How to Make Money on the Road as a Musician

by | Oct 14, 2017 | Travel & Work, Digital Nomadism, Guest Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a guest post from my friends over at who are almost as obsessed with traveling as I am!

Ever wanted to just grab your instrument, pack your bags and head out onto the open road? Yeah, me too, and millions of others in the world too. The brave few who do will most likely not have endless amounts of cash in the bank to keep them sleeping in a bed rather than their car.

Do you dream of going on the road as a musician? Do you want the freedom and experiences this can give you? Do you have no idea on how to make money on the road?

If you have answered yes to these, read on and let me give you a few tips to help wandering musicians.

All Fun and Games?

If you have chosen the life of an on the road musician, you need to be prepared. Life might not be the rock ‘n roll lifestyle you dreamed of. Have a read of this guy’s daily life as a band member.

Tip Sir? (Or how to make those dollars)

#1 to Make Money on the Road as a Musician: Busking

We’ve all seen them; often in busy high streets or on the subway. A hat, guitar case on the floor. Some of the fancy buskers even have microphones plugged in. An easy way for most people to get quick money is by simply doing what you love in a public area. Also a grand hope that passersby will feel generous enough to give you tips.

  1. Countries and cities have different busking laws.You may need a license.
  2. Select the right location and time. No point in busking at noon if no-one is around.
  3. Pick the right songs to play. Hint: depressing songs at Christmas might not work.

#2 to Make Money on the Road as a Musician: Gigs

If you are lucky enough to have a few contacts in the world, get calling them now. Being on the road can be tough, so it’s useful to know a few people. If you can book a gig at a venue, you know the journey is paid for a little. Gigs can vary in pay, from audience and venue size to the negotiations skills you have when discussing money.

  1. Try to make as many contacts as possible before starting out on the road
  2. Practise, practise, practise. Nothing is worse than last minute nerves and an unrehearsed set.
  3. Negotiate pay fairly but firmly.

#3 to Make Money on the Road as a Musician: Selling Merchandise

You may be an unknown. Your mom might be the only person who has bought your CD so far. But that doesn’t mean people won’t buy your stuff. Burn a few CDs. Create a logo. Order some T-shirts with your band on. Make some badges, pins, bookmarks! If you have room in your car, fill it with merchandise.

  1. Get a variety of products. Even if only one person buys something each day, that is still money in your pocket.
  2. If you can, take them everywhere. You never know, a Simon Cowell like figure might see them.
  3. Depending on budget, hire a professional graphic designer for your logo. You want to look like a professional.

#4 to Make Money on the Road as a Musician: Making Money Online

Believe it or not, there’s a whole world of cash making opportunity on that thing called the internet (in fact, you’re on it now :-). Some ideas for making money online from your music:

  1. Getting ad revenue from your videos on YouTube
  2. Doing online tutorials
  3. Ghostwriting music and lyrics
  4. Writing for music blogs


Get out there!

There you go my friends, a few tips on how you can be earning money on the road as a musician. With a bit of confidence, some know-how and talent; you can add to your income easily.

PS: Title photo taken by Mike Giles.


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