There’s no denying that the holiday season is the absolute best time of year to boost your music-related income. With reports that 20 percent of industry-wide music sales happen in the final six weeks of the year, it would be silly to squander the opportunity. There are plenty of ways you can make more money as a musician this holiday season, and here are just a few ideas to get you started that you can put into action right now.
1. Live-stream a holiday concert
If you have fans in a lot of different cities, live-stream a holiday concert from your living room so everyone can tune in. You don’t need a fancy, expensive setup to pull this off successfully – a reliable internet connection paired with a decent webcam and microphone will do just fine. Put up some (non-distracting) holiday decorations in the background, center yourself in the shot, and you’re good to go!
If you want to kick up your views a notch, consider inviting a special guest to perform duets with you, accompany you, or alternate songs with you. It’ll keep your audience more engaged, and you’ll both benefit from the cross-promotion to each other’s fans.
If you just want to use your online concert to promote your new music or upcoming shows, you can use a tool as simple as Facebook Live or YouTube Live. However, if you want to monetize the concert itself, your best bet is to use a platform like Gigee or Concert Window. You can sell tickets through Gigee, or you can accept tips during the live stream through Concert Window.
2. Send out a holiday email newsletter
You may have thousands of social media fans, but email is still the best way to make sales, especially during the holiday season. Dress your email template up with some fun holiday cheer, and make sure you offer a limited-time sale on your music and merch to create a sense of urgency and drive more purchases.
3. Give your profile or website a makeover
Whether you’re trying to sell an original Christmas tune or tickets to a holiday benefit concert, be sure to update your profile or website with whatever you’re trying to promote front and center. Choose in-theme visuals and place a clear and specific call to action where everyone can see it. If you want to really look like a pro, make sure you keep that branding consistent across your social media pages and email newsletters as well.
4. Partner with a local business or artist
If your goal is to reach a wider audience, consider partnering with another local act and release a joint holiday EP for cross-promotion. You could also bundle your merch with products from a local visual artist, designer, or filmmaker for unique gift baskets. It’s mutually beneficial, it’ll help you stand out, and you’ll form relationships with people who you could collaborate with again down the road on music videos, album artwork, tours, and more.
5. Book holiday gigs and parties
It’s no secret that live entertainment is in high demand during the holiday season. Restaurants, retail stores, festivals, community events, malls, private parties, houses of worship, and more are all looking to book talent, especially around Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you do this far enough in advance, you can even turn your string of holiday shows into a mini-tour!
Ideally, you’ll have booked your holiday gigs several months ahead of time, but if not, take a look at the events coming up in your community and see if you can jump on anything as an opener. You can also try asking friends and relatives if the companies they work for are hosting holiday parties, and see if they’d be interested in booking your band.
6. Host a benefit concert
Having a hard time getting booked? Book yourself! Research both traditional and nontraditional event spaces in your area, get your most talented and reliable musician friends on board to round out the lineup, and donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity or nonprofit organization that you’re passionate about.
You’ll bring in more people than usual if you emphasize that it’s a unique event for a good cause, and you’ll have the chance to earn new fans as a result. It’s a lot of work to organize your own show, but when you know you’re helping out a charity that you care about, it’s that much more rewarding!
7. Get your holiday single on themed Spotify playlists
Most people nowadays flock to Spotify to get their holiday cheer on. Send off your new holiday single to curators to try to get it included on relevant playlists. If you’re not having much luck, you can always create your own holiday playlist with a few of your songs sprinkled in, and share it with your friends and fans to listen to.
You may not make mountains of cash from those streams alone, but if people discover you through a playlist and like your sound, there’s a good chance they’ll look up the rest of your music or try to find out when your next show is.
8. Run a holiday style digital ad
Running a digital ad doesn’t have to be expensive, and it’s actually pretty simple to do with a tool like Promote It. You can promote your holiday single, album, video, or even a live show on places like Facebook, YouTube, Billboard, Pitchfork, and more. Customize the ad with holiday themed text to get your message across at the right time and place.
Lisa Occhino is the founder of SongwriterLink, a free songwriting collaboration website that matches you up with exactly the kind of co-writers you’re looking for. She’s also a pianist, award-winning songwriter, and graduate of Berklee College of Music.