How I earned thousands of dollars from one song

In the new music business, there are plenty of opportunities for independent musicians to earn money. These opportunities can differ depending on the genre, the subculture, the region, your character, and many more factors.

What worked for me might not work for you.

But what worked for someone else can spark inspiration.

That’s why I’m always telling clients and other musicians to stay open-minded and think unconventional.

Because I did in 2016 and it worked out for me.

I was working as a club DJ in the electronic music underground scene. Also, I had a radio show with a friend where we invited DJ guests. Most of them came from our region (it was a regional show after all). 

Eventually, one guest told us he was working on a remix album and asked us to produce one song for him. We did it in under twelve hours and he was very happy about the result.

At that point, I would’ve never even dreamt of the repercussions of this short music session.

In the next two years, I made over four thousand Euros from this release.

Not from being listed in a playlist.

Not from getting into Beatport or other charts.

Not from selling copies.

Not from streams – it hardly got a thousand plays on Soundcloud.

No, it was different.

I was proud of my first release, even though I thought it could (and should) have been much better and professional and …

But we released it. So I told people about it. With pride.

Whenever I had the chance to play the song in a club or elsewhere, I did.

Maybe a lot of people didn’t like it. I don’t know.

What I know though is that a few people liked the song. And these few reached out to me because they wanted me to play at their event.

Now, here’s what’s interesting:

Out of all the booking requests, most were for private events.

Have you ever heard about an electronic music underground club DJ being asked to play at a wedding? Back then, me neither.

(In my repertoire I had various genres but these people only knew me as the club DJ for underground electronic music.)

However, it was a very intriguing experience, so I agreed.

(And probably rocked my clients’ worlds because they recommended me.)

Why I’m telling you this is because I wanted to show you that anything can happen in the music world.

Don’t make the mistake of having blinders on. Be open to new ways to earn money. Even if it seems weird or impossible at first.

Even though I hope that you’re already taking care of the first two steps, here’s something you can do to find more opportunities.

  1. Create a list with all releases of the last five years
  2. Add the direct sales numbers for sold copies, streaming income, merch, tickets, and everything else that is linkable to a release
  3. Think of any opportunity that accrued from these releases, such as that gig in that old castle or a free mention in a blog
  4. Brainstorm how you can improve your next release based on the revelations
  5. Implement the most promising steps into your next release strategy

What was the most uncommon money-earning experience in your music career so far?

I read and reply to every message.

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