This isn’t another season of American Idol—getting your big break as a musician takes much more time and effort outside of the music itself. You need to be able to use the internet to your advantage in order to publish content, build a loyal following of fans, and of course, to make money—but we never said it was going to be easy.

In the previous blog post, the Nashville music production professionals at Nashville Demo Factory took a look at some general tips for how to make money with your music. In this blog, we’re going to get into the specifics of ways you can make money off of your original musical works through YouTube in particular. By publishing video and audio content to the world’s second largest search engine, you can increase your exposure and sustain yourself as a living, breathing, and working musician!  

Make Money on YouTube

YouTube isn’t just a place where people go to watch their favorite puppy videos—it’s an excellent place for musicians to put their music on the map and make money based on the amount of traffic (and advertising) their videos receive. Before you whip out the old video camera, let’s take a look at the first logistical steps to take in order for you to monetize your YouTube channel.

Step 1: Join the YouTube Partner Program

You can’t make money off of your videos until you join the YouTube Partner Program—but you can’t make money through the YouTube Partner Program until you have published videos and a semi-steady viewership. Confused? Don’t be! Before you can apply to join the YouTube Partner Program, your channel must have 10,000 lifetime views—so make a series of videos showcasing your music, and get as many friends, family members, coworkers and classmates to give it a watch.

Once you make it to 10,000 views, your application for the Program will be reviewed—and if you make it in, you’ll be able to use different ad formats to monetize your videos. At that point, the possibilities are endless—the bigger you build your audience, the more ads will be viewed, and the more money you’ll make. Now all you have to do is build that audience—but how will you make that happen?

Step 2: Create Engaging & Beautiful Content

The only way people will view your channel is if you give them good reason to view it—that’s why creating high-quality content is crucial for your financial success as a musician. Great content has a lot to do with your quality and talent as a musician, but it also has a lot to do with production value—after all, nobody wants to watch a video with grainy, cheap-looking visuals and buzzy audio. If your music and your artistic brand are going to thrive in the digital world, you’ll need to buy some solid audio and video gear and learn how to use it. This will make your entire setup seem much more professional—and once you figure out all the technical details with cameras and mics, you’ll be able to focus on what matters the most: your music.

Step 3: Publish Your Videos Everywhere

Publishing a video to YouTube and hoping people view it is too timid of an approach for an aspiring musician like yourself. There are 908679720358203 platforms where you can publish your YouTube videos: on your personal website, on your social media channels, and on your blog (another great idea for up-and comers in the music world), to name a few. The more places you post your video, the more eyes that will see it, and the more money that will end up in your bank account—so be sure to publish in lots of locations and publish often. Fresh content always gets more views, so make new videos frequently to increase your income and build your audience!

That’s it for Part 2 of our series on how to make money as a musician! Stick around for Part 3, and check out our other blog posts in the meantime!