Gig Business

[Free eBook] 23 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

By GigSalad

Guest post by Dave Cool, Director of Artist & Industry Outreach at musician website & marketing platform, Bandzoogle

​Two years ago, Bandzoogle published a blog post called 18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money. But a lot can change in two years, especially in the music industry.

There are now even more opportunities for musicians and bands to make money. New tools and services are also available to help take advantage of these new revenue streams.

So we decided to update that blog post with new revenue streams, more tips, tools and resources, and publish it as a free eBook called “23 Ways Musicians Can Make Money.” ​

Here are 3 of the revenue streams featured in the eBook, which are specifically related to gigging. You can read the rest of the revenue streams by downloading the eBook free!

1. Live shows – original music​

​Money made from live shows can vary, but it’s still one of the best ways to earn income as a musician.

There are also many venues available to you to perform original music. These include traditional music venues, bars, clubs, coffeehouses, colleges & universities, and music festivals.

[Tips for getting festival gigs: How To Get Booked at Music Festivals]​

Performing live is also one of the best ways to sell merch. If you’re going to be playing a lot of live shows, be sure to stock your merch table!

[Want more ideas for how to generate revenue from your live shows? Check out: 14 Ways Musicians Can Make Money From Live Shows]


  • Still one of the top income generators for musicians​
  • Great for selling merch
  • Great way to connect with fans


  • Cost of touring can be prohibitive​
  • Can be difficult to get good bookings early in career
  • Can be challenging to get fans out to your shows

2. Live shows – cover songs

Playing cover gigs is sometimes frowned upon by musicians. But these shows tend to pay well, and allow you to get paid to play your instrument. There’s no shame in that.

There are lots of opportunities to play cover gigs. This includes at bars, restaurants, weddings, corporate events, and other private parties.

[Learn how a Bandzoogle member booked over 50 wedding gigs using his website and Google Adwords.]​


  • ​Generally high-paying
  • No promotion needed
  • Can lead to other private gig bookings


  • Usually can’t perform a lot of original music
  • ​Not great for selling merch

3. Live performance royalties​

​You can also earn royalties from your live performances. When performing original music, PROs will pay royalties to the songwriters for those performances. This includes at bars, restaurants, and any other licensed venues.

This might be the single most underused income stream for musicians. If you perform live, be sure to collect these royalties for your performances.


  • Collecting your rightfully earned royalties!


  • ​Filling out the paperwork for each show is the only downside. But every dollar counts, so take the time to do it!

Download the eBook “23 Ways Musicians Can Make Money”

Dave Cool (yes, that’s his real name) is the Director of Artist & Industry Outreach at Bandzoogle. Built for musicians by musicians, Bandzoogle makes it easy to build a beautiful mobile-friendly website, and sell music, merch & tickets commission-free. Dave is a recovering punk rock drummer, comedy nerd, wine snob, and loves to connect on Twitter. Follow him at @dave_cool.

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