In response to COVID-19, and even now after we’ve made it through the thick of it, many services have stepped in to help musicians make money by monetizing music live streams. Here is a rundown of some tools you can start using across social channels to make money with live streams.
Tips And Donations Are Great But Selling Merch, Bundles & VIP Experiences = Better!
Only relying on Tips is not the best way to generate revenue. A live stream is a great time to alert your viewers that there are more options. The key here is mentioning that you have other offers available during your stream.
No Tips? Build Your List!
If they don’t tip or if you feel weird about asking them to buy a bundle that’s okay! Use your valuable time to encourage them to join your email list. This allows you to make money in the future when the world is not in a financial crunch. Here is our post on how to build a massive email list.
Contribute Some or All To Charities
There are so many amazing charities that help musicians specifically such as Sweet Relief, MusiCares or Help Musicians. There are also many that are feeding kids or families in need. You can contribute some of your earnings and this may feel better when you ask for contributions for yourself.
Here’s the rundown of tools you are probably already using and how to optimize them for monetizing music live streams.
IG is the musician’s favorite platform and I bet you use IG Live. Instagram doesn’t offer a tool for accepting payments for monetizing music live streams so you’ll have to get clever.
Make That Link Count
Update your link in your Instagram bio to include a link to where fans can donate / pledge / tip you. We love 2 tools for this:
- Linktr.ee – add all of your payment links, highlight your other socials, invite email sign ups and even add a video. Here is how Bob Schneider Uses It:
- Lnk.bio – gives you a clean white page where you can type anything you want – this is how Eli Lev’s looks:
Ask For A Contribution Old School Style
During his IG Live stream this week Eli Lev panned over to where fans could find him online and tip using a good ol’ whiteboard to make money!
Here is a great blog post from Social Media Examiner that gives great tips on how to improve your IG Lives for you fans.
Cyber PR Artist family member Rich G. Aveo and his wife Cat London have been crushing the game of monetizing music live streams. He consistently streams every night at 5:30 PM and they take requests piano bar style. He has branded the series the Pandemic Piano Show and he skinned the live stream video to highlight the tip jar for. He cross posts on YouTube so his fans there can see it there as well and he has a VIP offer where they will record a custom Happy Birthday message for $20.
I asked Rich how he did it and here is what he shared:
“My stream is pretty standard. I use this freeware app called “OBS” to produce the stream. And a multicast system called “Castr” to multicast it to YouTube and Facebook. The learning curve might be a little steep at first, but once you learn the ins and outs (I’m still quite the beginner at it, and learned everything on YouTube), it’s pretty simple to navigate. Of course, using some decent lighting, and sound gear doesn’t hurt. for the ads…I created the banner graphic myself, and within OBS I can cue up when the banner comes up, etc….as it’s a production suite where you can switch scenes, etc…it’s definitely doing a little something!
Bandzoogle – Sell Tickets to Your Live Streams
If you are a Bandzoogle member you can sell tickets commission-free through your website during the pandemic in order to start monetizing music live streams. The added functionality for virtual and streaming ticketing allows you to include a live stream link and password. This will be sent automatically to your fans once they purchase a ticket. Bandzoogle is offering this commission-free, and payments go directly to you.
SoundCloud – Direct Support Links
SoundCloud has recently added new direct support links so fans can help you now that your tours and gigs and sessions may be cancelled. Direct support links create a “Support Artist” highlight box on your SoundCloud profile which allows fans to pay you or donate to your crowdfunding campaign. Why is this a great way to make money? Because SoundCloud is not taking a fee for this service and you can connect to Paypal, Shopify, Patreon, Bandcamp, Cash.App, Kickstarter, or GoFundMe.
Stage.It has been hosting digital concerts for years. The viewer can either purchase a ticket, or “hitch a ride” – this will let other ticket-buyers know that you’re searching for a ticket and if you’re lucky maybe someone will buy one for you. Chris Daughtry has taken advantage of this platform and he created a fan request concert.
Bandcamp – Sell Bundles!
One great incentive you can put together for your fans is a BUNDLE of goodies that you can plug during live streams. Bandcamp allows you to put together all of the music you’ve ever released, plus offer monthly features like special releases and discounts on merch. You can have your fans pay a one time fee or pay by the month.
Bandcamp waived their revenue share for 24 hours on March 20th to help artists keep 100% of the money that they could generate. Fans loved the idea and purchased $4.3 million worth of music and merch.
Spotify – Artist Fundraising Pick
Spotify has launched a version of their ‘Artist Pick’ feature called, ‘Artist Fundraising Pick’, which allows you to pin a payment destination your fans can tip you.
Spotify for Artists admin users can select Get started on the banner at the top of their dashboard to submit their Fundraising Pick. You’ll be directed to a page where you can input your $cashtag, PayPal.me, or GoFundMe link. Artists who use Cash App have a possibility of getting an extra $100 after their first donation – so if you don’t have a Cash App account, sign up now! (It’s Free)
Venmo QR Codes
Venmo’s in-app QR codes, which are automatically generated when you make an account, are an easy way to let your fans know where they can tip you.
You can even add these into your live stream by using OBS Studio to create an overlay template.
PayPal.Me QR Codes
Not everyone uses Venmo. It’s important to give your fans multiple places that they can contribute to you. We recommend PayPal’s in-app QR code that goes directly to your PayPal.Me link. If you haven’t made a PayPal.Me link yet, click here. To access your QR code, open the PayPal app. Then, click the “More” icon on the bottom right. Click “Get paid with QR codes” and your QR code will pop up. Save it to your camera roll and start sharing!
Patreon offers your fans ownership of the project and makes them feel more connected to you. It also builds a community that you can form deep bonds with and gives you something that will bring you ongoing income to ask for during live streams.
More than 30,000 creators (of all types not just musicians) launched in the first 3 weeks of March 2020 alone, and these new creators are acquiring patrons faster than usual.
You will need to educate your fans on what it is and how to use it. Cloud Cult did a fantastic job when they announced their Patreon and their lowest tier is $3 a month – see here:
Building your email list is crucial – you can add this to your welcome series or make sure you remind subscribers after a set amount of time on your list. For more on how to structure ask emails read this.
It’s scary right now, both emotionally and financially. We’re sending you all of our support, and sincerely hope you take advantage of the tools here that resonate to help get you through this unprecedented time. It’s likely that your fans will want to contribute, we hope that we’ve helped you discover new ways to ask them for their support.
Now that you have your Live Streaming monetization plan here is a checksheet so you can get on with marketing and promotion click here or below to download it!