Musicians, like many entrepreneurs, are always looking for passive income streams.
Passive income is income that you earn without actively working for it, often on a product that took work on the front end, but then earns money on the back end without your constant involvement.
Many artists already have passive income, when you think about it.
When you put out an album, and people stream it and buy it, you are earning passive income. Of course, you poured many hours and a bunch of money into your album, but once it’s done, it continues to earn money without further investment.
Similarly, earning royalties on a song you wrote is passive income. Once you write the song, it has the potential to be out there, earning you money.
Playing gigs, on the other hand, is not passive income. It’s income for a service. You’re trading your time for money.
There are many other passive income streams for artists, and today we’re going to look at affiliate marketing as a passive income stream for musicians.
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What Is Affiliate Marketing?
For those who don’t know, affiliate marketing is a common way for content creators of all kinds to make money.
Basically, your fans can do their shopping on a given website through a link provided on your website. Because you referred them to that site, you’ll get a cut of the profit on whatever your fan buys.
This is extremely popular with podcast creators and YouTubers. They will have a link to either a specific product or just an Amazon affiliate link on their website. By clicking on that link, fans can do their normal online shopping, while supporting their favorite content creators.
Affiliate marketing also takes the form of online ads. Companies pay other companies (like Google) to put their ads on relevant sites. Then, when a customer clicks through to the advertised product on your site, you’ll get a small fee for that service.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to do much of anything to make money with it.
You probably already have a website, most of you are probably offering fans different ways to support you – affiliate marketing is just one more revenue stream to capitalize on.
On the other hand, actually making money with affiliate marketing is not easy.
As far as ads go, if you have a low-traffic website that is very specifically focused on your music, you probably won’t get very many ad placements or clickthroughs.
If you have a large, supportive fan base, you may be able to earn money from an affiliate program like the Amazon Associates program (Google ‘Amazon Associates' and you'll find sign up details), but even that can be a hard sell.
How to Set Yourself Up As An Affiliate Marketer
Becoming an affiliate partner on any large store is often easy. This is because affiliate marketing doesn’t cost the store anything upfront. They only pay out commissions on products affiliates help them sell. It’s basically just a way for them to drive more sales.
You can set up an Amazon affiliate program by going to Amazon and creating an account.
You need to go through one approval process, then you’re good to go.
Being an affiliate for a company like Amazon is nice, because you have a lot of control.
You can choose from over a million products to advertise to people who follow you.
They have well-organized, simple linking tools to help monetize your web presence.
With Amazon specifically, you can earn up to 10% on products that people buy after clicking your Amazon affiliate link. You’ll earn that cash on almost anything someone buys through your affiliate link (not just whatever product you’ve advertised).
Becoming an affiliate marketer for a smaller company is also a good way to earn some income.
Basically, a company will either get in touch with you, or you’ll get in touch with a company, and then the company will set up a discount code for you to provide to your customers.
Then, you’ll earn a set amount of money on every sale made with your discount code.
Many artists and content creators prefer this way of doing things, because they can then directly support a company they believe in.
Whether it’s an ethical clothing company, a coffee company, or a mattress company, you have an audience that buys stuff. Companies want to be associated with brands that people think are cool, so it’s not wrong to monetize that.
Things To Keep In Mind
Advertisements and affiliate marketing programs are a good way to earn a bit of extra income, but there are some things to consider.
Are Your Marketing Efforts Taking Away From Your Music?
When you’re just starting out, all of the focus should be on your music. If you spend all of your time figuring out how to monetize your modest fan base, you’ll probably end up alienating them.
Be careful with your advertising efforts, and make sure they aren’t taking away from your music.
Do You Fully Endorse The Product You’re Marketing?
It’s extremely important (especially in this day and age) to ensure that the company that you are endorsing is a good company without any skeletons in their closet.
You need to make sure that aesthetically, the company fits with your brand. If you write politically charged, left-leaning songs, it’s probably makes no sense to have advertisements for the NRA on your website.
On the other hand, if you are writing country songs, and are a member of the NRA yourself, go for it.
It just has to make sense!
Keep Your Fans In Mind
Finally, always keep your fans in mind when you are trying to monetize your fan base.
You are lucky to have people supporting your music and your art and you don’t want to take this for granted. If people feel like you are only in it to take their money, they will lose interest.
It’s always best to promote things that you use and know something about, whether it’s an instrument, a mail-delivery razor service, or skincare products.
Being honest and candid will help you create a successful affiliate marketing relationship while keeping your fans.