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If we’re being perfectly honest, I love singing karaoke. But does that mean I can make a career out of singing? No.
That said, if you have a golden voice, why not make some money with it?
In this post, I’m going to cover the top ways to make money singing. From street performing to teaching and everything in between, if there’s a way to get paid using your voice, you’ll learn about it here.
11 Best Ways to Get Paid to Sing
Here’s a list of my favorite ways to bring in extra money using your voice.
1. Sing on the Street
Take a walk through any large city, and you’re bound to find someone playing an instrument or singing and collecting a fair amount of cash.
The official term for this is busking—and it’s a fun way to gain free exposure and collect a few bucks in the process.
Busking is illegal in many places, so make sure to check the local rules in your area before getting out there. With that said, if you tend to see performers playing regularly—without getting hassled by the police—it’s probably safe for you to test the waters.
If you’re interested in the idea, be strategic about where you set up. Avoid busking on private property or in front of a business that might not want you there. The last thing you want to do is scare potential customers away. At the same time, if you’re really good, you could potentially draw people in.
As a tip, busking is all about entertaining the public. It’s perfectly fine to mix in some original music, but people generally tip more when they hear cover songs they are familiar with.
When you play music that others want to hear, they may even want to join in and sing with you. Go along with it and show them a good time. It may lead to more tips.
2. Write Jingles
Make fun of me all you want, but one of my favorite songs is “Give Me a Break,” the jingle that still has people everywhere thinking about Kit Kat bars. The same goes for hits like Subway’s “Five Dollar Footlong” and Chili’s “I Want My Baby Back.”
If you have a professional-grade singing voice, you can work for an ad agency as a singer and help companies bring their jingles to life. Once you break into the music business, other opportunities will inevitably pop up.
3. Sing at Corporate Events
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Corporate events are an awesome side hustle for singers.
These events can range in size and scope, from cocktail hours to networking events and seasonal parties.
Companies will often pay thousands of dollars to entertain their guests, and so this can be a great way to make money, form business connections, and land recurring jobs.
4. Start a YouTube Channel
YouTube is a potential gold mine for emerging vocalists. It’s your digital stage to the world. You can instantly reach global audiences. And the best part is that it’s completely free.
If you have an amazing voice and focus on producing the right type of content, you could potentially go viral.
The only thing you need to be aware of is that YouTube has millions of users trying to make it in the music industry. That being the case, you have to put your best foot forward if you want people to notice you.
Learn how much money Youtubers can make here.
5. Start a Band
The most traditional way to make money singing is to form a band. Once your band is up to speed, contact your local bars and restaurants to find gigs. You can also make money playing house concerts and local community events.
If you can sing the blues, rock, jazz, country, reggae, pop, or hip hop, you should have no trouble finding local gigs. This is especially true in the post-COVID economy, where many local businesses are looking for musical entertainment to attract customers.
The only real downside of playing in a band is that you will have more expenses and less revenue because you have to share the money you bring in with everyone else.
Eventually, your band may get to the point where it puts out an album. This can potentially lead to recurring revenue streams, a record label, and a job traveling around making music.
6. Join a Church Choir
Churches of all faiths depend on music for their services. As it turns out, many of them pay professional singers to enhance the worship experience.
In most cases, you don’t even have to be religious to join a choir. As long as you can sing well, read music, and show up on time to events, church performances can be a solid side hustle.
7. Become a Music Teacher
If you’re considering launching a full-time music career, becoming a music teacher could be one of the best decisions you can make.
Teaching music full-time will lead to steady money, with the average salary for a full-time music teacher hovering around $44,000. In addition to a decent salary, most music teachers also typically enjoy excellent benefits and a pension.
But to make it in this line of work, you have to be comfortable working with young people and planning the curriculum. If you’re great with kids and love to teach, this could be your calling.
8. Join a Voice Competition
Who hasn’t dreamed of performing on “American Idol?”
These shows typically offer massive cash prizes. They also provide national exposure and the chance to ink a record deal.
Most of the time, anyone can show up for tryouts. For example, there are currently open auditions for “America’s Got Talent.” So, if you like to sing and you aren’t camera shy, this could be your ticket to fame and success.
9. Post Music on the SoundCloud App
Not that long ago, you had to literally print out CDs to sell your music. But today, the process is much simpler. All you have to do is make a track using a microphone and your computer and post it on SoundCloud.
SoundCloud is an artist-first platform with a global community of independent musicians and listeners. Altogether there are over 250 million tracks on SoundCloud, from more than 30 million artists across 190 countries.
SoundCloud can serve as a direct launchpad into the music industry. Take the example of Billie Eilish, whose song Ocean Eyes went viral on the platform back in 2016. The exposure from SoundCloud helped turn Billie Eilish into a Grammy-winning artist with an international fan base.
Who knows? Maybe the same thing could happen to you.
10. Start a Patreon Account
Patreon is a content creation platform that enables musicians to earn income from fans. As a content creator, you will have to pay a 5% fee on the cash you earn, which is not the worst deal in the world.
The trick on Patreon is to maximize your fan base, encourage downloads, and have each fan give you a small amount of money. With the right approach, you could earn some decent cash this way.
Don’t worry: Artists on Patreon retain full control over content and can post tracks on their own schedule.
11. Become an Actor or Actress
Last but not least, if you’re into acting, dancing, and singing, you might want to look into becoming an actor or voice-over artist.
If you pursue this line of work, there are a number of ways you can make money—including performing in hits on Broadway, filming musicals in Hollywood, or even doing voice-over work for animated shows and films.
While this is an incredibly competitive field to be in, you could make a lot of money while showcasing your singing talents to a wide audience. You never know when you might become the next biggest thing on the stage or silver screen.
Tips for Making Money Singing
As you can see, there’s no shortage of ways to make money singing today. It’s just a matter of pursuing the right one for you.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you consider your musical future.
Do a Personal Assessment
Let’s be honest: It’s going to be difficult to earn money singing if you’re not that good at it.
To test the waters, put together some samples and ask a friend to listen to you sing. If people are telling you that your voice is one in a million, you should find a way to gain more exposure as quickly as possible.
On the other hand, if the windows shatter and cats start howling when you sing, it may be a sign that you need some training.
I believe anyone can sing and be successful with enough practice and patience. But it helps to understand your current ability so that you can save time and maximize your earning potential.
Go Where the Money Is
Musicians often scour at the idea of selling out and working with companies. However, when you’re just starting, you have to go where the money is.
My advice is to take paid gigs wherever you can find them. If a company is willing to pay you money for your music or singing skills, you are very lucky to have that opportunity and should jump on it.
Even if it’s not the best-paying gig right now, it will likely lead to better-paying opportunities down the road.
Invest in Voice Lessons
Any serious musician knows that you need to regularly practice your craft if you want to stay good at it. Paying for lessons is an easy way to ensure that you’re using your voice to the best of its ability.
You don’t have to be Frank Sinatra. But if you can pull off “New York, New York” with your eyes closed, you’re probably on the right track.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Easy to Make Money Online with Singing?
It depends on your natural ability, your ability to make your music, and your willingness to use social media to spread your name. When it boils down to it, anyone can make money online with a bit of effort and dedication.
What Type of Microphone is Good for Recording?
The type of microphone you should use will vary depending on the music that you are making and your location. But generally, for home computer recording you can’t go wrong with a Blue Yeti Microphone, which currently goes for $99.99. This is a high-quality, multi-purpose microphone, and it’s available on Amazon, too.
How Can I Use My Computer to Record My Voice?
The easiest way is to use your computer’s built-in recording software and microphone. But to achieve superior sound quality, you’ll want to buy sound recording software and a decent microphone.
My advice is to explore these two options to see whether one of them catches your eye.
Is Crowdfunding Available for Musicians?
Yes. For example, ArtistShare is a site where trending musicians can post demos and receive funding for specific projects. It’s a viable way to gain exposure and gather funding for your creative endeavors.
Of course, you can also use the big platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to finance your next music project (like an album). Just be ready to get creative with rewards.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, it doesn’t take much to start making extra cash with your own voice. After all, you bring your voice with you everywhere you go, so it’s easy to practice your singing and show up for gigs ready to work.
With a bit of luck, you could someday wind up on music streaming services like Pandora or iTunes, selling merch, and playing live shows in front of thousands of people. And along the way, you could potentially make a lot of money.
My advice is to participate in as many live performances as possible, post music online, and find freelance opportunities doing voice-over recordings and commercials. You may also want to try and connect with music producers who can open new doors for you and help you develop your career.
Singing is like everything else worthwhile in life: The more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the more you can earn.
Here’s to accelerating your journey to financial freedom—while belting out some tunes along the way.