by Nicole McCray

As an independent musician, you may not be privy to the vast opportunities to help get your music out there and earn an income at the same time. There are ways to seek out revenue from new, non-traditional sources. Here is a breakdown of some of the best ways that artists can monetize their music to maintain a successful music career.


Monetizing on YouTube is always a great option because it was the first significant video platform and also one of the most popular ways to get noticed – ask Justin Beiber! You can monetise your videos on YouTube, and it helps the conglomerate to earn their revenue as well – a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of agreement.

YouTube offers DIY musicians several ways to earn money from their music. These include YouTube music streaming revenue for Art Tracks, with music through its own video with metadata; Content ID from advertisements within videos, where YouTube recognises videos uploaded that contain songs and places an ad where you can earn revenue with clicks; and revenue from YouTube Premium Subscribers, where artists have the opportunity to make more per views when Premium subscribers watch, rather than when free users do.

Monetising on YouTube means that you need to opt for Social Video Monetisation when you submit your videos to your channel. It would help if you also drove activity through some marketing over social media to increase your revenue chances.

Social Media

Did you know that you can also monetise your music on social media platforms? Both Instagram and TikTok have ways in which you can upload videos, such as an Instagram Stories or Reels. Instagram doesn’t have direct monetization, but it can go a long way to helping you grow your fan base since it is a hugely popular platform. 

TikTok allows artists to showcase their music in other videos, so you can earn money whenever a new video is made, and they utilise your music for it. If you are a musician and haven’t used this platform yet, you should familiarise yourself with it and get to uploading videos with your original music ASAP. Unlike YouTube, you don’t have to opt into the Social Video Monetisation – you need to opt-in for streaming, ensuring that TikTok is selected and your music goes automatically to them as part of their library. 


Any original song or track is your own copyrights for both the composition and recording (if you’ve paid for the recording yourself). If you want to monetise in a way that allows your music to be featured in media such as TV and movies, you should license your music.

Music licensing is when you grant permission to a company or person to use your recording for a fee.

Music licensing agencies are essential to help with all of the legalities to get contracts for both you and those who want to license your music. They keep large music libraries, where film directors or organisations will go in and peruse to find the “perfect” piece they need for an upcoming film or advertisement. Your music might even end up featured on national television in a commercial! 

Music licensing agencies (such as Marmoset) are great resources to submit your music, and they encourage emerging artists with their vast network of creatives like producers and music supervisors.


DIY musicians are sometime sceptical of streaming their music because, typically, payouts tend to be small. But think of it this way – these payments can add up and become a good source of revenue over time, making it well worth it to stream. 

In order to get your music on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, you’d do well to sign up with a digital distributor like DistroKid or CDBaby. For a small fee, your music will be available in multiple places, which means more chances to be heard by fans and grow your audience.

Online Live Shows

Since live concerts and gigs are still not allowed just yet, you can still create live shows in a virtual setting. The benefit of these is that you can reach fans from around the world, in areas you might not even get to fans if you did tour.

You also have the advantage of being able to broadcast a live show from the comforts of home or even pre-record at home for a premiere. You can create access through a live stream across multiple platforms, such as Facebook Live. Payments can be made through a website for ease into your PayPal or Venmo account so that fans can purchase their “ticket” to watch.

The VIP Experience

Taking the idea of live streaming a step further, you can include VIP experiences for fans. You can use crowdfunding campaigns or subscriptions. Any gig that you can play allows you to offer those extra-supportive fans something extra – something like a meet and greet over video chat.

You can sell tickets for VIP experiences with Bandzoogle. You can also use meeting fans in a VIP setting as an opportunity to give them an authentic live experience with one of their favourite tracks or introduce a new song. 

Royalty-Free Selling of Music Samples

One last option to monetising your music is by taking all of those unfinished songs or tracks that you never used and turning them into a royalty-free sample. Many producers will pay for pieces of music to use in projects. 

Think about the fact that commercial music is super short – the average commercial break is usually only seconds. It’s a lucrative way for you to turn leftover music sessions that you don’t have an actual use for into something valuable for others.

Making money through monetising your music can be challenging because it is constantly evolving. Strive to keep updated and do your research into new, innovative ways that you might be able to offer music, and you’ll be much closer to bringing in a solid, sustainable revenue.