- Apr 16, 2018
When I was a kid in a garage band, I used to think having a career in music involved two things: going on tour, and spending countless hours in the studio. Both involved spending time away from home and family. For a while, I thrived in that sort of environment. We’d throw our gear into the back of an old van and hit the road, for months on end. When we got back, we usually headed straight to the studio to work on our debut album (which we never got to release, I should add).
Good times, but I only managed to do all that because I was younger. Now I’m happily married and have two beautiful kids. While my rock n’ roll days are over, I still manage to make a living from music. And since I love being with my kids, most of my work is done from home. Yep, there are actually decent music-related jobs you can do from home! Twenty-year-old me would never have thought it was possible! But here we are.
If you’re interested in building a home-based music career, look no further. I’ll be listing some the jobs I’ve tried through the years.
1. Become a YouTube creator
It’s surprising that many musicians have built a following on a video platform. And I’m not just talking about big rock bands with million dollar music videos. A lot of independent musicians use YouTube as a platform for releasing their music.
To promote their music, these musicians sometimes do “viral” videos, like hooking up a guitar to 100 effects pedals, or playing death metal songs on a ukulele. They’re not related to the music per se, but they are fun to do, and they can build a following.
2. Teach music online
They say kids are more into computers and electronic music these days, but I beg to differ. Kids love the immediacy and tactile feeling they get using an actual instrument. I noticed more and more kids in our local music store. That’s when I got the idea to provide guitar classes. And doing things online provided convenience to myself and to my students, so I decided to provide those lessons via video chat.
I suggest you try giving online music lessons. It’s pretty lucrative, and you don’t have to waste time commuting. To promote your lessons, you can post ads in your local music shops, or community centers.
3. Become a home-based session musician
I was initially surprised to learn that I could record guitar parts for other artists in the comfort of my home studio. I used to think that being a session musician meant spending days (or even months) in a rented studio with a team of producers, engineers, and fellow musicians.
Not anymore! You can find songwriting, mixing, and recording tracks online. I’ve found session work via PeoplePerHour and Upwork. Granted, you won’t get work from the likes of Metallica or The Rolling Stones here, but it’s still a perfectly fine way to make a living.
Most of the work I got was for scoring indie movies and recording guitar parts for advertising jingles. A few times, I even recorded theme songs for a moderately successful TV show. I once heard a random stranger humming a theme song I wrote… that was the closest I ever felt to “making it”!
4. Transcribe music
If you’ve got a good ear (preferably perfect pitch), you can earn a decent amount of money transcribing music. This is one of the better-paying jobs I’ve found, mainly because not everyone can do it. In addition to having a good ear, you will also need to know how to write music. (Surprisingly, many musicians don’t know how to read music) I studied music in college, so I have a technical foundation that enabled me to do this job.
Most of my clients were academics who were analyzing old recordings of music. I once even transcribed the entire back-catalog of a very popular guitar player. The guy was brilliant, but he hit the bottle a bit too hard in the 1980s, and as a result, forgot how to play most of his old stuff. So I came in and transcribed all his old songs for him.
I got my music transcription jobs through PeoplePerHour, Upwork, as well as FlexJobs.
5. Start a music blog
Let’s face it: musicians are an opinionated bunch of people (present company included). Starting a blog was a great outlet for my ideas and opinions. For a while, I bounced between different topics. One day, my posts would be about obscure music I love. The next day, I would write an article about my old bands. It was fun to do, but to attract regular readers I had to focus.
I eventually found my niche: vintage effects pedals. I had built up a massive collection over the decades, and I was surprised to learn that a lot of these had become collector’s items. I didn’t want to sell them, so instead, I dedicated my blog to writing and demoing them (via my YouTube channel).
Most bloggers monetize their blogs through Google AdSense, but I made most of my earnings through sponsored content. Most of these vintage pedal companies also had modern product, so they paid me to promote their newer stuff.
The Verdict: Legit or Scam?
These are all legit ways to make a living from home! They allowed me to practice what I love, while maintaining a happy home life.
This review is based on my own experiences working from home as a musician. Now it’s your turn to share! How have you made a living from home as a musician?
Let’s hear your stories!