5 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

Sure, playing music is fun, but you can’t make any money!

Ever heard that? Ever thought that it was true? Well, I’m happy to say it isn’t. You can make money as a musician. Through lessons, selling music to other artists or companies, busking, sell merchandise, and performing, you can make money as a musician.

how to make money as a musician

Make an Hourly Rate by Giving Lessons

Everyone has to start somewhere. And when someone is just starting out, they want to work with teachers who are knowledgeable, successful, and talented. Don’t save all of your talent for audiences – share some with the up-and-coming musicians.

Depending on how well known you are, and the sort of clientele you work with, you can make anywhere from $25 – $50+ per lesson. Either providing your services through a local music store or freelancing through Craigslist or fliers around town, this is a great way to make money as a musician.

Use Teamwork to Make Money by Selling Your Music to Other Artists

One of the best ways to make money in the music business is to sell your songs to other artists. You could make a deal where a percentage of whatever the artists makes off of your song(s) goes directly to you. So, while they are out there performing, making deals, you can sit back and rake in the money coming from this one-time deal that you made. And this is the sort of thing that spreads. Once one of your sold-songs becomes successful, don’t be surprised if other more well-known artists are knocking on your door, interested in paying healthy amounts of money for your material.

Make Money as You Practice By Busking

Take your music to the streets! Performing out in the open, for anyone to see is fun and you, as an artist, can get a lot from it. For instance, you can see which of your songs people instantly respond to, which ones people dance to, which ones pay, and which ones flop. This information can be very useful when it comes to preparing the set-list for your next show. Also, busking gives you an opportunity to play out in a way that you might not be able to in your home/apartment. And while you’re playing out / practicing, you’re making money – that beats playing along in a bedroom.

Make Money by Selling Merchandise

Whenever you play a show, have something there for people to buy. Whether it be a demo album, a full-length album, or some sort of t-shirt, several members of your audience would like to support you by purchasing something from you. So be sure you have something there for them to buy. And while you have these things to sell at your performances, have them available to buy online. This will give you a source of income in addition to the money that you earn from in-person sales.

Make Money by Performing

Even though it’s getting cheaper and cheaper all the time to enjoy listening to recorded music (here’s more about how to get your music fix on the cheap), it’s just as difficult as ever to find an opportunity to see a quality live performance – help meet that need! Whether you are touring or staying in your hometown, research venues. Find venues that frequently host artists that perform the genre of music that you do, and get in contact with them. Then negotiate a time and fee for your to perform at their venue. This can be a great way for you to gain exposure, while simultaneously earning money for your performance.

So, despite what you may have heard about it being impossible to earn money as a musician, it’s not – it simply takes creativity. Luckily, that’s something that musicians have in spades!

Being Sick is Expensive

Out of all the seasons, autumn is my favourite season. With its cool crisp air and leaves of red, orange and gold it’s a beautiful season. Unfortunately it is also the start of flu season. I managed to get the flu, strep throat AND hives within the last three weeks. Thankfully, they weren’t all at the same time. However, it was one after the other. When I thought I should have been getting better, I only seemed to be getting worse.

I think the hives were most likely an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was given for the strep throat. All I can say is, thank goodness for Benadryl.  I’m not even sure which the worst one of them all was. Each health problem was bad in its own way. It has been a rough three weeks. I like to call it the trifecta of illness (Even though the hives were only a rash, the itching was absolutely unbearable the first few days).

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


While I’m almost back to being fully recovered (at least I hope I am. I don’t think I could deal with another sickness right now), I can’t help but reflect on how the last few weeks affected my finances. What can I say; I’m a personal finance geek. Even when I’m bed-ridden I’m thinking about finances.

I am lucky enough to have a job where I have accumulated a large amount of paid sick days. With the exception of this year, I don’t sick too often during the year. I still got paid my base salary, however being sick made me lose a week and a half’s worth of overtime pay. I also was in no condition to work at my second job, which is also quite physical. So I lost money (a couple hundred dollars) from that job as well.

Some of the things purchased to help me combat the flu, strep throat and hives:

  • Lozenges
  • Tissues
  • Popsicles
  • Tea
  • Orange juice
  • Antihistamines For day and night
  • Antibiotics
  • Buckley’s cough syrup (I’ve forgotten how awful tasting that stuff is)

While I haven’t actually calculated the total cost for my sick supplies, a rough estimate would probably be anywhere from $40-$50.

Being sick has cost me several hundred dollars’ worth of pay overall. I’m still fuming over it.

There were many factors contributing to me getting sick. Aside from the weather change and a bug that seemed to be going around, there was also: Not getting enough rest during the week, not being able to catch up on rest during the weekends (Due to several commitments/gatherings), being in contact with a lot of people,  working the long hours and pushing myself too much. It’s a vicious cycle I go through. I go, go, go until I’m burnt out or almost burnt out. By that point, I’m usually able to get some much needed rest and recuperate. However, last month just felt like there was absolutely no time to rest.

We all try to work as much as we can for as long we can. We want to earn and save as much money as possible. However, we also need to take the time to rest as much as we can, when the opportunity arises. I know I should practice what I preach. Being really sick finally opened my eyes and made me realize how much I take on and how much more I need to rest. You may think differently, but I think it’s ok to say no to friends. Even to family. Even to your significant other. Even if it’s quite often.

Say yes more to yourself.

I knew by working a lot more hours I was making more money. Then I ended up getting sick which ended up costing me quite a bit of money. So in the end, I didn’t really end up getting too far ahead financially.

I don’t get it when people almost always constantly sacrifice sleep/rest in order to get everything done. It’s not healthy. There’s a reason why you should try (I know, sometimes it’s easier said than done. Believe me, as a light sleeper, I know) to get 6-8 hours of sleep. Your body needs to recuperate. Even machines eventually breakdown over time and need scheduled maintenance.

When was the last time you were sick and how much did it cost you?

House Hunting: How Much We Spent

Just under two years ago, we moved into our first home.

We moved on a rainy December day just after Christmas. We have loved home ownership ever since, even the hard work (yard and property maintenance, re-shingling the roof, and painting not exempt).

We got a great deal on our house as the market was in a funny place when we bought. That being said, we definitely gave our bank account a good run for it’s money when we were going through the motions of home buying.

average closing costs

Here are the costs that we bore from the purchase of our first home:


We had a home inspection ($504), an insulation test for asbestos ($300) and an inspection for an oil tank on the property ($100). We also had a WETT test for our wood burning fireplace ($100) and had the chimney cleaned while we were at it ($100).

The total for all of these various tests and inspections was:


Down Payment

The down payment was a pretty big chunk of change, and hands down the biggest withdrawal from our bank accounts to date. Because we bank with Tangerine (back then it was ING Direct), it was difficult to get the bank draft in time, but by the skin of our teeth we made it by transferring the money into my husbands RBC account.

The total down payment was:


Land Transfer Tax

Typically for first time home buyers, Land Transfer Tax is waived. We still had to pay a portion of land transfer tax, though, as we were $5,000 above the maximum, bringing the tax down to:


Home Insurance

We, of course, had to go buy home insurance to .. well, insure our new home! Tenants insurance is only $300/year, and we let ours expire a few months prior to moving in, so this was a whole new expense.

We opted for earthquake insurance and the whole shebang (seriously, we’ll have an earthquake sooner rather than later and I’d rather be well insured then screwed over).

The company for which I work gives us a 20% discount on home insurance through an affiliate company, which is very helpful. With earthquake insurance and home insurance, we had to pay:



This is worth mentioning, because it did add up to quite a lot of money. We saw dozens of houses before landing on the perfect home, and we had to drive for hours to see them. Then, we’ll have to spend a lot of money on gas to drive back and forth upon moving.

On extra gas, we spend around:


Life Insurance

Life insurance isn’t something we had prior to buying our home simply because we didn’t really need it.

When we bought our house, we got life insurance for the boy because if anything happened to him (God forbid), I would really struggle.

I am already covered through work, so we didn’t bother covering myself.

In total, a yearly premium for life insurance was:



The total amount that we ended up shelling out during the home buying process was:


In out-of-pocket, extra cash. Some of these we have to pay for every month (insurance) and some were one-time expenses.

This might give you a good example of how much you’ll have to pay in down payment, closing, and home hunting costs when you go to buy your next house.

3 Sources of Totally Free Entertainment

In the modern world, we are surrounded by businesses and people who want us to buy stuff. Whether it be physical businesses or sellers we encounter online, the possibilities for spending money that we are faced with each day really add up. And so do the purchases – even if they’re just $.99. So, what can be done to find entertainment without breaking the bank? Better yet, where can you find entertainment that is completely free? Here are three sources of online entertainment that require just a computer and internet access. 

Please note these are based on the user being located in the United States… some countries won’t be able to download or stream media from some websites! 

how to have fun for free

Hulu and network websites

If you’re not ready to subscribe to the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime, Hulu makes for a great, free alternative for recently released TV shows. Many of the shows that you can find one of the subscription services (Hulu has a subscription version called Hulu Plus that grants you access to additional content) are available on Hulu, and typically you can view some of the most recent episodes for free.

Many networks also release free episodes of their programs, such as NBC, ABC, and TBS. Just head to the site and click on the “Full Episodes” link.

Free e-books and audiobooks

If you’re looking to get the greatest bang for your I’m-not-going-to-spend-a-buck, check out the free e-books on the Free E-Books website. Consider how much enjoyment you can get out of a book — the hours upon hours, depending on how quickly you read. And the best thing about this site is that most of the classics are waiting here for you. Also, there are loads of stories by up and coming writers.

You can also head to Books Should Be Free for more free e-books and a pile of audiobooks. The audiobooks are narrated by non-professional readers which can range from entertaining to distracting, or, depending on where you’re from, exotic.

YouTube Channels

In addition to funny, useful videos, YouTube is home to a variety of content channels. There was a big push from YouTube a few years ago to push original content on the site. Though they’ve gotten away from that, there remain lots of original content and channels you can sift through! For technology videos, visit the CNet channel. For comedy, visit College Humor. For thought provoking information, visit Ted. For gaming information, visit Machinima.

So, the next time you find yourself wondering what you can do to entertain yourself for an evening, don’t think that means you have to spend a lot of money. You can find a great book or something to watch without spending any of your hard earned money. So give one of these options a try, and sit back and be entertained by the results.