I have a full-time job but I am also very interested in making a part-time career out of music. The aim would be to continue learning as well as making some money out of this passion.

So what would be the options available to me? I can think of following:

  1. Music Tutor
  2. Weekend Shows (I have Saturdays and Sundays free)
  3. Making songs as freelancer

Is there anything else that I can pursue to make the best out of my musical talent?

  • To make money off of writing or performing, you will have to spend money promoting yourself to singers, to fans, and, of course, to labels. Jul 22, 2015 at 3:37
  • You could be a music teacher, compose music pieces. There are lots of ways.
    – iiRosie1
    Jan 6, 2018 at 20:04

5 Answers 5


The single best paid and most reliable musician job for most people (I'm excluding the miniscule fraction who actually make it big) is as part of a wedding band. Certainly in the UK you can get at least one gig a week if you play covers, as there is high demand, and the money is definitely enough to live on - can be considerably more than some full time professions such as nursing.

Never ever Pay to Play - it is mostly a con set up to benefit promoters (I know, some exceptions, but if you are new to this sort of thing, assume it will be a challenge figuring out which ones!)

If you are good, research your market and promote yourself.

Marketing and selling songs nowadays is straightforward - you can do the entire thing yourself, and promote through facebook, fandalism etc., sell through iTunes, Amazon, Play etc and even run merchandise through Cafepress...

I am very part time these days on the Music side of things, averaging about one gig a month, and I still make money from it. As we are not a covers band, we don't make a steady income by any means, but festivals pay a decent amount, large venues also pay well, and even pub gigs cover our petrol and beer. Royalties from online sales make us a wee bit each month as well. I would like to make much more, but it's good to have a hobby that makes anything...

  • I've found that being a working musician is more of a sales and promotions job than playing music. Much more time is spend booking gigs, working relationships with venues, promoting shows and products &c. than actually playing. Wedding gigs helped pay my rent when I was in college. In the U.S. we also found corporate parties and Winery events to be big money makers as well. Jan 6, 2018 at 20:28

Already good answers to this, so I'm putting out a list of things I've done to add to ideas for possible music income. Some have already been mentioned.

Tutoring - good for steady income, but sometimes hard to do if you have a performing schedule that takes you away for some weeks. Students stick with you longer if you have a regular schedule with no long breaks between lessons.

Selling Product - This is changing as music is distributed more on-line now, but producing recordings and promotional products can still generate income. I have music up on-line from a show I did almost twenty years ago that still produces a small amount of money each month. At physical shows people still like to buy souvenirs from the band, so shirts, stickers, videos and recordings all can generate income.

Wedding/party band - Standards or covers are usually requested for this. You can either work your own group, which can be promoted through various planning services and web sites, or hire yourself out as a sub-in to multiple groups (or both). Wedding music tends to be seasonal. Businesses often hire cover bands for corporate parties such as the Christmas party, product launches etc. For weddings I worked in a cover band as well as a "theme band", playing "Celtic" music, and subbed in with a Country band.

Theme Festivals - This depends on where you are, but in some places specific styles of music are popular. For example, I had a "Celtic" band that played at Celtic fairs and other theme events. In some places Jazz festivals are popular. Occasionally we did well setting up a vendor booth for the street fairs and selling our recordings out of the booth. Handing out promotional material also lead to private bookings for the band.

Session/studio musician - Also changing now as small and home recording becomes more popular. In the area I lived there were a number of recording studios in travel range for me and they would occasionally need musicians to come in for session recording for projects.

Theater musician - Some theater productions still use live musicians. Depending on Union status in your area, you can pick up gigs for a show. It tends to be much time for little money though, as rehearsals aren't paid or don't pay as much as show times.

Busking - Rehearse your material and get paid. If you are working Busking specifically for money you have to put on a show about it, pick the right material and play to your audience. Tourist areas are usually good locations for busking.


Of the three choices you present, only teaching(tutor) has any kind of guaranty of regular income. And even that requires constantly trying to get new students. Many students will take lessons long-term but most will take a couple up to 8 or 16 lessons and then stop.

As for playing live, expect to "pay to play" which means, you will not be earning a paycheck.

And selling...

If you sell a song, you will be a tiny fraction of the total attempts.

Good luck!


There are other options apart from performing. This link is aimed at full-time careers not part time, but it gives an idea of the range of possibilities: http://www.mpaonline.org.uk/content/how-can-i-find-out-more-about-career-music-publishing.

"Making songs as a freelancer" isn't likely to pay many bills, unless you are very good at self-marketing (and you write very good songs!), or you find a good niche market. For example in the USA, there is quite a large "cottage industry" of people writing and marketing music for use in religious worship. I know somebody who makes hundreds of dollars a month marketing string-quartet arrangements of songs for other "wedding music" performers to use.

Music for movies and TV has to be written and/or arranged by somebody: https://www.berklee.edu/careers-film-scoring

I know somebody in the USA whose "day job" is a lawyer, but he does a lot of work on indie film soundtracks - and indie film producers can sometimes use him as a lawyer, as well.


If you actually have gotten to the point of having music that you want to sell I can totally advise on getting yourself on the Distrokid service. It is 20 dollars US a year to upload your music to all the big streaming and music selling services.

You get to keep all your earnings and if you do covers they even have a service where you can get licensing for all your covers. I cannot recommend it enough, it is fab.

For 20 bucks a month it is well worth even just experimenting with.

PS unaffiliated.

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