The question how do musicians make money is difficult to answer since how much a musician makes depends on several factors such as branding, type of music, the artists’ management team, type of listeners and the list is endless.
A classic example is the comparison between Adele and Katy Perry.
Whereas Adele’s song Hello received airplay from major radio stations globally, and even got renditions from all leading musicians globally, Ketty Perry still remained the top paid artist in 2015.
Thus, how does she do it?
Taking a world tour is one of the best ways artists can make money.
This is why all major artists line up at least one world tour every year particularly after launching an album or releasing a new song.
People still buy concerts tickets particularly for celebrated artists and since the tour usually involves several stops, the artists can make enough to cover the expenses for the tour and save a reasonable amount.
This is a major source of revenue for artists whose music appeals to young adults and teenagers.
This is a group struggling with identity issues and being associated with a famous rock band is a source of pride to them.
Further, this group has money, mainly an allowance from their parents and has little or no expenses to pay for. One direction, one of the leading rock bands made a bulk of its revenue selling branded T-shirts and hats in 2015.
Licensing on a movie or TV
Although most artists don’t make money from selling records anymore, a substantial number still makes money through royalties by licensing their music to TV, radio or a movie.
The potential earnings from this source range from $250,000 to $600,000 depending on some factors.
Celine Dion’s song titled My Heart Will Go On’ is a classical example of this, soon after being licensed on the movie, the sales rose to over 2 million with undisclosed millions of dollars paid to her in royalties by Titanic producers.
In this era of free downloads, it is easy to think that artists don’t make money through digital platforms.
I-tunes, You Tube and Shopify are great platforms that have enabled artists make millions.
These platforms pay artists depending on the number of views, subscription or how many times their music is listened to. Apart from paying for subscription, YouTube pays artists for advertisements thus generating an extra stream of income.
Having a fashion line can earn artists some good money, sometimes even more than what they make from music.
Jessica Simpson’s line which includes hats, jeggings and other products earns her between 750 million and a billion dollars annually.
Justin Bieber is another great artist making millions through his fashion line including perfume which made 3 million dollars within the first three weeks after being launched.
Fashion line seems to be the in thing in the world of celebrities as more artists are either launching or planning to launch a fashion line including controversial Kanye West.
Thus, although traditional sources of revenue like selling records are shrinking, artists are finding new and innovative ways to make money.
Hence, the question how do musicians make money does not have one simple answer but rather depends on how aggressive and creative an artist’s is in identifying revenue sources.