How to Make a Living as a Musician During an Ongoing Pandemic

Guest Blogger Micah Norris shares insights for working and gigging musicians

Photo Credit: Pexels.com


If you're a professional musician, you've undoubtedly felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis has forced many concerts, music festivals, and entertainment venues to temporarily shut down operations. However, with vaccines being rolled out, hope is on the horizon. Still, it may be some time until you can rely on in-person events and lessons to make a living with your music.


Luckily, there are other ways you can get by. This guide offers some ideas for musicians looking to make ends meet as COVID-19 continues to impact the entertainment industry.


Teach music in a virtual classroom


Teaching is a popular source of income for many musicians. However, social distancing requirements can make it difficult to meet with students. Instead of teaching face-to-face, move your lessons to the virtual classroom and start offering personal courses online for a fee. You can also pre-record general lessons to sell.


Perform online or in socially distanced settings


The internet also offers opportunities for you to perform. You can live stream performances and request donations, for example. There are a few things you'll need for a successful livestream, including a functioning phone and good internet. You might also consider busking in socially distanced settings to make some money. Strings Magazine offers tips for successful outdoor gigs, like selecting a populated spot and bringing an amp.


Get support through your online community


You're likely spending more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and less time at musical events. Make the most of the opportunity. Use this time to grow your online following of fans. Set up social media accounts to promote things like online lessons and live stream performances. You might also consider setting up a Patreon or Memberful account. On these platforms, your followers pay a fee to access exclusive content, like VIP performances.


Create and sell your own merchandise


Your online community may also be interested in merch like caps, t-shirts, and notebooks featuring your brand. The key to success when selling merch is identifying your target audience's wants and creating a fitting design that matches their interests. Once you've got your goods, you can sell them across a variety of ecommerce platforms. According to EcommerceCEO, popular options include BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce.


Consider looking beyond the musical field


Music may be your passion but it doesn't have to be your only revenue source. Consider other means of earning money, focusing on pandemic-proof jobs you can do from home with little to no formal training. Possibilities include transcription, translation, and working as a virtual assistant. These kinds of side hustles will give you financial stability while still leaving you time and energy to focus on your music.


Set up a formal business entity to organize your finances


However you make your money, make sure to document your earnings for tax purposes. Setting up a formal business entity like a limited liability company can help streamline your bookkeeping and tax filing and protect you from litigation. While you can hire an attorney to register your Oregon LLC, using a formation service is a more affordable option.


Dealing with COVID-19 restrictions isn't easy, especially if you're a musician who relies on in-person events to make a living. However, there are other ways to make ends meet until the pandemic subsides. Hopefully, the above guide has provided some ideas.