Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
How to Make Money on YouTube As a Musician
The current pandemic has created a real challenge for musicians who typically do their work in the company of other people. With the introduction of social distancing, paid gigs that require close contact, such as concerts, touring, and private instruction, are being reimagined right before our eyes.
However, with a bit of creativity, you can still make money from your musical pursuits. As people head indoors to keep themselves safe, you can meet them right where they are by taking your talents to online platforms, such as YouTube. Many great musicians have already made the transition, so monetizing your passion and expertise is completely doable.
Channels like Hack Music Theory, GuitarJamz, and Drumeo, are great examples of this, and they use more than revenue from AdSense to generate income.
These musicians are doing something that’s incredibly important when you want to make money online, which is providing something of value, i.e. free, informative content, to convert casual viewers into paid customers. Best of all, they’re using their musical knowledge to quickly capitalize on the opportunity.
The First Step for Musicians: Learning How YouTube Works
To reap the benefits of having a YouTube channel, you have to learn how to succeed at content creation. You have to determine what your strategy will be, as well as understand what types of musical content viewers are searching for. These are the first steps to creating a profitable channel that truly stands out.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll need a network of YouTube experts to seek advice from. Luckily, the vidIQ YouTube channel is an excellent resource for learning the basics: including 'How to Get Your First 1,000 Subscribers', and 'How to Get 4000 Hours Watchtime On YouTube'. Both of which you'll need to do before you can start monetizing any of your content on the platform.
Beyond those basic steps, there’s one extra way to ensure your success on YouTube, and that’s signing up for the vidIQ Academy. This learning resources is filled with valuable courses, and each one will teach you how to build and grow a successful YouTube channel.
How To Make Money by Sharing Your Musical Expertise On YouTube
When you’re ready to start recording videos, consider this: The best music channels provide useful information to curious viewers.
They’re not uploading random covers, performances, and jam sessions - at least not exclusively.
Instead, the best channels answer questions viewers are already searching for, such as “how to play any song by ear” or “Fender vs. Squier guitar.”
If you’re passionate about product reviews/comparisons, tutorials, or teaching in general, then you have a way to potentially make money on YouTube. As a matter of fact, many musicians were doing just that before social distancing became the norm.
Scott’s Bass Lessons: Using YouTube To Promote Music Courses
Since 2006, Scott Devine has been teaching viewers how to play the bass guitar on YouTube. His channel, Scott’s Bass Lessons, has a whopping 794K subscribers and over 100M views, and he generated those numbers by being one of the best music experts on the platform. This incredible tutorial about '6 Common Mistakes Made by Bass Players and How to Avoid Them' has garnered just under 2 million views to date:
So, what can you learn from Scott about making money from YouTube?
Besides uploading great videos, Scott’s secret weapon is his integrated branding. He has a bass guitar course on his website, but his YouTube channel goes a long way in promoting it.
At the end of his videos, Scott usually draws attention to the course, right after sharing the most impactful music advice you’ll hear that day. He tells viewers about any special offers he might have, whether that’s a free trial for his bass course or a free bass toolkit.
When you create your channel, think of the ways YouTube can help you build an ecosystem of money-making streams. Could it help you advertise a course, just as Scott’s has done?
HouseofJaz: Using YouTube To Promote Paid Tutorials
Houseofjaz uses a nifty strategy to generate income. In addition to running paid ads, this channel of 27.9k subscribers posts paid piano tutorials at the request of viewers.
In the description of every video, Houseofjaz clearly defines the rules for posting exclusive content. There’s a donation fee of at least $20 for tutorial requests, and for those who need chord sheets, there’s a donation fee of at least $3. Here's an example of one of their tutorial videos:
Of course, that’s this channel’s pricing system, but you can set your own rate depending on your experience level, time spent working, and desired cost per hour.
Many budding musicians simply want to know how to play their favorite songs, so why not be their virtual instructor? As long as you have an email address and a money sending or receiving app (CashApp, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle), you can make this happen. If you’d prefer to host live instruction sessions over Zoom or Google Hangouts, that’s an option as well.
Bonus: You Can Monetize Your Songs On YouTube
Did you know that there’s a difference between monetizings songs and monetizing videos on YouTube? To monetize a video, a channel needs at least 4,000 hours of Watch Time and at least 1,000 subscribers.
But what about music? How do the musicians who create songs for vlogs, tutorials, and more get paid?
In a nutshell, you have the option of allowing YouTube to place ads on videos that feature your music.
A lot of artists use CD Baby, an online distributor of independent music, to get this done. The company acts as a sort of middleman, using content identification technology to track down an artist's music across the web, whether that’s on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. You can find out more information from this vide:
If you produce a lot of music at home, this is an easy way to make money in your sleep. In 2018, CD Baby artists earned over $100M.
Monetizing Your Music Beyond YouTube
Creating a YouTube channel opens the doors to several streams of income, but its not the only way. However, it can help you build a loyal audience that will follow you as you explore other online ventures, such as:
- Starting a music instruction site to promote your services
- Generating course sign-ups
- Selling your music on Bandcamp, iTunes, or Amazon
- Hosting virtual concerts on Zoom, Google Hangouts and other platforms
- Hosting private lessons on Zoom, Google Hangouts and other platforms
As a musician, you have plenty of ways to make money online, and not just with YouTube. However, it’s the one of the best sites for building an authoritative, socially-distant music career.
Want More Insights Into YouTube?
If you want more insights into YouTube then make sure to download vidIQ. Over 1 million creators use vidIQ to help with keyword and competitor research, channel audits, and so much more. Click here to install now for free!