How To Make Money As A Music Producer: Beginner’s Guide

How To Make Money As A Music Producer

Want to learn how to make money as a music producer? I’ve got you covered.

No matter how talented you are, it can be tough to make a living in the music industry.

The secret to success is to set up multiple streams of income so that you’re earning from lots of different sources in tandem.

With that in mind, I’m going to share the best ways to make money as a music producer below. Read on and I’ll show you how to get started with each of them.

#1 – Distribute your music to online stores & streaming platforms

If you produce your own music, the most obvious way to make money is through streaming revenues and music sales.

Distribute your music - Distrokid

So, step one is to distribute your music everywhere. I’m talking Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal… anywhere that people go to buy or listen to music.

This can be done with a single platform like Distrokid. It’s a music distribution service, so you only have to upload your music once and Distrokid will get it onto all the main music streaming services.

But don’t forget to build your own store and sell your music directly to fans too! You can do this easily with a store builder like Sellfy. You’ll also keep 100% of the profits this way as there’s no middleman to take a cut.

#2 – Offer your services

There are tons of advertisers, brands, artists, and directors looking for skilled music producers to work on their projects. 

Offer your services - SoundBetter

From mixing to mastering and everything in between. Anything a producer does musically can be offered as a service. 

To find clients willing to pay for your services, it’s a good idea to sign up for freelance marketplaces and create a detailed profile that will tell them exactly what you have to offer.

For example, you can start by signing up as a provider on SoundBetter—it’s where a lot of artists and clients go to hire mixing and mastering engineers, producers, and songwriters.

Upwork and Fiverr are good too. And of course, nothing beats networking. Get out there, build relationships with other artists, and let them know you’re open to ghost production. You never know where you might find work.

#3 – Sell merchandise

Another great way to make money as a musician is to sell merchandise to your fans. I’m talking t-shirts printed with your logo or album artwork, posters, wall art, water bottles, etc.

Sell merchandise - Sellfy

Selling merch is easy with Sellfy. The platform offers a print-on-demand service that allows you to design and sell custom products through your online store—and you only pay for what you sell. 

You don’t need to buy any stock upfront, and Sellfy handles fulfillment so it’s super hands-off. All you have to do is choose a white-label product from their catalog, upload the designs you want to print on them, import them to your online store, set your prices, and start selling. 

Whenever you make a sale, Sellfy will print it and ship it straight to the customer, and then bill you afterwards. The difference between the price Sellfy bills you and the price you sell for is your profit margin.

Don’t forget to promote your merch on all your socials. It also helps to add a link to your online store on all your profiles on streaming platforms, and in your track descriptions.

Related: How To Sell Band Merch (Beginner’s Guide)

#4 – Teach others how to produce music

As a music producer, you probably have a lot of different skills and a wide range of musical knowledge. So, why not earn money by sharing that knowledge with others?

Teach others how to produce music - Thinkific

You can build a course in which you teach music production using an online course platform like Thinkific. Then, set a price and sell it through your online store. 

I’d recommend packaging your course as a membership product in which customers have to pay a monthly subscription fee to access the content, rather than a one-time payment. That way, you’ll be creating a recurring revenue stream.

Not sure what kind of course to create? Here are some ideas:

  • A complete beginner’s guide to music production
  • The basics of sound engineering
  • Music theory and composition
  • An introduction to songwriting
  • How to use Ableton/Pro Tools/Logic (or whatever DAW you use)

Aside from online courses, you could also offer one-to-one lessons either in-person or online.

#5 – Sell beats

A lot of music producers make good money selling beats to other artists. 

Sell beats - Airbit

The best way to sell beats is through your online store (built with Sellfy, for example) as you have full control over pricing & licensing, and you keep 100% of your profits.

All you have to do is add a digital product to your store, then upload your beats as an audio file, and enter product details like the description, price, title, etc. You can use Sellfy’s built-in marketing and sales tools to help promote your beats and drive sales.

You can also sell beats and sample packs on online marketplaces like Airbit or AudioJungle. It’s easier to make sales on online marketplaces without investing in marketing as they come with a built-in customer base, but the tradeoff is that the platform will usually take a cut of your revenue.

Check out our roundup of the best websites to sell beats for more information on how to get started.

#6 – Sell presets

Whether it be for soft instruments or effects plugins, the chances are you’ve built up a stockpile of presets.

Don’t just keep them to yourself. Sell them via online marketplaces or your own store. If you’ve used them, the chances are there will be other producers out there who will be interested in using them too.

A lot of artists buy presets on sound pack marketplaces like Splice, Sample Magic, Loopmasters, and Airbit. So listing them for sale on these sites is a good place to start.

But again, these marketplaces will often take a cut of your sales revenue, which can be as much as 50% depending on the site. 

You can get around this by selling presets exclusively through your own Sellfy store instead as Sellfy doesn’t charge any transaction fees, but you’ll have to put work into marketing them if you want to make sales.

#7 – Get your music in TV shows & movies

Music producers can earn big money through music synchronization licensing.

Get your music in TV shows & movies - Ditto

In a nutshell, that’s when you get paid to let your music be used in movies, TV shows, commercials, video games, and other audio-visual productions.

Usually, you’ll be paid a sync fee upfront for the placement. And then on top of that, you’ll also earn performance royalties.

To get started, you’ll need to join a copyright collective or PRO (Performing Rights Organization). They’re responsible for collecting your royalties when your music is publicly broadcast or performed and making sure that you get exactly what you’re owed.

The main PRO in the UK is PRS for Music. In the US, most producers go through ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

Some music distributors like Ditto can help you get started by connecting you with a PRO. Ditto also has a pitching dashboard, where you can browse placement opportunities and pitch your music for consideration.

#8 – Let other musicians and bands hire out your home studio

Got a home studio that you use to produce music? Why not rent it out to other artists and bands as a side hustle to boost your monthly income?

You don’t need a fancy home studio for this either. Sometimes you just need a space that gets the job done.

A buddy of mine in college built a vocal booth in his bedroom and let other artists hire both him & the space—and he made a ton of money from it.

The going rate to hire a professional studio rates can be anything from $30 to $100+ per hour, depending on the location, size, etc. If you include your services as an engineer/producer as part of the deal, you can charge more.

So realistically, you’d only need to be renting it out for a few hours a week to add a good chunk to your monthly income. If nothing else, it will help you recoup the cost of all the equipment you’ve invested in.

#9 – Start a YouTube channel

YouTube is a great place to share the music you produce—both for exposure and monetization.

YouTube Channel Dashboard

There are a couple of ways to earn money from your YouTube channel.

The first is through ad revenue. Qualifying creators can sign up for the YouTube Partner Program and start earning money from ads shown on their music videos.

You’ll need to have at least 500 subscribers, 3 public uploads over the last 3 months, and 3k public watch hours in the last year to qualify for the Partner Program.

In addition to ad revenue, you can also earn money on YouTube in other ways, such as brand sponsorships and affiliate offers.

For example, you could sign up for the Amazon Associates program. Then in your YouTube video descriptions, share Amazon affiliate links that viewers can click to buy all the gear you use. As an Amazon Associate, you’ll earn a commission on each sale you refer.

You can also use YouTube Live to earn through Super Chat donations, which brings us to our next method…

#10 – Livestream on Twitch & other platforms

Online tutorials are great and all, but you know what’s a better way to teach people how to make music? Livestreams. 

With livestreams, you can coach viewers in real-time and give them an inside look at your music production process that they just won’t get with basic tutorials.

And you can earn money through your livestreams through viewer subscriptions and donations. 

There are a few platforms to choose from when it comes to hosting livestreams. Twitch is one of the best. Facebook Live and YouTube Live are also good options. 

Kick is a livestreaming platform that was only launched a couple of years ago and it’s growing fast, so that’s worth considering. And you can even go live on TikTok now too.

#11 – Create exclusive content for your biggest supporters

You don’t need to have millions of fans to make money as a music producer. All you need is a small but dedicated following of fans who are willing to support you.

Create exclusive content - Patreon

Think about it: If you have just 100 fans, and each of them were to pay you 20 bucks a month, you’d already be earning $2,000 a month. That’s a full-time income for some people.

But how do you get your biggest supporters to pay you $20 a month? Easy—offer them exclusive content!

You can use membership platforms like Patreon to build a paid community space where your biggest fans can interact with you and each other, and where you share exclusive VIP content like early releases of your upcoming tracks, behind-the-scenes content, tutorials, etc. 

It’s up to you how much you want to charge members. You could even set up different subscription tiers with different perks. 

For example, $5 a month for access to your community discussion board, $20 a month for access to the discussion board & exclusive content, and $50 a month for all of the above plus access to one live Q&A each week.

Final thoughts

That concludes our beginner’s guide on how to make money as a music producer.

Hopefully, we’ve shown that you don’t need to be as big as Dr Dre or Rick Rubin to earn a living as a producer. You just need to have a good monetization strategy in place.

At a minimum, you should upload your music to all the major streaming platforms to maximize your streaming royalties and build your own online store to sell music and merch directly to your fans.

From there, you can start building other income streams through things like YouTube ads, livestreaming, sync royalties, and selling services, courses, beats, and presets.

And remember: Success doesn’t happen overnight. The most important thing is to keep producing music that your fans will love. Make that your top priority, and the money will follow. Good luck!