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  • Writer's pictureKate Brunotts

No Fans? No Problem. Here’s How To Make A Living With A Small Following

The landscape of the music industry as we know it is rapidly changing. One of the best side effects of these changes is the emergence of profitable positions for musicians.

You don’t need a massive fanbase anymore to be a full-time artist. Below, we’ll explore the music industry’s projected direct-to-consumer model and showcase a couple of tools that any small artist can use to monetize their music.

Can You Really Be A Profitable Musician With No Fans?

It’s important to acknowledge that while you can become a full-time musician with considerably less fans than previous generations of artists, you still have to be able to cultivate some sort of dedicated fanbase.

The difference is that now a sustainable fanbase doesn’t have to be on a mass scale– If you can provide $100 worth of value to 1,000 dedicated fans a year, you’re able to earn a cushy six-figure salary as a working artist.

Thankfully, the future music landscape is shifting to support this premise. Through Metaverse fan clubs and other expanded opportunities within the music creator marketplace, you too can be a full-time musician without having to become an A-list celebrity.

Why Is The Music Industry Shifting?

In order to understand where the music industry is headed, it’s essential to take a look at what is laying the groundwork for a more profitable industry experience for artists. Here are a few key reasons why the industry is (finally) starting to put artists first:

  • The Emergence of Web3: Web3 has embraced a direct creator-to-consumer model across all industries that was previously difficult to attain. The ever-expanding digital landscape provides artists with instant access to potential listeners and consumers.

  • TikTok’s Undeniable Upheaval of The Industry: TikTok and its predecessor were the first apps on a massive scale to showcase the explosive power of sharing music. The accepted use of sharing otherwise copyrighted music casually via dance, duets, and memes has effectively uprooted music consumption for all.

  • The Focus On Industry Crossover: As TikTok paves the way as the most downloaded app, other sectors are seeking ways to integrate and profit from the use of music across different media platforms. The gaming industry, for instance, is becoming increasingly tied to the future of music.

  • Changing Attitudes Towards Derivative Works: Previously, derivative works like remixes or duets weren’t given a second look, or simply weren’t allowed outside of formal collaboration. Social media has given way to cross collaboration of artists at any stage in their journey, adding to the explosive growth of the music industry.

7 Profitable Direct-To-Consumer Tools Types For Small Artists

While we’re just in the beginning stages of Web3 music culture, there are already several direct-to-consumer tools artists can use to start monetizing their music. Here are some of the most promising services enabling artists to earn directly from their art:

Custom Fan Creations

Artists can utilize tools like Cameo or Shoutout to create monetized fan videos for their fans. These quick short-form videos could be custom covers, or a simple check-in to fans for special occasions like birthdays and holidays.

Start-ups like SongFinch are taking this concept a step further, creating a sustainable platform for artists to produce customized songs for fans and music lovers.

Direct Support Platforms

While sites like Patreon have been around for a while, they’re becoming a more widely accepted model within the music landscape. Artists can also band together to create music DAOs or decentralized collectives designed to provide support and resources to artists or creators within a particular community.

Music NFTs

NFTs might not be the preferred choice for every artist, but they can certainly bring forth consistent monetization for artists with dedicated fanbases. Under certain NFT types, artists are able to rake in additional royalty earnings every time a NFT is bought and sold.

Consumer To Collaborator Tools

New monetizable music tools aren’t just providing more forms of value for your fans, they’re transforming passive listeners into participants. Controlla’s Seasons series helps artists create monetizable experiences for fans where they can actively engage with your music. Our team helps you transform your song into an interactive game where fans can remix your song as they play, creating a collaborative experience.

Consultation Monetization

For much of music history, learning how to create your own art was gatekept by industry elites. Today, artists aren’t just able to access limitless information to improve their own skill set, but they can also build monetizable resources to help budding creators find their place as music creators.

Virtual Experiences

Virtual concerts are becoming all the more common, providing artists endless access to a global stage. Metaverse experiences are also opening the door for artists to reach new audiences while expanding their art beyond the traditional intense touring schedule.

Selling Your Services

Whether you’re a songwriter, singer, producer, or music marketer, you can find ways to sell your services to other creatives. This monetization model doesn’t require a large fanbase either, just proof of your skillset and willingness to put yourself out there.

Making money with music has never been easier. While the industry at large still has a long way to go, it’s clear that more money is flowing back to artists than ever before.

At Controlla, we’re crafting music technology and interactive experiences to help you connect with your fans as a producer or music creator.

We're launching Season One, allowing artists to transform unreleased songs into interactive games catered to their audiences. They can give it away, sell it to create extra income, or include it as a value-add for top fans. It costs nothing, but space is limited, so act fast and apply for consideration in Season One!

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