6 Money-Making Gigs By
You Haven’t Yet Thought Of
Plus: We’re having a giveaway (enter below)
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
written by: Gregory Douglass
There are many ways musicians and bands can make money with their music. Perhaps the most obvious way is through performing and touring. Any given tour might rely on club, coffeehouse, and even college performances to generate income along the way – but there are other ways to generate additional revenue that may not already be on your radar. So here are 6 music money gigs you haven’t yet thought of:
1. College Keynote Concerts. College gigs are great, and are arguably the most lucrative gigs in the indie music biz. While college gigs can be a nice pay day, they are also the most competitive gigs to book. Most musicians and booking agents are going after college gigs in the same ways – through college booking conferences like NACA, or directly through Student Activities organizations. Try thinking outside the box and consider an educational tie-in with your performance pitch in the form of a keynote concert. Perhaps you or your bandmate could talk to the student body about the songwriting process and cap off your presentation with a performance. For keynote concert bookings, consider contacting various clubs & organizations outside of the Student Activities department.
2. House Concerts. House concerts are still an underground, growing trend – though they are still met with great resistance by many shy musicians who feel that they are just too close for comfort. As a touring singer/songwriter myself, I personally give house concerts my golden stamp of approval. They certainly are intimate, but you can’t ask for a more appreciative audience than a house concert audience! They are ideal for solo artists but great opportunities for bands to strip things down for a night as well. House concerts can be more lucrative than public venues with a $10-20 suggested donation jar and the higher level of interest in merch sales that they typically generate. If you’re lucky, your house concert host may even make you a home cooked meal or offer you their guest room for the night to help save you some dough on the leg of a tour.
3. Virtual Concerts. With platforms like LiveStream, Ustream, Justin.tv, Stageit, and even Google Hangouts now – virtual concerts have never been easier to administer behind the scenes. Consider setting the stage at home in front of your computers built-in camera, or step up your game if you have the right gear to do so. Stageit is specifically for concerts and has a virtual tip jar already incorporated, but you can also embed some basic HTML code on Justin.tv and sport a Paypal-powered virtual tip jar yourself. Make virtual concerts like these apart of a larger crowd-funding campaign for your next tour or album campaign.
4. Venue Rentals. If you’re really ambitious, you might consider doing what Ani Difranco did to build her legacy and rent venues. This will obviously cost you a chunk of change up front, but you might be able to fast-track your way into presenting your band in venues that are more suitable or more preferable than the usual direct-booking venue. If you are willing to hustle and ensure that enough people fill the house to make it worth the cost of the venue rental, than you can have your cake and eat it to.
5. Corporate Events. There are always Corporate companies looking to book entertainment for various internal events, and they usually have a decent size budget to work with. Corporate events gigs are not unlike the wedding gigs in that they are typically background music for attendees, so they may not be for everyone – but they are usually a nice pay day in the end.
6. Street Performances. For more seasoned/professional artists, street performances may seem too entry-level, but they don’t have to seem that way. Adapting to the new indie music biz model is adapting to fresh perspective on how to sustain a living as a working musician, so this might be the perfect exercise in checking one’s ego at the door. Street performances can be great opportunities for fast-generating tip money, as well as great new exposure opportunities. Especially on the pedestrian streets of tourist cities and towns, or any other areas with heavy foot traffic. Even KT Tunstall still plays street performance gigs now and then for nostalgia purposes.
You’re a rock star.
Here’s to your creative genius!