- 13 Jul 07
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This fortnight, Oliver Twoomey from Longford writes: My son is considering going into music full time. I was wondering what are the main ways in which he can make money that will help to sustain a long-term career for him?
A – Well Oliver, there are several ways in which musicians can earn income, but there are probably five main ways:
1. Live gigs. This is where most musicians start, maybe busking, or doing a gig for the school, community centre, local pub or friends’ parties.
2. Record sales. This breaks down into two separate areas. Firstly, the artist makes recordings him/herself and sell them through downloads or physical copies via websites, gigs, and the record retail trade. The other route is to sign a deal with a record label and generate income via an advance and royalties.
3. Songwriting. Artists who also record their own songs have a major advantage in that not only are their songs a major source of income from record sales, radio, film, commercials and TV plays, public use and cover versions, but they can earn the writer money when their recording/gigging career has waned.
4. Merchandise. Virtually every act nowadays sells their own records at gigs and through their website, but others develop smart items which can also sell, as well as being virtual ads for the act. These can include T-shirts, hats, badges, stickers etc.
5. Sponsorship. This rarely kicks in until an act has built a name that carries weght with the public, but major corporations such as Coca Cola, Visa etc. pay vast sums of loot to associate their products with major acts, as with, for instance, the case of Pepsi paying lots of lolly for Michael Jackson to endorse their product (until that no longer seemed like a wise association).
There are several other ways of generating income, like grants from arts councils or local county councils, or giving instrument lessons, or winning band/song competitions. Some musicians, believe it or not, have been known to earn a bob or two from writing about it!