Most aspiring musicians dream about making a living from their music, to live a creatively fulfilling life on their own terms. This can feel unattainable for musicians when they are just starting out, as many of them have to have day jobs to subsidise their music careers.
Read on for a brief guide on how to make a living as a musician.


Whilst location isn’t the be-all and end-all for a musician as it used to be, due to the rise of the internet, it should still be a consideration. Musicians from rural areas may struggle more to gain traction. Cities simply offer more opportunities. Whilst most of the bigger cities in Britain have their offerings London is arguably one of the best places for aspiring musicians. It has more prospects. Aspiring musicians based in London can take advantage of its offerings, like Pirate’s London recording studio. Pirate has various studios and rehearsal spaces that can be invaluable for aspiring musicians, and their discounted day rates can suit most budgets.

Consider Your Audience

We live in an increasingly accessible society; anyone can make their own music these days. They don’t need much equipment or talent in some cases. This doesn’t mean that this music is going to appeal to record labels and get them to want to invest in it. Make music that appeals to ordinary music fans; you will always find a fanbase if you do. If you can prove to the industry that you have an established loyal fan base in your city, they are much more likely to take you on. Do not simply make music that you think the labels want to hear; it will immediately feel inauthentic to all who listen.

Play Gigs Often

It can take a couple of years for you to start to see any real return on your music career. Don’t let this discourage you. Take gigs as they are offered regardless of whether you think you deserve more money for them. It is all about putting yourself and your material out there. Play live whenever you get the opportunity, even if that means busking on the streets. Play at local fairs and festivals, offer your services to local functions and reach out to local clubs and open mics. Learn about your local music scene, and as you begin to establish yourself, more people will turn up to your gigs, and the payments will get better.

Know Your Craft

Whether a physical instrument or your voice, your instrument is your craft, and it is vital that you know it inside and out. Whatever level you feel you are at, you can always learn more and do more to recommit yourself. Whether that means trying to learn from what your favourite musicians have done or asking for feedback from trusted sources or even strangers on the internet, it could even be taking lessons. Challenge yourself to go further and to learn more, by doing this, aspiring musicians often find their own sound and increase their chances of standing out.

Protect Your Investments

It may be a little expensive but register your songs with the appropriate copyright office. Any inventor worth their salt files a patent if they think they have something that is going to have mass appeal. Protecting songs should follow the same formula. If you want to develop your career as a musician, then your original music should be deeply important to you. Learn the basics of copyright protection. If you don’t, you run the risk of somebody also profiting off of your hard work.

Know the Industry

Most people research companies when applying for jobs, and the same principles apply to aspiring musicians. Research the industry as a whole to get to grips with common practices and processes, but also take the time to look into record labels that appeal to you individually. Some aspiring musicians are so flattered when approached by a label that they rush in without taking the proper care. What has this label done for your genre? What are they offering? What is their reputation? Who is the big boss? These questions need answering before you consider accepting an offer.

In Conclusion

If you are misinformed, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your talent. Making a living from most creative passions can be a long and arduous process. It may seem like some musicians gain fame and fortune overnight, but often they have put years of work into their careers behind the scenes. Consistency and dedication are the best tools in a musician’s arsenal when drumming up a steady stream of income from their music. Educating yourself both to further your musical abilities and to further your knowledge of standard industry practices is crucial to protect your future.