Being a full-time career musician is not easy – but it is doable.

Before, you had to rely on a label, a manager, a booking agent, and a whole team of people to thrust you into the spotlight. This meant you were heavily dependent on what other people could do for you. Now, between the internet and the gig economy, there are more options than ever for you as a musician to earn money.

The first step in this journey is you need to build stronger relationships with the fans you already have and if you don’t have a lot of fans you need to work on getting a core group of them into your world.

1. Livestreaming

A great entry point into discovering who your superfans are is to try livestreaming as this gives you a platform to invite all of your fans no matter where they live to not only see you play but also interact as you do. This is how you can start figuring out who your superfans are. 

There are the obvious social sites you can use for livestreaming, but my recommendation is because their platform is very easy to use, allows for tipping and you can also charge for tickets if you’d like and they payout extremely quickly without taking a large commission. Since they have fewer artists than some of the massive streaming sites you can connect with their team to help you with troubleshooting should you need it and they often promote emerging streamers on their social channels which is a nice bonus.

You can leverage these interactions to collect email addresses or ask your fans what it is they might be interested in buying from you – is it merch?  Or do you have something else you can offer such as…

2. Workshops or Music Lessons

Everyone has something they’re good at, and for artists, it’s usually a skill that we mere mortals only wish we had. You can teach vocal or instrument lessons, but you can also dive into the entrepreneurial things you’re good at like social media or booking shows, and offer workshops on that. 

Once you hone a great workshop or two you can partner with other local entrepreneurs or creatives to do a full day of workshops where you can charge more and appeal to a wider audience.

Corey James Grey has seamlessly woven his passion for Hip Hop and his knowledge in Interpersonal Neurobiology into impactful workshops aimed at personal and creative growth. With over two decades of experience touring globally as a rapper, DJ, and host, Corey brings a wealth of real-world insights into success and self-care to his sessions. As a US Cultural Ambassador of Hip Hop, he enriches his workshops with deep cultural insights, while his contributions to music for media highlight the transformative power of creativity. Dedicated to unlocking individuals’ creative potential, Corey’s workshops focus on using creativity for self-expression and growth, guiding participants toward realizing their fullest potential.

The best ideas for this are those that allow you to continue to grow while building your bank account. 

Via Corey James Gray

3. Fan Clubs

Sites like Patreon have been around for ages and offer an easy interface plus you can look at countless examples for inspiration. As mentioned previously not only makes livestreaming easy, but they also have a simple interface where you can build your Fan Club. 

In it, you can charge fans for special perks like first listening to songs, special merch, or other one-of-a-kind rewards.

Here is how David Cook built his Red Rabbit Society Fan Club. First he created a video introducing the club and it’s tiers.

And he cross-promotes on Bandsintown, and his own website and of course on his socials.

The reason I love Fan Clubs is because they allow your fans to support you consistently (IE recurring income) while also meeting them where they’re at financially. Kind of like how you always want to offer a sticker and a hoodie at your merch table to have something at the low and high end, a Fan Club allows fans to support you, no matter what.

According to a Luminate report, 60% of fans are asking for more items to buy. This means you should be offering more to your fans!

4. Exclusive Limited Merch

Many years ago I went to a Brian Fallon concert and made a huge mistake. It was a solo tour, just Brian Fallon and a piano in the city he was born in; that is to say, it was a really special show. When the concert let out and everyone flooded to the merch table I saw a hoodie that I loved. I decided to wait a few days and see if I still wanted it, and then if so, buy it online.

It turns out the hoodie was tour-only merch. Meaning, you could only get it at a show on that tour. There was no purchasing it online.

I’ve regretted it ever since.

Doing a limited run of merch for your release show or a tour is a great way to do something different and hook your fans. If I had known I could only get that shirt then and there, I doubt I would have walked away.

(IG embed:

5. Songwriting Or Private House Concert Services – High Ticket Items

Angela Soffe realized that the grind of recording, releasing, and crowd-funding as an Americana artist was limiting. 

During the pandemic, with all of her gigs cancelled she pivoted and decided to offer custom songs 

“I always created songs for friends who were getting married as a wedding gift, it evolved and I love the storytelling aspect of songwriting…  it feels like I’m making a custom movie (but it’s a song) and this felt like a natural progression for me as an artist”

She makes approx. 50 songs a year on top of producing other artists.  “I’ve only been doing this for a year and I already have enough profit to hire a full-time assistant.”

“In order to be a successful artist you must be very egocentric. As soon as you can take the attention off of yourself and figure out how you can use your gifts to serve your marketplace things will shift. 

Ask – What can I do for you and how can I serve you? Even making music that’s not custom songs; millions of creators need background music for their videos on YouTube, for example.

This is not true if you are a huge star with millions of fans like Taylor Swift, but if you want to stay in the music business you need to humble yourself and ask, How can I serve?  (Instead of “How can I get served?”)

Some examples:

Those of us who make it in this business stay in it it’s not a race.  Don’t give up and walk away – just be super patient with yourself. It’s okay to not have it all figured out all at once – take baby steps. 

In the dynamic and ever-evolving world of music, finding and nurturing your superfans is more critical than ever. The old reliance on industry gatekeepers has given way to direct, engaging, and innovative approaches that empower musicians to carve out sustainable careers on their own terms.

From the immediacy and intimacy of livestreaming to the tailored lessons of personalized workshops, and the recurring support of fan clubs to exclusive merch offerings, each strategy is a step towards deepening the connections that matter most.

By focusing on these genuine interactions and continuously exploring ways to provide value, you not only solidify your financial foundation but also affirm the vital, heartfelt exchange between artist and audience.

Remember, success in music isn’t about quick wins but nurturing lasting relationships and growing alongside your most dedicated fans.