7 Ways to Make Money as a Christian Musician

musicians don’t make money. They’re all starving.

WRONG.

You can make money as a Christian musician; at least enough to support your family. I’m not talking about getting rich, but if your goal is to get rich then I hope you don’t play Christian music anyway.

The first thing that all of us as artists have to do is define what “success” is. For some of us “success” is simply being able to get in front of a crowd and share our music and our message. That’s great! For some of us, success means selling 1,000 CDs. That’s a good goal, too.

My family has set the goal (with my band Boochie Shepherd) of making enough money so that my wife can stay home and so that we can personally sponsor 2 full-time missionaries. Once we reach that goal, I will feel that I have succeeded.

When you play , it can be really easy to fall into the mindset that because you are ministering to people you should be playing for free or for very little; and it’s even easier for to fall into that mindset. But I want you to consider carefully the following passage from 1 Timothy 5:18:

“Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain. And the worker deserves his wages.”

Paul is specifically talking about the fact that ministers deserve to be taken care of. If you believe that your music is a , then you fall into that category as well. Consider that the next time a church tries to low-ball you. Don’t be rude by any means, but help them to see that you do have and that you are using the talents that God has blessed you with to meet those expenses.

The problem is that a lot of churches have small budgets, especially if you are playing for the youth group. So how do you supplement your live performance fee ()? Here are a couple of quick suggestions:

1. Be sure you have at least one product to sell. As a general rule, if it’s for sale, people will buy it. And live shows sell more CDs than you’ll probably ever sell through any distribution channel. So go out tomorrow and get t-shirts, hats, stickers… something!

2. Consider working for other or artists in your area. Do you have a level of expertise in some particular aspect of the music business (booking, web design, promotion, etc…) that would allow you to charge a small fee to other in exchange for your services? Take advantage of that!

3. Get an Electronic Press Kit (EPK). This can save you a ton of money on physical press kits. Try Sonicbids or Crossdogs.

4. Don’t give away anything! Even your momma has to pay for a CD. If she’s not gonna buy it, who is? Your family and friends should be supporting you even when no one else is.

5. Ask the venue to take care of your expenses. I know that sounds elementary, but some people (especially less experienced artists) never even think about this. If you are playing for churches, taking care of your expenses is usually a very easy thing for them to do. Ask them to provide meals and lodging for the band. If you’re not too good to eat a pot-luck and stay at somebody’s house instead of a hotel, you can save some cash. This can also give you more room to be flexible with your honorarium.

6. Dedicate yourself to your craft. This is a no-brainer. You should be working every day to become a better musician, singer, speaker, songwriter… whatever it is that you are doing. Dedicate a portion of your day everyday to getting better at what it is that you do. Becoming a better musician will pay dividends in the long run.

7. Above all, seek God’s guidance. If you believe that has blessed you with the talent to play music, by all means, do it. But be sure to seek his guidance. We probably all know people that are using “God wants me to do this” as an excuse to be able to do what it is that they want to do. Be honest with yourself and seek God’s will for your life.

With my band, Boochie Shepherd, we have tried to implement all of these things and have seen enough profit that I can set some realistic goals of having my wife stay home and of us being able to support missionaries with our income. I hope that you can take some of the ideas that Boochie has used (however simple they may be) and put them to work for you!


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~ by fatkidrecords on June 28, 2007.

6 Responses to “7 Ways to Make Money as a Christian Musician”

  1. Hey my man!

    I just stumbled on your site and thought I’d say a quick hello! I’m a full time musician and we are doing something similar! I thought I’d show you my site and maybe we can link back and forth and hook each other up.

    Be well,
    Denis

  2. Hi – I’m looking to commission about 30 songs from independent Christian musicians. Can you guys help me? Would you like to submit some? Do you know other artists who would like to do something like this?

  3. This is good advice. I’m starting out in the christian music industry but I’ve always been accustomed to playing for free. Its impossible to live like this so I appreciate the verse you put in. I’m good enough to do this full time but lack any direction. So thanks!

  4. That was very powerful message. I am a Christian artist also and it is in God’s hands to bless our music ministry. This is my info if you are interested.
    http://www.danielmartinezmusic.com or http://www.myspace.com/danielmartinezmusic

    All the bless Daniel Martinez

  5. Hi Boochie guy. I mean no disrepspect, but I think this advice is bad. First of all, you misuse that verse and use it to justify what you do. Please discern in the Spirit or if you can’t, get your pastor to discern for you – if you want a true verse, quote Matthew 10:8(b): Freely you received, so freely give. Labour is what you do (to earn a living), like a day job… I hope you get what I’m sayin’. Now as for the talent God gave you to “minister” for His sake – you cannot sell this – Jesus never sold His ministry or asked for money when He preached to thousands – even if you think you wrote the songs, God gave you the words when you listened to your pastor or were encouraged by others or something in nature captivated your thoughts (it;s all God my friend) – consider this and if you still feel the way you do, I hope you know that you are compromising and justifying. If you don’t have a day job, get one. I have one and support my family through it and God still bless me with time to study, work at my skills and talents and most of all, do His work (freely) – He provides enough for a daily needs… never forget that.

  6. I sort of see where Gabriel is coming from, but as a working musician myself, I do not feel that supporting myself as a musician is “compromising” or “justifying” at all. I think that as musicians we have the right to expect to be paid for our work, the same way that other people do. If a venue or a church is genuinely not able to pay, by all means, do it for nothing, or next to nothing…and I think God will bless that. But when someone can pay an artist a fair wage but is unwilling to do so, they are taking advantage and are not displaying a Christ-like character. That is where the descernment comes in to play.

    If God blessed me with a talent for carpentry (which He did not, by the way), I would not go to work every day and not take a paycheck simply because God uses me as a minister on the construction site. Let’s stop looking at music as ministry and other forms of employment as day jobs. We are ministers of the Gospel no matter what we are doing.

    I’m new to this blog, but I’m liking what I’m reading so far. Keep it up.

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