Industry news & advice blog

Insure4Music’s Top 5 Tips on How to Make Money Without Being Signed

This blog is contributed by Insure4Music, a specialist music insurance provider offering policies that have been built with the needs of groups, bands and artists in mind. We’ll keep you playing with our pitch perfect cover, whenever, wherever you perform.


A record deal is traditionally viewed as the gateway to a success. However, this perception is fast becoming a thing of the past.

Today, there are a number of ways musicians and bands can make a reasonable income without being signed to a label. Here are our 5 top tips to earning money while practicing your passion.


1. DIGITAL INCOME
Believe it or not, platforms like iTunes, Spotify and YouTube are simply not sustainable income streams for musicians and bands looking to make their big break. In fact, Spotify is one of the lowest paying streaming platforms, paying just $0.0397 per stream.

This is where crowdfunding platforms like Bandcamp come in. Bandcamp pays 80-85% to the artist every time someone purchases digital music, tickets or merchandise, and last year it paid over $70m to musicians.

There are also membership platforms like Patreon, which helps artists make money by charging a subscription fee to access their content, allowing artists to get paid by their fans.

Singer Ste Williams, told us: “You don’t need a record deal to make money – if anything, you stand to lose money by having a record deal. You can make a decent amount of money recording and promoting songs yourself. “I’m in a band called Takotsubo Men and we publish our music on Bandcamp. It’s easy and straightforward to set up and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s starting out.”

Insure4Music’s Top Tip: Get signed up to Bandcamp!


2. ROYALTIES & LICENSING
If your music plays anywhere, you can make some serious money from it – but there are two things you need to do…

First, register your music with a licensing agency such as PRS For Music and PPL, which pay royalties to artists and writers for the use of their music.

Second, obtain an International Standard Recording Code (ISRC), which ensures that you receive accurate payments quicker.

Another way of receiving royalties is by getting a music synchronisation licence which allows the right to use your music in a visual medium when they’ve contacted you and offered a fee.

Insure4Music’s Top Tip: Register with PRS For Music if your recordings are used anywhere. Register with PPL if you want royalties for playing live.



3. BRANDING & MARKETING
If you don’t have a clear brand to support your music, then your audience can't identify your brand or identify with you.

Creating your brand is not easy, which is why many musicians outsource work to a specialist design agency. There are more cost-effective ways to develop your own branding, through sites such as Vistaprint.

Once you have a clear brand, there are various ways you can market your band. The basics include building a website, getting stickers produced and distributed.

Doing some paid social media activity to promote your band is another great way to build a following and engage with the people you really want to reach. You can target people by age, location, interests – and even native language!

Insure4Music’s Top Tip: Promote your music via paid Facebook ads to get your name out there.


4. LIVE PERFORMANCES
Live performances are the bread and butter way of life as a musician or band. There are a number of ways you can make money from live performances, including merchandise sales, ticket sales, and money from the venue.

In an exclusive interview with Insure4Music about his Agent for Change campaign to save live music venues from closure, MP John Spellar said: “In years gone by musicians made most of their money on records, now they’ll make money on gigs.”

Christina Rotondo, a singer and Insure4Music policyholder who boasts over 50,000 YouTube subscribers, added: “I perform at weddings all over the UK with my friend who plays guitar. We started charging £300 per gig, and we’ve been told multiple times that this is far too low for the work we do so we increased our rates and added petrol expenses on top of the fee, as well (at 45 pence per mile). This is something we make sure we do wherever we play.”

Insure4Music Top Tip: Know how much to charge and take merchandise to sell at live shows.




5. INSURANCE
As a band gigging live, you’ll need Public Liability cover as most venues you gig at won’t allow you to perform without it. Public Liability cover protects you if you injure another person or damage third party property when performing - saving you and the band thousands if someone was to make a claim against you before you’ve even got started.

In addition, Equipment cover will protect your bands instruments and accessories against accidental damage, theft or loss. Whether that’s replacing stolen or broken gear or covering the cost of hiring temporary kit, so you don’t have to miss that wedding, pub or festival gig.

As an Unsigned Band or Artist, Insure4Music are giving you a huge 10% OFF your Music Insurance quote with an Unsigned Guide Exclusive. Insure4Music offer a variety of policy options to suit you and your band, so you can tailor your insurance to exactly what you need and never pay for any unnecessary cover. Check out the policy options to see the variety of cover available for Musicians and Bands just like you and get a quick quote now - you’ll be insured online in minutes.

Gwen Taylor, an Insure4Music policyholder and lead singer of the group Gwen & The Good Thing, said: “We took out Public Liability insurance because without it, we wouldn’t have been able to perform live at Glastonbury, as providing proof of insurance was one of the conditions of performing there. It really opened our eyes how many venues won’t let you play without Public Liability.”

Insure4Music’s Top Tip – Get covered with Specialist Music Insurance from Insure4Music and save a huge 10%!

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