Ten Virtual Income Opportunities for Pianists (but they apply to all musicians)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a full-time income playing the piano? Most musicians dream of making their living doing what they love. Unfortunately, that can be easier said than done! Making a reliable income through playing live shows and private events isn’t easy, especially in these trying times.

If you really want to be able to rely solely on your piano income, you need to establish diversified income streams online. There are lots of virtual income opportunities for pianists if you know where to look. You might even be able to make a living completely online if you’re willing to invest the time and think creatively.

virtual income opportunities

Are you ready to make money online playing the piano? Here are 10 virtual income opportunities for pianists to point you in the right direction!


  1. Teach Online Piano Lessons

Teaching online piano lessons is a great way to make money with your piano and your knowledge. Working over the internet allows you to work with piano students from all over the world and it gives you a chance to practice your own piano skills at the same time. To get started, you’ll need to install free video chat software such as Facetime, Skype, or Zoom on your tablet, laptop, or phone with a webcam. There are also several online platforms music teachers can use to connect with students who want to learn various instruments.


  1. Sell Merchandise Online

Every musician should have a website for promoting their shows and selling CDs, but don’t stop there! Music fans love to promote musicians they love by wearing personalized merchandise such as t-shirts, buttons, hats, and hoodies. Stickers, PDFs of your lyrics, autographed photos, and posters are often a huge hit with fans, too.


  1. Collect Digital Royalties

Don’t overlook the opportunity to collect digital royalties on your music by signing up for a free account with Sound Exchange. Any time a streaming music platform plays one of your songs, they’re required to pay you royalties. Online streaming platforms that play piano music include webcasts, podcasts, cable TV music channels, Pandora, and Sirius XM radio.


  1. Create Music for Film and Video

Business and creators always need licensed music to use in their projects. Another way for pianists to make money online is by working with a music licensing agency. Companies like Marmoset provide music licensing for film and video and connect pianists with creators who need licensed tracks. Not only will you make money when your music is chosen to use in a project, but you may also get listed in the credits, which gets your name out there and could lead to more work down the road.


  1. Set Up a Patreon Page for Your Fans

Patreon is an online platform that pianists can use to make money by collecting small monthly pledges from their fans. As a pianist, you can offer your fans incentives based on the size of their pledge. Many musicians have pledge levels ranging from $1 to $25 each month, and those pledges can really add up to a decent monthly income boost if you have a large enough fan base. Entice fans of your piano music to join your Patreon by exclusive content like behind the scenes vlogs or live streams right from your profile page. Higher-level pledges can be rewarded with things like VIP passes to shows, free music or video downloads, or sneak peeks of songs that are about to be released.


  1. Make Money Virtually with YouTube

Pianists who want to make money online should definitely take advantage of two different opportunities on YouTube. First, you should set up your own YouTube channel featuring behind the scenes vlogs, music videos, or even piano lessons for students at various skill levels. If your videos get a decent amount of views, you can monetize them with ads and make some extra money. Second, you can allow other creators to use your piano music in videos they monetize. You will get a percentage of any advertising earnings directly from YouTube.


  1. Do Virtual Live Performances

Doing virtual live performances allows you to do shows right from your cozy piano studio at home and broadcast them to fans from all over the world. You can ask for donations or tips during the performance or charge a fee to access the show. Be sure to promote your Patreon page, CDs, and merchandise throughout the show, too. You can collect tips and donations easily with platforms like Venmo or PayPal.me. Facebook Live provides a fantastic set of tools for pianists who want to offer live shows through their platform.


  1. Offer Private Live Shows on Skype or Facetime

Private live shows on Skype or Facetime are quite similar to virtual live performances, but they’re for private events only. A great way to set this up is to offer them as a gift option on your website. A fan can buy a one-hour private show for a special occasion, such as for his wife on their anniversary. Then, you play your beautiful, romantic piano music for an hour during a special dinner or drinks and give them a one of a kind experience.


  1. Write Custom Songs

Many musicians overlook this option as a way to make money virtually, but fans love the idea. They already love your sound, so why not offer to create custom pieces just for them. You get to earn money by writing them a personalized song for themselves or as an incredibly unique gift. What could be better than that? And, it’s another service you can offer right from your website.


  1. Write Music for Other Musicians

If you enjoy writing music and you’re pretty good at it, why not earn some extra money ghostwriting music for other musicians? Once you get your name out there, you can make a really good income offering this service. In fact, many famous musicians use music that was originally written by a ghostwriter.


Wrap Up

Hopefully, these 10 virtual income opportunities for pianists will spark your creativity and give you some inspiration to come up with more ideas of your own. As a pianist in today’s society, it’s tough to earn enough money to get by with touring and live shows. But, modern technology allows you to connect with fans anywhere in the world, so you might as well take advantage of it to advance your career!

Olivia has been an avid music lover since the day she learned to play her first piano chord. Having mastered her craft, she now spends the majority of her time writing about music when she's not teaching piano herself. She contributes to multiple music websites and loves writing helpful articles for fellow musicians in the industry.

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The whole world is lock down now, people are spending their time sitting at home. It is really great to find this inspirational post in this situation. I appreciate your tips and research. Hope the new pianist will love this.

Hi Mark,
We are so glad to hear you found inspiration in this article. We hope you are still finding joy in music making during these hard times!

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