Work has changed dramatically all over the world in the past few years. The pandemic had us sitting in our homes and working, and this had a huge impact on people's lives. Many people have still not returned to an office based working schedule, preferring instead to continue working from home.
This has given rise to so many new remote positions, and ways to make money from home, that I thought it was a good idea to revisit the concept of making money as a music producer in 2022, and see how the landscape has changed.
Right off the bat though, it's worth noting that making money as a music producer is never a guaranteed thing, and if your goal from getting into music is to make money, you may be better off looking at a more lucrative career path, and something a bit more certain and less risky.
Having said that though, there are more and more opportunities for a music producer to make money these days if you're savvy about it.
The key is to be as open minded as possible, and focus your expertise wherever opportunities may arise. Don't get one idea of what you're going to do in your head, and then fail to spot other opportunities which pass you by.
So, let's dive in and look at how you can make money as a music producer in 2022.
How much can you expect to make?
The main thing you need to get your head around with making money as a music producer is you're likely to have several different income sources. Every music producer will be different, so it's tricky when considering the averages.
Having said that, the average salary for a Music Producer in the UK in 2022 is £20,725 per year, based on lowest of £15k and a highest of £63k.
More than anything, this shows the often unreliability of using averages as any kind of gauge. Because based on that list, you could earn £15k a year, or £63k a year. That's a huge difference, and I think it shows how big the variation in music producers' incomes can be!
So, with those figures in mind, let's look at some ways you can make money.
Ways to make money.
The world of streaming has made making money as a musician more viable than ever. These days there are thousands upon thousands of playlists, platforms and channels to get your music onto.
If you're distributing your music to streaming services, you should be seeing royalties coming off the back of that. The key thing here though, is that you need people to actually be listening to your music.
Also, the amount paid per individual stream is low, so this is only a viable financial option if you're generating lots of streams.
One way to do this is by getting your music on playlists, or ensuring by other means that fans are listening to your music. Getting your music onto a big playlist with lots of followers can be a great way to earn some money from streaming.
Samples and Beats
A hugely lucrative market for music producers is selling sample packs.
I personally know several people who, on top of their other income streams, make and sell sample packs through a wide variety of services. You can see BandLabd Sounds pictured here, a popular destination for producers seeking sample packs.
The cool thing about this is that there's no limit on how many times you can do it. You could get a sample pack listed on a recognised provider and people could be buying it again and again for a long time to come, and that's just one pack.
If you're serious about it, and you make and sell several, the potential income multiplies.
The thing about this is that it can widely vary in terms of prices. So if you're in a position to set your own prices, be sure to consider what your competition sells for, and make that a starting point for your own prices.
You need to consider the quality of your product, how big the clientele is, and how well-known your name is. If you're a well known producer, even within a specific genre niche, you can use this to sell for a higher price.
There's also a market for selling beats. Just like selling samples, there are dedicated sites you can use to promote and sell beats. This one takes a lot of work, but if you're dedicated and willing, and have some solid promotional tactics, there can be a lot of money to be made by selling your beats to clients.
Offer your production services.
A key thing to remember with music production, is that in a lot of situations, you're the prize.
You have the skillset, which is highly specialised, and to be a professional, takes a lot of time to develop.
So while you're busy working away on your own musical projects, consider offering out your services to other clients.
There are many artists out there who are lacking in the knowledge and talent that you may possess, so finding these artists and offering your services for a fee can help you earn some extra money.
Some peolpe who are only just getting into making music, or who are perhaps looking for a producer to work with, would be more than happy to pay for that service.
Another option on this route is to become a ghost producer, which is basically producing music anonymously for other people. Your work won't necessarily be publicly credited to you, but there's potential for some pretty good monetary compensation.
It's also made easier by a wide range of sites where you can offer your ghost production services to potential clients.
The good thing about this type of work, and a key point to remember about the music industry in general, is that it can really help with your networking and getting your name out there.
You could be a really good producer, who people would be more than willing to pay, but if nobody knows you exist, it's hard to make money!
Another thing to look out for is opportunities to freelance with your music production skills.
Even doing something like what I'm doing now - writing for online music publications - can be lucrative.
But there are also other ways to work on a freelance basis, such as Fiverr and Upwork, sites which allow you to advertise specific music services which people can pay for.
This is something you'd be doing on a job by job basis, where you charge a specific fee for a specific task. It can be really good because you can fit it around other things, allowing you to earn extra money when you need to, and only work on your own schedule.
Another option, if you're more of a technically minded producer, is to consider offering mixing or mastering services.
Many musicians and bands are looking to record their music, and they may not have the skills to create as good a recording as someone who is trained in it. You could offer your services to mix or master recordings, or - if you had the facilities to do so - you could offer to record musicians too.
This can be a really lucrative income opportunity if you advertise locally; we all remember from being younger how many bands there were, hoping to get some recordings done. You could be someone who fulfills that need for bands and musicians in your local area!
Sync Licensing & Library/Production Music
You can always look at sites like Ditto or Sentric Music to see what sync opportunities there are.
This is where you get your music licensed to be used in TV, film or games and it can pay large sums for certain deals.
The background music in all these forms of audiovisual media is always composed by someone, so by using services which specialise in pitching your music to sync opportunities, you could potentially earn big.
The key here is consistency, so make sure you have a solid portfolio of music to offer, and you should be in with a good shot.
Another option in this sphere is composing Library or Production Music. This is where you upload your music to an online catalog, and people looking for music in various projects will be able to browse and may choose yours.
I know several people who do this too, and it can be a good income stream if you're consistent with your output.
Spin some tunes.
If you're an electronic music producer and DJ, you can earn some good money from performing DJ sets.
If you're not experienced in this, you should start small by looking to get sets in local clubs or pubs, after which you will be able to move up to bigger venues and potentially be getting paid by promoters.
There's a booming electronic music scene these days, with DJ events happening all the time. This is especially true if you're living in a city with a big student population; there are events happening several nights a week, so working your way up to being a DJ at events like this could prove a lucrative income stream if you know what you're doing.
The name of the game for making money as a music producer is knowing that you'll be doing it from multiple sources.
When I was studying music production, I was always told we would likely end up having a 'portfolio career', meaning we wouldn't have one job with a salary, but several income streams contributing to our overall income.
This is a really important thing to bear in mind when you're a music producer; your best bet for making a steady stream of money is to have your fingers in as many pies as possible.
Don't put all of your efforts into one thing, and be sure to diversify your income streams so if one of them dries up or falls through, you aren't stuck with no money coming in.
Another thing to remember is that none of these things are guaranteed. Focusing your efforts on being consistent is key, because there's so much competition in the music industry that you're likely to be facing people who are seriously good at what they're doing.
You need to give clients a reason to give you their money, rather than to your competitors.
So, thanks for checking in with us here at Top Music Arts, and hopefully you'll stick around and check out more of our content on music production. While you're here, be sure to head over to our Ableton Live project templates, which you can grab hold of and see how professional tracks are put together.
You can see all the tips and production tricks that go into chart topping tunes, so go check out what deals we have on these now!