreon for some additional income as some if not all of their singing videos can be claimed by some third party company, leaving the singer without any income. generally, speaking people who love a certain singer and want to help them out can donate as little as $1, although this not seem to be much, it can add up quickly.
Make money by streaming your singing
There are a lot of very popular streaming websites like Twitch.tv, generally speaking, most people stream themselves playing videogames. However, there are a couple of singers who also stream while they are making their own music. What is great about streaming is that you can get donations, promote your own merch, and even promote affiliate offers. Some of these streaming platforms also incentivize subscribing, meaning people that will subscribe to your channel will have to pay a small fee every month and you as a singer will get a percentage of this money every month.
Make money by selling online singing courses
If you have ever searched for an online course then you have probably come across Udemy, this website is all about teaching. Most people who sell on this platform either sell in video or in eBook format. The drawback for Udemy is that you probably will be needing a good amount of followers on social media sites, otherwise, even if you make a great course and put it up it will be a hard sell if people have never heard of you.
Make money by being a temporary lead or backup singer
Oftentimes especially during the holiday season when a lot of people get sick, some bands are left without a lead or a backup singer. Generally speaking, more established singers will know who to contact in such an event but the ones who are left without a singer will have to search for a new one. The auditions for these positions are usually done extremely fast as there is no time to waste if you want to know what song you should sing to make the audition even easier than check out my recent article Easy audition songs for beginners ( Top 80 Easiest Songs ). The drawback of being a temporary lead or backup singer is that you will have to know some people to get referred to them.
Make money as a singer by getting sponsorships
A lot of singers who rely on social media to gain exposure make extra money from sponsorships. The type of sponsorships depends on the type and of the age of the audience, if the majority of your audience is male then it will be easier to get sponsorships from grooming products and from certain apps, on the other hand, if the majority of your audience is female than your best sponsorships will come from beauty and skincare products.
Make money by singing at festivals
Most festivals will host a lot of successful singers, although during the daytime and between breaks they will let local artists perform. Although not all of the festivals will actually pay as most of them have a tight budget. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to sing at festivals even if you do not earn any money, the simple fact that you will sing in front of hundreds or even thousands of people will convert into money later down the line.
Make money by singing jingles
Jingles are the short songs that are oftentimes played in ads, bigger cities usually have a couple of jingle studios where you can audition. If you live in a smaller city or town then your best bet is to audition online as there are a lot of sites dedicated to the jingle industry. One thing that you might want to take into consideration is the percentage that the jingle website takes when you get hired, some of them can be low as 5% while others will actually charge you for uploading your demos.
PRO TIP: Before you pay any money make sure that it is a legit site as there are a lot of scam sites.
Make money as a singer by accessing grants
No matter what state you live in there will be some grants which are accessible by artists. The problem with grants is that you will have to actually prove that you can not only sing but also make a profit from it. My personal recommendation is to access grants after you got at least some experience by making money as a singer. There are some companies which for a hefty fee will make it a lot easier to access the grants as they will do the paperwork for you.
Make money by singing at a choirs
This is an excellent way for shy singers to make money, oftentimes local choirs, orchestras, and even theatrical productions are looking for singers. The problem is that these job offers are limited to certain areas of the USA and the payout will be extremely different from one state to another.
Use your website to promote yourself
If you want to make money as a singer you will have to make a website, it doesn’t even need to be anything fancy just your contact details and some demo covers from youtube and something about yourself. My pro tip is that you should always use your own name as the domain website, let us face it if you want to be a successful singer you have to stand out of the crowd and if you make a band website you will be often overlooked.
This approach might be selfish if you are in a band, but you have to do what is best for you. If you have social media profiles make sure you add your website to your profiles, this way people who want to contact you can do it directly.
PRO TIP: Once you set up your website and contact details make sure that they are actually working as intended if you choose to list your phone number make sure that you create an image with your phone number, this way bots will not be able to crawl your phone number and make random robot calls.
As a singer you have a lot of ways to earn even a full-time income, just remember to experiment with different ways of making money as what works for somebody else is not a guarantee that it will work for you. My personal recommendation is to start out with earning some extra money with a couple of the above-mentioned websites, sooner or later you will figure out which one is working the best for you and you should focus on that one.