Indie Know-How

3 Innovative Revenue Streams for Indie Musicians


Many indie musicians have not been able to live on album sales and streaming alone and are looking for new ways to distribute their music.

Here are 3 innovative revenue streams for musicians that you may want to check out.

1) Patreon
This is platform used by many successful artists (like Pentatonix) where fans contribute a set amount per project. So for example, if a fan decides to pledge $1 per song for an artist, that artist will get $1 every time he or she creates a song without a middleman coming between artists and their supporters.

2) Artist-Run Subscriptions
Many magazines and online services have subscribers for featured topics they are interested in and some indie musicians are trying to use that same strategy to sell their music. One musician using this model is Coole High, a hip-hop and smooth jazz  artist, who recently launched a way for fans to subscribe to his work for $20 a year. This includes his back catalog, new releases, discounts on tickets and merchandise, and subscription exclusives in videos and conser streams.

3) Cassette Tapes
Although it may be hard to believe, some artists and labels are actually going back in time and releasing albums on cassette tape, as a collectible item. Some musicians are doing cassette-only exclusives, and some indie labels like Burger Records features over 200 albums available on cassette.

You definitely are targeting a very specific audience with a release on cassette, but if done the right way, it can be very profitable.  For example, Homeboy Sandman had a tour-exclusive cassette release, and he sold more of those than any other piece of merchandise, including vinyl, hats, or CD’s.  One benefit is cassettes are more difficult to rip and put online, so people are having to actually buy your music if they want it.

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