As a musician, you’ve surely felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many large-scale events including concerts and music festivals were cancelled. Even as vaccines are rolled out, larger gatherings remain on pause in many parts of the world. This can make it tough for musicians to earn money. Luckily, there are ways to stay afloat financially even if you can’t perform as usual. This guide explains how to make a living in the new normal.


Offer music lessons in a virtual classroom


Online learning has taken off since the start of the pandemic. Many prominent music education centers, including the Young School of Piano, have transitioned to the virtual classroom. Why not follow suit? You can offer one-on-one lessons using videoconferencing tools. All you need is your computer, a webcam with audio, and a decent internet connection. You can also pre-record lessons and sell them as packages to generate passive income.


Establish an ecommerce shop to sell merchandise


When you’re on the road performing, you probably sell merchandise to help boost revenue. Now you can move your merch sales online. Website Builder Expert provides tips on setting up an internet store. If you’re just getting started with merch, you will need to build up inventory. Shopify offers a list of print-on-demand companies that can create custom-made products, from hats to t-shirts and more.


Set up a business based on a passive income stream


Selling merchandise and pre-recorded music lessons are great ways to generate passive income. To stay on top of your finances, set up a formal business entity like a limited liability company. As your business grows, you may even hire an assistant to help manage your various income streams. Make sure to get an employer identification number, EIN, from the IRS to help track your payroll taxes. This will simplify your state and federal tax filing.


Perform in socially distanced settings


As a musician, one of your favorite things is probably sharing your gift by performing. You don’t have to give that up because of COVID! You can still perform via live streams online, for example. BandZoogle provides an A-to-Z guide to how to livestream. Busking in public with sufficient distance is another option. Ditto Music provides tips for successful busking, like getting the appropriate license from your local municipality.


Create an exclusive online community for your content


People are generally spending more time at home—and online—due to the pandemic. Take advantage of this opportunity to connect with current and future fans of your music online. Start posting on social media to nurture a loyal community. You can also leverage your online community to make money. Patreon is one option. Product Mint explains that you can use the platform to provide access to exclusive, subscriber-only content for a fee.


Find freelance gigs online to tide you over


As you look for ways to earn your living in the new normal, keep an open mind. You might turn to non-music related gigs to make ends meet—at least temporarily. Prioritize work-from-home jobs that comply with social distancing measures, making them pandemic-proof. Think Maverick offers a list of home-based jobs that require little to no experience, including transcription and social media management.


There’s no denying that COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. As a musician, your industry has been particularly hard-hit. However, there are many ways you can earn money as the world adapts to the new normal. Let the above guide inspire you.


For more content like this, check out the Young School of Piano blog. We help people from all walks of life discover music. As part of our mission, we aim to provide musical artists with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive. Find out more.


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