The Big Question: How To Make a Living In Music?

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This is a response to a question from one of my viewers. This doesn't have an easy answer without talking about how money is made from Publishing, Record Sales, Sound Exchange, BMI or ASCAP, Publishing, Live Performance, Crowdfunding, Youtube, Teaching, Film Scoring and Licensing. I tried to address all or most of these things with actual numbers and how it all works. Links To Follow:If you are interested in purchasing The Beato Book click here: Follow On Twitter -

ASACP BMI Everything Music Film Scoring How to Make money in Music Music production Sound Exchange music publishing songwriting royaltys Rick Beato

Wow , Bill Clinton F'd us there too? What a guy, gave away the country and got elected twice. Sorry, didn't mean to get political.
How To Make a Living In Music? Become a plumber!
Afshin Salehi
We love you Rick... Thank you.
Anthony Niemira
can you do a video about max martin?
I think I will write a book on how money used to be made in the Music Business as it is all downhill now. Having played for 55 years it is very sad to notice the lack of opportunities for up and coming artistes
Aura Qualic
I agree all what you said. I been in the industry as a Motion Graphics designer and Musician and its quite a lot of things to do before you can get the payment for living... This is why I am still not famous since I'm focusing more on the Motion graphics day job... what's also hard for me is that I live in country side... and most of the creative things happen in the big city.. that is another hard part of living as a creator and not only a musician :/
Ben H.G
I feel like this video leaned over towards the question \
Bill Hannaford
How to make a living as a musician? Make a bunch of videos and start a youtube channel talking about how to make a living as a musician.
Brendan McCurry
God, this is depressing.
Byron Barnshaw
Power Mac G5?? ;-)
Camilo Salazar
how can a record cost so much? 250.000$ is ridiculous
Chris Bedan
Thanks, Rick... This information is soooo valuable, I appreciate the insight.
Dan C
Thanks for all of this advice, Rick. Being in this industry is such an utterly daunting task. It often feels like I need the skills of five different professionals just to have a chance at ever making any money. Currently studying sound engineering and trying to improve on my instruments and with my compositions but's so intimidating. Thanks for making it just a little easier :)
Danny B
Very informative, you brought back points that I have forgotten about over the years. Things like the library services from which TV and movie scores are usually derived, I have a friend who uses one of those databases, and actually got his tune used as a TV morning show theme for a few months.
Devon Throness
Very relevant video. Thanks for the insight!
Dillip Phunbar
Thanks Rick. Your knowledge of the industry is invaluable. I bought/downloaded your book and am slowly working through it.
Dirty Curty
Sounds like a very bleak and depressing money making landscape in the music biz. Once people started stealing the artists songs it killed the money to be made and people felt justified because cd prices were up to 17.99 for a recording which might have only 2 or 3 good songs on it. They thought they were getting back at the record companies not realizing that record companies had ripped off all the artists they could with terrible contracts. That not only hurt the record companies,which probably deserved it for giving the artists hardly anything compared to what they made,but that really left the artists with nothing. I think the only reason bands continue to make music is purely for the love of music because they arent getting rich and its a shame they can barely eek out a living at it. People were enraged when Metallica went after Napster not thinking that they were stealing. Would Hollywood spend millions making a movie and show it in theaters for free? If that was the case they would never make another movie.I dont understand why people feel they are entitled to free new music from every band and artist out there. Would anyone choose to work for free? I think not and anyone that says different is a liar.
Edi Gabrieli
Min 12 There is an artist just like that, the very talented Miguel Montalban, he started playing on the streets in London turn to YT video of his streets performances and quickly got millions of followers now he sell live concerts and sell his CD worldwide exclusively thru his channel .
Elroi The Overseer
Hey Rick, I watched this video about two weeks ago and out of nowhere I ended up getting some post production work on a film. Talk about luck.
The producer/mixing engineer point is interesting.\nWhat is the best way to begin as a producer/mixing engineer in your opinion ? What basic knowledge and experience would you recommend ?\n\n(I'm 23, bass and guitar player for almost 10 years, I try to expend to other intruments lately like piano, drums, singing, and sound design. I know the basics of music theory, etc).
Step one: marry a nurse.
Firstname Lastname
I have a non-music related full time job, but I always love the feeling of playing music live (although only few times a year, mostly at friends' events). At some occasions I get paid, but not that much... Lately I have been thinking about going into playing music full time, but I know its not easy... Guess I'll just start by doing regular session at bars/cafe at night while working in the office during the day. It's always been constant battle inside of me, between being realistic and following the dream...\n\nJust sharing though...\n\nOh, i remember Guthrie Govan once said:\n\
Thank you Rick for this video, a closer look at today's reality.. it's funny cause Im 30y/old now, I was lucky enough to start making dance music records very young in early 2004 and from that point I seen the decline of the music industry like you described..after graduating at a sound engineering school I seen all the big studios I worked in, or got an internship, closing cause labels went out of budget..I couldn't never imagine that, I had to change mentality so fast and become independent..nowadays it's not easy making a living in the music industry, you really have to be a multi-purpose \
Gary Citro
Best financial decision I ever made as a musician BY FAR was to become a public school music teacher,. By happenstance, I live in a well paying area that supports and values music programs. I can't produce or engineer, but I don't really need to. The caveat is that music teaching requires a completely different skill set, and much of it has not much to do with music. But to do it well, ideally you still have good chops, musical and non-musical literacy and a wide breadth of knowledge, along with a huge dose of tolerance. \nWhen I started teaching you still had an outside shot to have a band that could \
Glenn Hurley
I felt the pinch when Disk Jockeys came in favor in the early 80's. Way less live, private party, wedding, bar gigs every weekend. Playing drums I sure felt the pressure to get live bookings. The horn players I worked with had got killed and many had to fall back to teaching revenues. These guys were not hacks they were pro players who could do almost any style. lately in Chicago seems to me live is on a small up swing. Last year at my Nieces wedding, no DJ. They brought in a small PA plugged in the grooms Phone and hit play. No JD.
Harmonica Man
Good news for musicians. Trump just signed a law where they get more royalties and have more control of their music digitally. Or something like that.
I B Right
So very interesting. I once saw Dolly Parton in an interview talking about if you want to make money in the music business be a writer. Seemed like a strange thing for her to say as such a big star but I think even she made much of her (pre-Dollywood) fortune from her songwriting rather than performing. I can play guitar like Jimmy Page/SRV/Joe Satriani/whatever, but as personally satisfying as it is, it means nothing in dollars. I do like performing but I like (and need) money too. I started playing because I wanted to do what Jimmy Page was doing. I never thought of it as a profitable endeavor but as I get older, it would be nice to get a little return on the lifetime of effort and cash I have invested.
Ian Webster
I studied music production, got my masters in Audio production. I've played bass for 17 years. I produce music which I put up on soundcloud and have accumulated a couple of thousand listens. D'you know how I make money from music? Covers band. For the majority of musicians, that's the best you'll do. Play pubs, weddings, birthdays etc. You have a great time and you can make a bit of cash to supplement your earnings from the regular job you have to have.\n\nThere's always that joke about how do you make a million off jazz music? Start with a billion. Reckon if I become some sort of crypto millionaire I could build a studio, employ myself and slowly run out of money until I have to get a job again.
Jack Sprat
The Beatles never learned to read music, but after playing together a few years for food and drink, got their chops down and managed to collaborate among themselves professionally and had a great producer to guide them. But yeah, it's getting tougher and tougher to make a living in music or anywhere without the right connections, talent, skills and knowledge. But as we go deeper into the \
Jacky J Jones
Another great tip towards making money and the right connections in the music business... is, be Jewish.
Jake Hose
In other words, 97% of musicians will never work full time, ive seen alot in the music business, played in bands, recorded albums, know people...if you have any other talent that you can make money at, pursue that as a career and have music be a hobby, i know rock stars (all work day jobs, had major label releases) i know musicians that their bands dont make enough money so their main job is studio engineers, trust me, your chances at becoming financially successfull is almost 97% against you. Music business is bs
James McNamee
Hi Rick, thanks for the great video. I have just come across your channel and am finding it extremely rewarding with a wealth of wisdom for someone who is just starting out. I do have a question: Do you know many successful writer producers that do not - or aren't that great - at playing any instruments?\n\nI've never learned, though I am self teaching myself keys at the moment but progress is slow. I do however possess a good knowledge of music theory and believe I can write a good tune (my strength lies in engineering/producing/mixing though).\n\nAll the best,\nJames
James Palmer
Great video that confirmed my fears about going into the music business. I went to college in Mississippi back in the early 2000's and switched my major from music to business administration, because I was afraid I really wouldn't be able to make a living in the music industry. I've been playing piano, guitar, bass & drums since my middle school years, write my own music & lyrics and understand mixing, but I was never excellent and any of those things. I am so glad I made that decision back then to get a normal job and have a family while using my talents as a hobby and at church. Thanks for the info.
James Randorff
Jan Parra
Reading comments most of you are throwing the towel already. You didn't listen to what Beato is saying you can still make money if you write Music, Produce, Engineer and Mix you need to spread yourself cause the Business changed.
Jeffrey Gold
Rick, I see you're still running a Mac G5. Is that the last pre-Intel Mac G5 Quad? Kudos! I'm still running mine too.
Jerry Smitherson
Stupid music business. I could have been a famous basketball player, or famous actor, but NO, I had to be a musician. Ughh
Jim Merrilees
Arrived late but will add my tuppence worth....I have been singing pro for getting on half a century......I love the biz and hate it at the same time......To say it is fickle is an understatement......Unlike most business, talent and expertise counts for diddly squat....neither does hard work although it clarify..... I know some pretty lazy untalented people who managed to reach the top and some pretty hard working really talented folk at the bottom....It is down to luck...who you know...who you meet and who you have backing you.......and when all these things happen......\nOne thing is for sure you do not start making a living until you have built up a reputation and a demand....unless of course you enter one of those X factor type shows and get really lucky....which for many reasons I would discourage.\nI perform mainly live but do the odd session work and sometimes even do Karaoke/disco to fill up my have to know how to be versatile and adapt to what is wanted by the public not what YOU want to do.\nNever give up stick at it...but do not give up the day job till you are making plenty.
Johnny Guitar
The best chance for most of us to earn money in the music business is to simply own shares of Spotify, LOL!
Jonathan Richer
Hey Rick, you said that if you you're a producer than can play instruments and write that that is a huge plus, but how would a producer actually go about getting hired by a label? Would they start doing indie projects and build a portfolio or is there some sort of showcase element involved?\n\nThanks for the help! Love the video as always
Nobody seems to go into this but, if you want to make a living off of streaming and you get atleast 90% of the royalties from your music (no label that takes a cut etc). You would need 300.000-500.000 views a month minimum. That's the stone cold facts nobody is telling people :) Not easy but it's definately not in the tens of millions, this is easiest achieved if you get your music onto official or bigger un-official playlists.
L. Scott Music
If offered a 360 deal one should counter with a 180 deal! (Do a 180 out the door.)
Leo Knightus
So let me figure this out. The media corps condensed the business to the point of something artificial that kinda sounds like music. Now that people don't buy records, they want their door money, merch money and basically anything else that makes a buck. I wonder what Peter Grant would say.
Hey Rick! I've been watching your talk videos and video lessons for about a month now and they have been really helpful so far. Can you make a video more specifically on music for video-games? It has been a field of interest of mine for years now but it's still a very \
Music is dying no money in it ! I agree about the consolidation of the industry - Trump wants to break them up
Marc Driftmeyer
Wow this is quite outdated now that streaming and royalties are now evidently improving
Martin Olson
Wow. insightful explanation of how things have changed. Thanks, Rick :)
Martin Weeks
Music For Advertising Purposes-- Think Smarter!!\n\nNo one ever stops to think, that all those ads that pop up on a YouTube Video you're watching CAN make YOU money or can kill your live streams and YT videos.\nWhy? Simple...because these pop up ads are designed to attrack people to look and hopefully BUY something...if these videos are interrupted because one of YOUR viewers clicks that ad...YOU'RE TOAST.\nThis is one reason why going the sync licensing route makes more sense...if it's YOUR music on THAT pop up ad...guess what...YOU are making more money from that ad, then you could ever hope to be paid by some \
Matt Gilbert
Learn electronics. Make \
Michael M
When is he gonna throw the ball?
Michah Himmelman
Just look at Yamaha. In the old days they'd me making a fortune from instruments. Today, ...phhh, nada.Says it all.
Mike 4thekite
the owners dont need popular music to condition the herds media is doing a greater job of infiltrating the new young people watch media...listening is a old meme....visual can transfer more info and subliminal images can better be programed into minds then audio or reverse masking.....dont need it anymore....thats why there is no no 1 songs anymore..year 2000 came after the 90's which was female affirmation decade...whitney...celine..chaka and all the rest of the female programming that was behind the social engineering of men....then rap emerged away from music ....was mainstreamed and stepped back out of the limelight back to a adjunct of music as a whole.....the end....DEATH BY NOSTALGIA...MUSIC 1920-2000....served its purpose and nobody cares ....bring on the synchronised dancers....YOU FORGOT the cost of the video that buckles the band
Mitch Vine
Sneaky way to earn 50 cents from YouTube Rick. 😀. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Mr. Lowery
I always wondered how a producer gets a trademark sound no matter what genre they're producing. Like Rick Rubin for example. I can usually tell a Rubin production when I hear one. Is it the equipment used when tracking? Or something else?
Hey rick you said writers and playing instruments is the most profitable way to get money but how about if I'm not a great player but I'm really good Drawing midi in my daw and I know a lot theory would this be considered as a written skill to be categorized in the same group?
Nazmo King
What Rick just described here is the exact same thing that has happened to the book-writing world. No publishers out there want a new author - they're just willing to spend money on the already-established author, regardless of how good your book is. Everybody in music, movies and books wants to \
Clinton, the death of the Democratic party rests on his shoulders with the Communications Act and the deregulation of the banking industry. People like Pat Metheny and Rick Beato would still be making music which is the most important point to remember.
P Baggio
Rick, I am going into film scoring and I need a starting point. I watched your videos about film scoring and I want more. You are so helpful for starters like me. Thank you.
My dream
Pete Zen
A solid standard deal now is 10k per option, 20k \
Piotr Hobbysta
In other words Clinton case did show how socialists destroy free market and business changing them into several big corporations. The next step would be nationalization of them! We must remember - oligopoly = monopoly
Purple Pig
Don't forget busking as an option.
Richard Adamson
Great video, Rick, but you left out playing music live in bars as an income source. I don't like to brag, but I made well over a hundred dollars gigging last year. Honest.
Richard Boyer
Play your music outside the computer Play live and you will get money That's the only way to make money for 95% of us. I played in clubs, restaurant, I lived in a small town. I know 4 musician making a living not doing records, producing, They learn cover song and work 3 to 5 days a week NOT EASY this is a JOB. I believe, what ever you do.. ITS A JOB...\n\n What I want in life is happiness.. listen.. nobody can give it me EXCEPT ME and the GOOD NEWS IS.. WE ALL HAVE IT no struggle needed no education needed no intelligence but you will need REAL intelligence Real intelligence is living happy NOW and that's it.. So simple the mind can't grasp that But the real you can
Roberto Civinelli
Congratulations on the whole video and especially on running a studio still on a Power Mac G5 :-) (with an old version of Pro Tools I guess :-) ((Ops ... I just realized that this video was made in 2016 ... but also back in 2016 G5 was pretty an old machine) \nGreat Video Again!!!\nGreetings from Italy ...
Sanna Artism
Thanks man! appreciate it! Q: How do I get better at mixing? I've been recording for like 10 years, and I still sound like crap, even though when I talk recording in front of other people they understand absolutely nothing (that's taken as a sign that I've come far at least a little bit.. yeah really.. hahaha..) na, jokes aside though, what am I to do? thanks egen.
i'm a song writter. i'm taking guitar lessons right now. so for me i write the lyrics first. but i'll eventually start writting the music behind the lyrics.
Simon Williams
Slash Le Pew
Money money money money money..\nI hate this world..
Steve Dallas
Marshall VS100 - Preach it!
Steve Edwards
domo origato, Mr Beato...
Steve Selinsky
great information and perspective on what it's really like to try and make money in the current industry, and insight into how things have changed...
Steve's Mixed Bag
Learn a trade...or go to college for something in the Medical field , Legal or Law enforcement. Do music as a hobby. You'll have more money to enjoy and make music. I could make good money 80's-90's playing live, but even then it was hard for a really GOOD band to \
Can people not just Jam to backing tracks in the street? That\
Sworn Son
And now Disney and Fox are becoming one.
Theo Cedar Jones
I love your videos Rick, but my take away from this video is that for up and coming rock bands and songwriters making a living in the music industry is virtually impossible. Look at your own video and count the number of times you said \
Thomas Scott
lol...How to make a living in music...get a 40 hour a week real job. The days of making a living have been over for the majority for at least 20 years if not longer. I parlayed an OK record deal in 1980 into a new house and a car... The house made me money to buy a nicer house that lead to another home that lead to the home I am in now... I was one of the fortunate few nobodies that will retire working a real job but, not having any debt because I was smart and bought a home instead of 8 balls and beer everyday of my short career. I know guys that had bigger careers than mine that have called me in a pinch to sell me vintage gear because they were broke...I won't mention any names but, it is appalling to me that they are broke.
Tim Evans
loved this ..... Reality can really suck but you shined a beacon on the industry and the changing opportunities available for today's musician Thank you
Tom Spallone
That background noise is driving me CRAZY. \nHow’s that for producing?
Will Moffat
Rick, this is very scary, do you not think this will ever turn around for musicians? i\
Zach Derbas
Hey Rick, I have a video idea for you.. How about \
Zvika Dror
Thanks Rick (Dangerous) for talking over this troublesome subject.\nI always thought (25 years ago) that making a living off music making would ruin the romatic and magical nature of it, and make it a routine, stressed, compromising profession for me. I thought musicians should have a \
Rick Beato - This video is amazing and spells out so many \
In Norway we have 2 company's taking care of royalty.And one of them only pay if You are accepted and \nSuccessful.That means if you are making money but to little,they take your money and give them to their\nstars .I find it terrible unrighteous,but they do it that way. Also if I perform my own stuff on TV the company \nwants me to give up my royalties rights .I fiend it relay unfair ,it says in other words either You be a star ore we \nrob Your rights legally .\nIs it not Right that the small beginners got some attentions and support since the stars get all anyway. \nThey are honored with gifts and support all the time and very good pay to.\nWile the struggling ones are robed of their rights.
I got into the \
d wolfy
based Rick Beato #MakeMusicGreatAgain
diet shazta
this. this is probably the most important question in the world. whether you're doing commercials for hot wheels or playing live on the Conan show, if you can make a living playing those 12 notes you got it made
Thanks! A great video! How about video game industry? I have understood that it is already bigger than movie industry.
Full Sail? Isn't that one of those awful for-profit colleges?
Hey Rick, your videos are a treasure cove of inspiration and information. Thank your for the stories, insights, experience and teachings. I feel grateful beyond my ability to express it.
I'm not a professional musician but when you look at the music industry today the people who are the most succesful are the people no necessarily with the best music it's the people who are great at catching other peoples attention. See Steel panther for example they are a glam rock band who parody the whole 80s rock music scene. They released their first album feel the steel 2009 and today they are probably the fastest new growing metal band i know and it's not because of their music alone. A huge part of it is each band member playing their role very well and the theme is 80s rock parody but they really catch peoples attention and people talk about them and remember them because of their act. And those who don't know Steel panther first time watching them can be a shock if you are not used to over top jokes and vulgar language.
Clip summary: \n1. Most of you will be broke forever; and \n2. One in a million will make a lot of money but only if you wrote formulaic, saccharine garbage music.
nobby styles
is there a cricket somewhere in the room or is someone using a very old typewriter 20 meters away.
peanut monkey
Comments here made me extremely sad. Why do i even watch these videos and read them when I should just create music. But i cannot focus on music when i need money, money is more vital task. I guess need for money killed so much art...
As always, Mr. Beato's knowledge on any music topic may be among the most valuable sources around. From film score analysis to complex music theory, I hope some royalties are being earned here because all of these videos are in my repeat queue.
I am interested in becoming a classical-contemporary piano music + pop song writer, I always have many ideas, I have finished a few pieces and songs and have tons of unfinished ones, but I really don't know where to start. Do u think I should try contacting record company first? I mean, I get really frustrated cuz I ain't good at everything but it seems that I have to be. I have already written lyrics for my songs, played the instrument for them and even sung them, but what I wanna do is just write them. I am currently a piano teacher which I started out so as to get closed to the music writing industry.
Man, this thing about merchandising.... people make music and people tell them to make t-shirts for a living..... better idea to make t-shirts and no music (ie, go into fashion biz, or in the mug bizness, lol).... I beleive money comes in the long run and if you are a band playing live and touring. it's a good way to promote your records..... and you are not obliged to sell mugs and tshirts.... (i beleive merch is for already famous people, or at least with a good number of followers/fans) . My only advice (not tested in real life yet) : just stop thinking about money, make music, and if it's good enough to make money, then money will come. One more thing, I bought a mug at a gig once, a pretty famous bands from the 80's with several chart hits .... one of the band member told me later he never saw a single penny from the merch shop... it payed for roadies i guess (or not). Somebody in arts told me one day that people shouldn't do Arts for money, they should do arts, and there is money ONLY when someone is interested by this art. ie, when someone calls you, ..... it may happen or never happen, it shouldn't be the most important thing in this kind of biz....
Best and most straightforward video about the topic that I've seen on youtube. Thanks for making it Rick. I have one question, do you know of a business where one can submit music to collaborate with other more professional musicians that could take the music further? Thank you again!