7 Ways For Producers To Make Money In 2020

Being successful as a music producer requires more dedication and hard work than a lot of jobs, but is nonetheless a very valuable skillset. Here we look at seven keys ways music producers can help pay the bills in the coming year.


Guest post by Nick Voorhees of Melody Nest

Being a successful musician requires a dedication that most don’t have. It takes 60+ hour work weeks, time, money, and a belief that you can make a living from your music. At the end of the day, we all know the risks.

However, do not sell yourself short. Music production is a valuable skillset, and there are lots of ways producers can make money in today’s era. All you have to do is branch out into different categories, and find multiple sources of revenue.

Here are our 7 top picks for ways that music producers can earn income in 2020.

1) Sell Your Beats Online

Lots of music producers make a substantial amount of money by selling their beats to hip-hop artists and other independent musicians. Music producers are able to sell their tracks anywhere from $10 dollars into the tens of thousands. Depending on how much hype you have, you can set your price accordingly.

There are two ways you can license your work out:

Lease: Gives the customer a limited amount of uses per lease. If they go over the DL limit, play limit, or other restrictions the owner puts in place, the buyer must re-purchase another lease.

Exclusive: The producer of the beat gives away all rights, and the original producer cannot sell the beat to anyone else. Typically, producers charge much more than a lease, and this is usually the most straight-forward way to conduct business.

What’s amazing about selling beats, is this is a passive income. There is not much you need to do after you upload your music– you sit and watch money slowly start to make its way in. And if you have an established network to help you promote, you can earn income relatively quickly.

Pro-Tip: Don’t spend too much time on one beat.

If you’re creating beats to sell, produce 1-3 beats per day. The bigger your portfolio, the better your odds are of selling your music. However, make sure your work is of a good quality.

You can either create a website yourself and sell your services, or join marketplaces where producers buy and sell their music. Some examples are:


2) Become a Freelance Musician

In today’s era, freelancing has become an extremely popular way to generate income. It’s not a surprise that many creative types choose this route because it gives more power back into the hands of working professionals. People live comfortably connecting with other professionals via a digital marketplace by offering their services, and you can do that too! 

If you’re able to play an instrument, sing, mix and/or master, tune vocals, record artists, or provide any other music studio related services, you can connect with other musicians that are looking for specific jobs to be completed. 

Here on Melody Nest, we provide ways for you to sell your musical freelance jobs to those looking for:

Session Musicians
Audio Engineers

If you’d like to learn more about either finding a musical professional to work with, or to join our freelancer team, you can do so by clicking here.

3) Ghost Produce

A bit similar to selling beats, but it’s a little different.

In the music world, there is a little controversy in ghost producing. You’ll hear lots of people complain about other artists because they either ghost produce or have ghost writers.

What’s ghost producing? Basically, you’re creating music for someone else, selling all your rights to the song, and allowing the customer to claim the production as their own. Instead of selling a beat and letting a vocalist record vocal tracks on top in a type of collaborative effort, you sell the song itself for someone else to say that they made it themselves. See the difference?

Before you decide to ghost produce, make sure that you’re okay with selling away your music. Because once you sign the contract, the deal is done and you lose 100% of your rights to the music that you created.

If you’re able to get over the fear of your song “blowing up” and you not having any ties to it, then you’re able to make a substantial amount of money producing music for other people. I have personally seen artists sell their music for $500 dollars on websites like EDMGhostProducer

4) Sell Your Samples

Selling instrument packs, vocal samples, MIDI packs, and plugin presets, are all great ways to generate some income. Since you’re spending money on plugins, you might as well make that money back by utilizing your current resources, while simultaneously becoming a better music producer.

If you have VST’s like Serum, Sylenth, Omnisphere, etc… you’re able to create audio snippets, and sell them on websites like:

Prime Loops

Typically, sample packs have 100+ samples per bundle. If you’re able to record organic sounds in your surrounding environment (think recording acoustic guitar, drums, or even hitting a cup with a chopstick), this also gives you a leg up because your samples are completely original. This can take a good amount of time, but it can be worth it when done properly.

Splice does a great job of explaining how to create your sample packs here: Tips for creating your own sample pack.

Once you gather your samples and bundle them all in a nice folder, you’ll need to create cover art to sell to these platforms. Usually, the better your album cover, the more downloads you’ll attract. You can connect with our team of handpicked graphic designers on Melody Nest to create stunning artwork to help you stand out in the music sample marketplaces.

Note: Some of these websites are a lot more exclusive than others, so they might not accept your sample-packs. However, you can always sell your samples on your own.

5) Sync Licensing

Sync licensing is:

”an agreement between a music user and the owner of a copy-righted composition (song), that grants permission to release the song in a video format (You-Tube, DVDs, Blue-Ray discs). This permission is also called synchronization rights, synch rights, and sync rights (Source: Easy Song Licensing). 

At the end of the day, this idea is really simple– movies, TV, film, commercials, etc. usually need music to accompany their video, and they have to pay for that to happen.

This can be a large source of income for you. Here are some of the most popular websites that can help you land sync deals:

Epidemic Sound
Marmoset Music

In order to land a sync license, you’ll most likely have to be a pretty confidant music producer. So, if you’re brand new, focus on your craft for a while, and then apply to these companies.

6) Play Shows

Pretty self explanatory: play shows, get paid.

For some artists, going on tour can be the most lucrative part of being a musician. However, this usually takes a few years to find yourself at this point.

If you’re still in the beginning of your career– teach yourself how to DJ, play guitar, etc. and start getting to know the local bar and club scenes. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you still can earn a couple hundred bucks per night, and you’ll perfect your craft of playing live.

And if you can’t book any shows, grab your guitar, MPC, or whatever device you can play out live, and find some busy corner on the street and set up shop. You might be surprised how much money you pull in from just a few hours of playing in public.

7) Sell Merchandise

Selling t-shirts, hats, jerseys, flags, etc. is a great way to generate more revenue for your music career, and help spread the word about your brand. To sell merchandise, you’ll first need a logo, and other graphic design services, which you can find on Melody Nest.

According to Tone Deaf– “nowadays, touring artists earn between 10-35% of their revenue through merch sales…the very biggest names bring in $300,000-$400,000 USD per year”

If you’re playing shows, bring your merchandise to the event and set up a booth. If you don’t already have a website, make one, and sell your gear online! It can be a great way to make some money.


You don’t have to be another “starving musician” stereotype. Don’t undervalue yourself– music production is in high demand, and all you need to do is find the opportunities that are out there. Once you learn how to play the game, you’ll start to generate a solid income! And at the end of the day… you’ll be making money by doing what you love.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Quick Summary:
1) Sell Your Beats Online
2) Become a Freelance Musician
3) Ghost Produce
4) Sell Your Samples
5) Sync Licensing
6) Play Shows
7) Sell Merchandise

About me

My name is Nick Voorhees, and i’m an Icon Collective graduate, music producer, and owner of Melody Nest. I am in no way an expert in music production (or in any field), but I just wanted to share some insight on what helped me along the way. I hope this at least a little helpful.  

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