Our Side Hustles Breakdown
We recommend music licensing as a side hustle for artists and producers. Tap into a market hungry for fresh sounds and earn royalties. Key concern: Navigate contracts and rights carefully.
- Competition: The industry can be saturated.
- Contractual Nuances: Licensing deals can be complex.
- No Guaranteed Success: Some tracks may not get licensed.
- Residual Income: Earn royalties over time.
- Exposure: Get your music in various media forms.
- Creative Outlet: Turn passion into profit.
Do you have a passion for music and you want to turn it into a profitable side hustle? We’ve got you covered!
This guide will walk you through the music licensing gig and whether it’s the right side hustle for you.
An Overview of Licensing Music: A Primer
Licensing music is a highly underrated side gig for musicians. It can be a great way to earn extra income and spread your music to a wider audience.
In this gig, you simply create new music and submit your work to licensing platforms. After that, you grant permission for other entities to use your music in commercial or non-commercial projects in exchange for royalty fees.
It can be a relatively passive way to make money, as once your music is licensed, you’ll keep getting paid as long as it’s used, even if you’re not actively working on that piece.
How Much Can Licensing Music Earn You?
Many side gigs out there have clear profitability records, making it easy to predict their potential profitability. However, it’s quite challenging to put a number on how much you can earn through music licensing and royalty collection.
This is because there’s a wide range of factors that can affect your earning potential from such a side hustle.
For instance, some music genres require more effort during recording and mastering, so their royalty fees are usually higher.
Additionally, the type of media outlet that uses your music can also affect your licensing fees. For example, licensing music for major intellectual properties like TV shows and video games is more expensive than for websites and YouTube videos.
Lastly, your popularity as a music producer can also affect your potential earnings moving forward.
As such, you can expect to earn anywhere between $50 to $1,000 or more in license fees per month (for every library).
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Licensing Music Side Hustle?
Like profitability, the costs of starting a music licensing side hustle depend on aspects like your potential earning goals and level of professionalism.
The primary expense to consider here is music production and mastering. This includes the tools and the studio, which typically start from as little as $200. At first, you might need to record at independent professional studios, which cost extra fees.
If you’re using a music licensing platform, you should also consider the subscription fees for their services. These can vary depending on the platform and the size of your catalog.
Some musicians might also consider marketing and promoting their music to get it out there, which comes with extra expenses.
The tricky part here is to balance your licensing fees while staying profitable. This can be challenging if you’re just starting your side hustle.
Where Can You Find Licensing Music Gigs?
If you’re interested in following your passion and licensing music as a side hustle, here’s where you can find gigs.
Where to Independently Find Licensing Music Gigs
Finding licensing music gigs independently can be quite challenging, especially for a beginner. This is because new music licensers rarely have the exposure necessary to reach a wide audience.
However, if you’re confident enough about your music production quality, you can still do it by reaching out to music outlets, production companies, and businesses directly.
Alternatively, if you have the budget, you can organize a pitch event where you use your licensed music as a pitch material.
Gig Economy Companies That Offer Licensing Music Gigs
The alternative and most common path for collecting royalty payments is through licensing platforms and companies.
These are large libraries where you can submit your work for royalty and copyright fees every time someone uses them. The most popular platforms in this industry include:
Why You Should Consider Licensing Music As a Side Hustle
Music licensing is a remarkable side hustle with plenty of great advantages to consider. Here are some of them:
- Passive Income Stream: Music licensing is one of the best recurring revenue business ideas. This means that you’ll keep earning money long after doing the initial work.
- Great Exposure: If you have a serious musical talent, licensing your music can get you the right exposure to a music publisher or a record label, taking your career to the next level.
- High Earning Potential: By licensing your music in several music libraries, you can boost your earning potential significantly, especially as your work becomes popular.
Problems With Licensing Music As a Side Hustle
Despite its perks, music licensing is not for everyone. Here are some of the common drawbacks of this side hustle:
- Takes a Lot of Initial Time and Effort: Making and licensing professional music requires innovation and talent. It also needs dedication to your work, which is inconvenient if you already have a primary job.
- Highly Competitive Environment: Your music won’t only compete with tons of licensed music pieces and samples in libraries out there, but also with copyright-free music.
- Expansion Requires Extra Investment: If you break into this business, you’ll typically need to invest your initial earnings to improve your instruments and home studio.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a Song Licensed?
The licensing process for a song varies depending on the library it’s available in and the copyright holder.
The most common form is by directly contacting the owner and agreeing on terms and fees to use the music. However, music libraries might make the process a lot smoother for both sides.
Is a Copyright Free?
While this might vary from one place to another, copyrighting your music is typically free of charge. In fact, you obtain your copyrights automatically after creating your music and publishing it in music libraries under your name.