To increase your music income you must first increase your active fanbase

This is the golden rule that, in my opinion, isn’t talked about near enough. There is no magic bullet to making money off your music. The reality is hard work but it is simple — increase your existing fanbase.

 While not rocket science, mastering the three fundamental principles that lead to financial success does demand dedication and strategic planning. Unlike products addressing tangible needs, music appeals to emotions and experiences. That means it requires something a little different; a tailored strategy that keeps your fans front of mine. Ready to find out how to do that?

The Three Ways to Increase Your Music Income:

1. Increase your number of fans (fanbase).

Here is how you can do this: Get serious about your newsletter.

I know, I know, you’ve heard me say this a million times. But that’s because it’s true!!

On socials, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole frantically searching for new fans, trying to keep up with the never-ending social media popularity came. The problem is, you may be forgetting the ones you already have. Also, there are much easier ways to find and maintain a fanbase outside of just Instagram and TikTok!

Studies have proven that it is much harder to make a new client and get them to purchase something than it is to get a client who already knows and trusts you to purchase from you over and over. This is true of fans as well. Focus on the fans you have, and let them be your biggest spokesperson.

The #1 way to get fans to engage and increase your music income is still with your email list

You need to be consistent in sending and have a reason for fans to open every one.

Use Mail Chimp or Constant Contact

You must be able to track open rates and customize and train yourself to send your newsletter at least once per month. Train your audience to expect them on a certain day and time of month. Consistency is the most important thing here, so if you can only commit to once per month for now, that’s ok. Just remember to stay on top of it. 

Just as you wouldn’t leave your bff on read for a month, you don’t want to do that to your fans either.

Always Be List Building

Take time every month to add new email addresses to your list. There are a ton of ways you can do this, which I go over here. A few include sign-ups at shows, running contests in exchange for email addresses, and building community both online and offline. 

Send DMs to Your Most Engaged Fans on Socials

Start by identifying your most active followers—those who regularly like, comment, and share your content. These fans are likely to appreciate the personal touch of a direct message. When you reach out, be sure your message is personalized and shows how much you appreciate their support. If you can, specify what it is you appreciate. For instance, do they always comment first? Do they show up to all your shows?  You can also use DMs to share exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes glimpses, unreleased tracks, or early access to upcoming projects.

Building genuine relationships with your fans will lead to higher engagement, word-of-mouth promotion, and ultimately, a more devoted fanbase. Plus, it’s a great tool for gaining valuable insights into your fans’ minds

If you need to whip your socials into shape I have a process to help.

Invest in Clipboards & Promote From Stage

It’s so old school but it works – pass a clipboard around the venue asking people for their social media as well as their email addresses.

Invite people onto your mailing list with a raffle or giveaway from the stage, and collect e-mail addresses that way. You can also use something like KingSumo to run digital contests.

During your performance, hold up a merch item on stage and then give it away: you’ve just inserted a full commercial into your set without feeling “salesy” and you’ve excited one of your fans by giving them a gift.

Or get a cheap phone and ask fans to text you their email straight from the stage!

Study Newsletters And How To Best Utilize Them

There’s no better way to get a feel for how something works well (or doesn’t) than by studying others who have done it before you. Sign up for a few newsletters and you’ll soon get a feel for how they work and what you’re naturally drawn towards.

Incorporate the things you feel connected to and ditch the things you don’t.

Here is a full article on best practices that expands on this – I touch on subject lines and CTAs (calls to action).

And here is a newsletter how-to video, with a downloadable action sheet if you are into this kind of thing!

You can also pick one of our freebies and sign up for the CyberPR newsletter for more tips + a great case study!

2. Increase the frequency of purchase (how often your fans buy from you) to gain music income.

To do this, you’d better have more than just music to sell!

Ask yourself: what can I offer your fans on an ongoing basis that will get them to buy?

First, you have to have real fans that have proven they want to buy. Then, you can try one of these ideas.

Have A Strong Presale Strategy 

Watch this video with my dear friend Michael Shoup of 12 South Music all about how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign:


Monthly Fan Club – Use

Volume has made it super easy to build a fan club on their platform, and monetize it. All you have to do is sign up for a Volume account and from there you can set up a Fan Club account and start earning money through that and your live streams!

Special Events – Build Some

Create a fan club that hosts periodic special events a year. Not all of them have to be you performing. In fact, you can use this as an opportunity to build your ties with the community.

Invite other artists both in and outside music.  Have a wine tasting, a bowling night, a dessert party, or a pub crawl. Get creative and recruit local businesses by holding these events on a slow night, like a Monday, or during a down month for the business.

Artist Critique and Feedback

Invite your biggest fans to come to hear the songs that you’ve written for a new album or EP release. If your fans don’t all live near your hometown you can do this on a live streaming site or IG or Facebook Live! It’s a great way to show them how much you appreciate them while giving a once in a lifetime experience.

Play the tracks and let them contribute their opinions. This makes your fans feel extra included because they can help you choose what will make it onto your new record. Downupright did this with their Kickstarter backed album, where fans got the opportunity to hand-pick the songs included on the album, and it made for a rewarding experience for the fans, who got to be part of it.

Private Gigs

Private gigs are one of the most lucrative ways to make money as a performing musician. It can be small and local like a dinner party or backyard BBQ or it can be an event hosted by a non-profit, a company retreat or party, you name it. I’ve worked with artists who have made upwards of a thousand dollars on private gigs like this.

Don’t forget to mention in your newsletter that you’re available for private gigs. You never know what the fact that you are available to play private gigs in the newsletter. Your fans may bite – but you have to make the offer!

An Event for Each Season

How about a concert for each season? This would be a great way to get fans to pay four times a year. Hold a quarterly concert with a theme, such as Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Summer Solstice, April Fools, or Winter Wonderland.

3. Invest In A Long-Term Musician’s Marketing Plan based on music income.

Before you go straight to hiring a radio promoter, a Spotify playlisting company, or a publicist – STOP! 

Ask yourself what your objectives and goals are!  Most of the time just getting PR won’t add money to the bottom line!

I am always amazed that artists will spend years preparing a release and then spend almost zero time planning for how to properly roll it out according to what is working in today’s wild west of the music business.

To create momentum,  this you need a Long-Term Strategy that focuses on money – Is it playing more gigs, licensing to film and TV, or creating better merch that sells for you?  Without a plan in place for how to increase your income you won’t.

I deeply suggest you work with someone who knows how to build a plan or take some real time to get clear on how you are going to build and make sure you allocate serious time for each part.

We have identified 15 steps to prepare to release new music in our Musician’s Marketing Plan series – Here they are:

15-Step Musician’s Marketing Plan Guide

The First 5: Ramping Up For Release

Put these 5 into place before any official announcements about a new album, EP, or even a single

1. Distribution – choose the right distributor
2. Website – modern and functional and easily updatable
3. Social Media – well branded and primed for building news
4. Newsletter – platform selected and new contacts added
5. Single (s) Selection – choose the strongest singles and plan out how each one will be released before a full EP/album.

The Second 5 Elements: Ordering the Chaos

The next 5 elements are all about organizing so you will be in action and not in reaction mode

1. Timeline – plan some milestones before the release date and follow through – make sure you focus on music income while planning.
2. Release – make sure the release day is as effective as it can be
3. Social Media – content strategy and calendar planned out
4. Press & Promotion – PR targets and social media tastemakers identified
5. Shows – release show or special listening party event planned

The Constant 5: The Ongoing Work!

And finally, the work transforms into supplying consistent compelling content to strengthen relationships with fans and potential fans.

1. Releasing New Music – keep fans engaged with what they originally came for
2. Live Shows ­- hit the road or get in front of your audience without leaving the comfort of your own home
3. Ongoing Social Media – keep your channels exciting and fans interacting
4. Merchandise ­- plan what merch to get, how much, and when
5. Making Money – Newsletter, film & TV placements, continuation programs, VIP experiences, and crowdfunding are all fabulous options

Want some help with organizing your Long-term marketing perspective while keeping music income at the forefront?  Come download this fabulous checksheet to help you get organized:

Or watch my presentation at the Sync Up Workshop in New Orleans, ‘Making the Most of Your Record Release.’

artist income


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