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Earning money from music can be difficult. Here are some tips on how to do just that while in college.

7 tips to start earning on music while at college

As an aspiring musician, you probably want to get more people to know your work. But it would also be a great benefit to earn something, especially for a college student. 

A college education is quite expensive, even if the tuition is partially covered with scholarships as there are many other related expenses. Luckily, there are several ways to achieve both goals at the same time. You can gain more recognition and earn extra money with your music.

Of course, one might worry that there will be less time for college tasks. But it is all about balance and wise time management. And if you have no time to finish an essay because you are performing a gig, you can always ask a professional essaywritingservice for help. Now, let’s talk about the tips on earning money with your art.


This might not sound very exciting, but it is a credible source of income and a pretty common student job. You can teach others to play an instrument. The lessons can be digital or in-person, depending on each particular situation. 

There are several benefits to this option. You can earn a decent amount of money, practice your skills while you teach, meet new people, and build a reputation. One can create a personal website or search for clients on sites like Wyzant or LectureOwl.

Playing gigs

This is another reliable and traditional way to earn money for musicians. Of course, it depends on the availability of live gigs in your area, but it is worth mentioning. There are several places one can apply to play:

  • Events, festivals, campus festivities;
  • Cafes, bars, restaurants;
  • DJ gigs in clubs;
  • Private events like weddings;
  • Singing in church.

You’ll need to do a lot of networking, create a website or social media page. You can also find gigs on websites like Reverbnation. Live performances are also a great way to gain a new audience. There are two essential parts: you need to know a lot of popular songs by other artists and create an electronic press kit.

An electronic press kit or EPK is your digital resume basically. It should include images, videos, and audios of your performances. And a link to streaming services with your music as well as social media profiles. If there are any press or client reviews mention them as well.

Streaming services

Another great way to find a new audience and earn some money is to publish your songs on a streaming service. The most popular ones in the world are Spotify and Apple Music. 

You’ll get royalties mainly for the number of streams. But the contracts are different for independent creators and labels, so read everything through carefully. 

You can do it directly or via a distribution service that will publish your song on many platforms. Distribution services are not free and have quite different offers, but the main ones are Landr, CD Baby, TuneCore, and Amuse.

YouTube channel

Starting a YouTube channel dedicated to your music might be challenging at first. It is hard to gain followers right away and the monetization might not come immediately. But it is a great platform in the long run. Consider it a video version of a good old blog.

You can post tutorials (they always do well), vlogs on the life of a musician, entertaining videos, your music videos, etc. The opportunities are almost endless. And it will give your music more recognition as YouTube followers will turn into fans. When your channel will grow significantly, you can sell bands or personal merch as another way of monetization.

Selling songs or beats

Another great way to make a living out of creativity is to sell your songs. One can sell songs as a whole, with music and lyrics. There is also an opportunity to sell beats and samples if you are into producing and have the necessary equipment. 

Overall, it might be hard to find clients at first, but it is a credible way to gain a reputation. And the more satisfied clients you’ll have, the more new ones will come. When you sell a song you can get either mechanical or performance royalties. The first ones are for each time the song is manufactured on a unit. For example, you’ll get a small fee for every physical album with your tune. 

Performance royalties are paid for each time the tune is performed. To get those, one needs to join one of the performing rights organizations – ASCAP, SESAC, or BMI.  And if you are into selling beats and samples, you need to find a musical niche and promote yourself. Also, learn more about licensing and the rights you are giving to the customers on your creations.

Help other musicians

This is usually not the constant form of earning but can be a good side gig. You can be a band stand-in. It means to perform with a band if their guitarist or vocalist is sick or absent and they need to do a gig. 

You can also collaborate with other musicians by helping them to write an album or a particular song. You can search for these types of jobs on freelance websites, like Upwork. It can also be an excellent way to network, find new acquaintances in the industry, and get your name out there.

Participate in songwriting competitions

It is also not a constant income source, but it has several prospects. First of all, different competitions might bring you more recognition and a new audience. Secondly, they often offer cash prizes, which is great. And there are lots of them, starting from international ones like ISC up to the local ones in your hometown. Participation and victory in such competition will look good on your EPK.

In summary

It is perfectly possible to be a working musician and study at college at the same time. Thanks to technology, there are many ways to earn your creativity digitally. You can also do traditional things, like playing gigs or teaching others.

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