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Shane Ivers
Shane Ivers

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How to monetize music art skills

Let's take a closer look at the main channels for monetizing the artist. The list is quite large, but not exhaustive:

1. Digital distribution

It's mostly streaming. Now there are a lot of small labels that are purely engaged in digital distribution and nothing else. That is, they don't provide any additional services. They upload music to the site and request support for the release in facebook, Spotify, wherever music is distributed. And for some reason, a lot of labels put up release support as an advantage. "We're not just going to take a percentage from you, we're going to do a little bit of work, too." That's kind of wrong. And instead of such labels, artists often choose services through which they can distribute their music themselves.

At the start, if it's a nonnome artist from scratch, and he doesn't have any base, it will of course be difficult to make money on streaming services. And no aggregator will give you the exact cost of listening. Only statistics on auditions once a quarter.

Much depends on how many paid and free listens, how many times you listen to a track, how many repeat listens, how many advertisers there were in free listens. The length of the track is also important. There's a perception that a radio format around three minutes isn't really going into a streaming platform anymore. The track should be no longer than two minutes or even a minute. It's more likely to be listened to more than once.

The more auditions, the more mentions, the more interest in the artist, the more money you can make.


That is, to earn a million dollars, you need about 200 million listens on all platforms at a major label, or 300 million total listens at a regular label for three months in a row.

But these are very approximate figures, they are given as an example. Everyone has their own agreements with the platforms.

Each streaming platform has its own payout rates, its own mathematics. YouTube and Apple probably pay the most. YouTube also has a sync: if someone uses a track, the royalties go to the copyright free music holder. Next in terms of royalties is Spotify, then soundcloud and facebook. Ticktock pays for the use of your sound by other users.

And don't forget that not everything from the million you earn will reach the artist. Each platform takes a bite out of it. The aggregator takes a piece of it. Sends the money to the label. Then the label takes its percentage and sends the rest to the artist on the IP. The IRS took their percentage from that money. At the stage "platform - aggregator" there is also a currency conversion, where the money is also lost.

Can you imagine this chain? The artist gets twenty percent of the total amount. There are a lot of people and a lot of intermediaries, and you can't do without them. Everyone has his own value.

2. Advertising integrations

This is a completely different channel of monetization, where even the indicators are counted differently. For example, the advertising client doesn't care at all how popular the artist is, they count the reach. In other words, a thousand views is worth that much money.

For some reason, artists often have a publication fee close to the amount of their performance fee. Many of them even quote inadequate prices. And here it is important to hear others, those people who want to buy your advertising. Understand pricing in this market. I have about a hundred artists on sale right now for advertising on Instagram and not a very large number of bloggers in parallel. So bloggers are being bought more often. Because they understand the market.

If you overcharge a brand, then it will simply drain that money into targeting ads and make the same coverage for itself. And you're no longer in demand. Here you have to clearly understand that your vanity will not work in this story.

From what metrics can an artist become interesting to advertisers?
It used to be the number of subscribers, the number of likes. Now it's more the reach of the post. If an artist has good coverage and an understandable audience, then he can already enter the market and try to promote something. It's a nice bonus to royalties, but you shouldn't turn it into the main income. It doesn't make sense to charge large publication fees, and you shouldn't overload your account with advertising, either. Advertising integration in your account should look organic.

Spot advertising is bad because it's too polished, posts. You read about the artist, his life... And suddenly the heavens parted and hemorrhoid gel started falling on us. Realistically, artists sometimes advertise products like it's something unreal and magical. Understandably, the brand manager pressed on: "I don't think you've praised us enough." And you get a commercial, nasty, and cloying text that ends up selling like crap. And the artist begins to reek of a kind of betrayal.

Spot advertising is a bad way to go, some kind of endless re-shoeing. There's not enough money out there to ruin your reputation like that. Such actions can bring money now and lost profits in the future. Reputation is always more expensive.

I think the best option is ambassadorship contracts, when the artist is the face of a brand.

It's a product that the person actually uses himself. He may not get as much money from an annual contract (maybe there will even be some barter story), but he doesn't look like a clown in the eyes of his subscribers and gets a new loyal audience. This is why ambassadorship contracts are a good thing. Subscribers are very loyal to such advertising. And for an artist, it seems to me, this way is the most successful.

3. Sync by

This is the sale of music in movies, games, TV series, videos, commercials. There's already a normal price tag. And here's the beauty of it: you don't have to be famous to do it.

When I entered the American market with the catalog, I mistakenly assumed that it had to be popular artists. But it turned out that it was the music that was being sought out in the first place. It has to fit a particular scene in a film or TV series, a mood in a game. And whether it's a popular artist or an unknown one is not so important.

The people who select the music for the film are well aware of what they need and proceed from the overall budget for the project. Popularity is not important here. Sometimes it's the other way around. It happens that a popular artist demands a huge fee for his track, and in the end his song isn't taken at all because his price tag doesn't fit the project budget. Even if the song fits perfectly, it can be easily replaced by a similar song in style and mood from some no-name. Many sound designers don't want to bother with famous, popular artists. It's easier for them to hire someone to write original music or offer a ready-made composition.

4. Artists' participation in the filming of TV series, movies, talk shows

It's more of an actor's job, a kind of performance. For example, an artist comes to some program, puts on a show there on prearranged terms or completely improvised. He can give an interview if there is a demand for it. Get involved in any kind of communication, any kind of movement. But be kind enough to pay for it, because the artist has spent his time.

Also, keep in mind that for many popular artists, it was participation in shows, entertainment programs, and musical television projects that was the main impetus to fame.

If you are original and bright, you have a unique style and image, enough courage and even impudence - the audience will love you.

5. Selling the rights to use the artist's image

This is quite a rare case. For example, when not the artist himself is filmed, but a professional actor plays that artist, using his name and image. Modern technology makes it possible to use an image of an artist created entirely with the help of three-dimensional graphics. This is sometimes done in advertising. But even to show a three-dimensional copy of the artist, you have to buy the rights to it, that is.

So if you want to make money from your own image, then pump it up so that it works separately from you.

For example, Morgenstern's facial tattoos are also an image. He can patent it and then use it anywhere, even in cartoons. Images are certain units of monetization, and it is possible to work with them. Dzhigurda, for example, is a huge character with long hair and a unique voice. Maybe not much in demand, but recognizable.

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