Making money as a musician has always been an all or nothing game. You’re either raking in the big money or struggling to get by while pursuing your passion. The journey to profiting from music can be a rough ride and with new technologies and ways of consuming music shifting, it’s become even more of a grey area. Simply producing music and expecting to earn money isn’t how the game works unfortunately. With sales of music slowing and streaming soaring – the traditional way of making money through music has changed forever. Now that’s not all bad news… as with great change comes new ways of hustling. Deadmau5 has proven there are multiple ways of getting an income through different methods and we’re looking at some usable examples anyone can use.
As I am building my personal brand at the moment I am looking into building all my streams of revenue. Through my research I found you should aim for around 7 different sources of revenue to build and sustain an online business. And while I’ve been building my membership platform of online products I came across Deadmau5 and his subscription based platform… It is absolutely brilliant that musicians can finally move towards making money with their expertise and not just brand placements, partnerships and other traditional methods.
Deadmau5 is giving specific value and access to him through a membership portal with a monthly subscription. Now if my online business prowess has taught me anything, it is that subscription based products are a key way of generating income. Think about it – if Deadmau5 has 10,000 monthly subscribers each paying $5 – he is potentially generating $50,000 per month through only his super fans. THIS is what you call PASSIVE INCOME… You’re making money in your sleep kinda shit!
All of this got me thinking, what other streams has Deadmau5 created as an independent artist? Streaming alone can only bring in the big money, if you’re a HUGE viral hit, so here are some examples of how Deadmau5 gets his dollars rolling in.
As with anything there are several contributing factors but Deadmau5 ranges anywhere from $400,000 to $1,000,000 USD.
Live shows of course have been a money maker since the dawn of music. However, now the value of a live show doesn’t end at making cash! The content, the engagement with fans and exposure it brings to you online is a brilliant tool to grow your following and attention. Deadmau5 is always on the road, touring city to city, as he understands that it’s important to invest your time in this, generating more income and more visibility.
In the days of rock n roll nobody would be caught dead selling out to a corporation. But nowadays it’s a very good source of income and musicians welcome invites with open arms. Deadmau5 being an avid gamer it naturally makes sense that he has partnered with Secretlab to collaborate on branded gaming chairs. Absolut created a virtual reality game wherein players can live like Deadmau5 – technology has certainly come a long way since the days of Tetris.
Products can wildly range in what they are and people are getting seriously creative with their merch game. Having a firm understanding of your audience is key to creating the right type of products for fans… Look at the mau5’s online shop with both apparel and gaming
Creating a membership/subscription allows for fans to pay a monthly ongoing fee to gain access to exclusive content. This could be in the form of a fan club or the growing trend of educational content wherein artists can teach and give useful advice. To do this successfully you need to keep the value worthy on the platform and focus on growing the membership. Deadmau5 has done this by having a deep understanding of his audience and gives them the value they’re happy to pay out for.
Every man and his dog is a producer it seems, and the demand for sample packs isn’t going away any time soon. Creating sample packs is another great source of income alongside your music. Deadmau5 utilises this well.
Deadmau5 Twitch earnings/income (yearly):
$1,371,582 to $21,945,312 USD
Gaming is a key element in his partnerships and merch so naturally he’s found a way to get streaming revenue from this as well through the growing platform Twitch.
YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen wrote in a blog post last year that YouTube’s payout rate in the U.S. is as high as $3 per 1000 streams. Using YouTube should be top priority early on as it’s a core platform for musicians – start optimising it for money.
Online Courses / Tutorials
I have been following masterclasses for years now and what they are doing is genius. And it did not surprise me when I saw Deadmau5 on the roster. Of course he is sharing the revenue with Masterclass here, but you could essentially make your own online course as a musician if tutorials and teaching is your style. Creating digital products is key as they are more scalable than physical products.
Psy of Gangnam Style fame reportedly received $2,000,000 for 2,000,000,000 streams on Spotify which when you do the maths, is not much per stream at all! However, there are plans to change the music industry so that streaming works better for musicians but nobody knows quite how this will work or when… But it is underway!
What Deadmau5 has understood is how to monetize on the key interest areas of his life. Which is gaming, electronic music and music production. These are only 11 sources of income I am mentioning based on the quick research I did, but there are lots more. This tells me that musicians needs to think in this direction if they want to build themselves up as business that can grow. Start breaking down your potential revenue streams as a musician and then set up a plan on HOW to make money in each direction.