It’s no secret that the digital revolution certainly upended the traditional music industry–iPods were introduced two decades ago (!) and streaming services now account for the large majority of how consumers listen to music.

Unfortunately, streaming revenues can often yield only around a penny per stream, not to mention the fact that labels and publishers are still taking their cuts as well.

A new article from Forbes highlights the idea that it’s more important than ever for musicians and artists to understand how to leverage and maximize their earning potential.  These suggestions include:

1: Deciding whether streaming is right for you: Sure, streaming has incredible advantages, but there are other ways to monetize. Merchandising and live music continue to be solid revenue streams. During the pandemic, musicians have utilized virtual concert platforms that still allow connection with fans, while also providing marketing opportunities and purchase opportunities.

2: Utilize social media: With the advent of platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, it’s never been easier for artists to, as the article says, “introduce purchase opportunities for their music, merchandise, live events, and other revenue-drivers without middle-men like labels and distributors.” Other programs, like Patreon, offers a subscription service which allows content creators to engage directly with fans.

3: Align with a cause: This is when an artist connects their music with a meaningful organization, charity, and/or social movement. Not only are commitments to social movements increasingly expected from musicians, but it can also encourage fans to get involved–for example, buying merchandise where a portion of proceeds are donated to a charity.

4: Find collaborators: This can create an exciting cross-marketing opportunity for all involved.

By diversifying revenue streams and directly connecting with fans, artists can continue to navigate the often choppy waters of the digital domain.