If you’re looking for a great side hustle that offers the opportunity to make a little extra income, then consider using your home studio for some extra cash. If you don’t have a home studio yet, don’t worry, we’ll cover some essentials about how you can set one up if you are looking for some bonus revenue.
Can you make money with a home studio? Yes, you can make money with a home studio by offering services like tracking, producing, mixing, and mastering to the public. Also, by reaching out to the general community and not just musicians when offering your home studio services, you can make extra cash in your spare time.
Since there isn’t a lot of information available online covering how to make money with a home studio, we put together this article to help you out. Here you’ll find all the information you’ll need to get started with a new income stream from your home studio.
Starting Your Home Studio
If you have a passion for music and the knowledge to start recording, kick-starting your own private home recording studio can be an intrinsically rewarding and enjoyable way to earn money on the side. Some people have even been able to quit their day jobs and use their home recording studios as their primary sources of income.
While that probably sounds like a dream come true, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet. First, we’ll cover what you’ll need to get your home recording studio going and how much that will cost. So, if you are willing to invest some time and money into starting your new business, you might find a happy path to success relatively quickly.’
What Will A Home Recording Studio Cost?
Whenever you are starting any new business, the potential cost of the investment becomes a concern. Since price is such a significant factor when it comes to starting a home recording studio, we’ll cover what you’ll need to get started.
Now, when trying to figure out how much your home recording studio will cost, you’ll need to figure out what type of equipment you need. When some people want to start their home studios, they’ll spend as much as $100,000, while other people might find what they need for $500.
We recently wrote an article on how you can set up a home recording studio for under $1000. But it really depends what you want to do and you can definitely start making money with a lot less equipment.
You can check out places like eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, or your local newspaper to find some high-quality, used recording equipment if you are shopping on a budget. Often, you can find great prices on used recording equipment, and that will save you a lot of money while still getting the job done.
What You’ll Need for Your Home Recording Studio
If you don’t have any equipment for your home recording studio yet and you’re wondering about what you’ll need to have, we’ve got you covered. If you want a more comprehensive ‘buying guide’ on home studio essentials then check out this link. But for now, we’ve created a list of the absolute essentials below. So, to start your home recording studio, you’ll need to own:
- An area in your house where you can set-up your equipment and complete your recordings. That means you’ll want to dedicate a room in your house, if possible, to become your home recording studio.
- Next, you’ll need to buy a computer or laptop that has decent enough specifications for audio production. You can check out this article for a full guide of what to look for in a laptop. These days even cheaper laptops are capable of doing basic audio editing, but if you want to record music with lots of tracks it is worth getting something with plenty of memory and with a good processor.
- Next you will need a digital audio workspace (also known as a DAW). DAW software comes in a variety of price brackets from the free to the very expensive. If you are just doing some simple production or editing there is free software available such as Audacity or Garageband which are great for simple tasks. But if you are going to be producing or editing music it is worth paying a bit for an industry-standard such as Logic, FL Studio or Ableton to get editing features built-in. They all have their merits and whichever one you become good with and dedicate the time to learning should work fine.
- If you are planning on recording music such as vocals, it is worth getting an audio interface so you can plug the necessary equipment into that computer. You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of cables to hook up everything you’ll need.
- Purchase a good-quality microphone. You don’t want to skimp out and save money when it comes to the microphone. Your mic is going to be one of the essential items in your studio, and the better the microphone, the better the recording. So, when purchasing your mic, remember it’s better to buy a more expensive one.
- A MIDI keyboard or MIDI controller are a great way to be able to write lots of music without spending a lot of money. For a full explanation of the power of MIDI in music production check out this article. However, depending on the DAW system you are using, you might have everything you need through mouse-click samples and your computer keyboard.
- You’ll also want to get a high-quality set of monitor speakers to complete your mixings as well as a good pair of studio headphones. Again, with your speakers and your headphones, you want to make sure you purchase high-quality items and that you don’t skimp out here. You’ll need good speakers and headphones to make great recordings. for an explanation of why you can’t just use laptop speakers or normal computer speakers check out this article.
After you purchase the items above, you’ll have the basics you’ll need to get your home recording studio started. Keep in mind that this list is fundamental, but it’s something you can use to get your home recording studio started.
Do You Need Experience?
Many people also wonder how much experience they need before they start their home recording studios. That answer can vary widely depending on how much time you are willing to invest.
If you’re very new to home recording, you don’t necessarily need experience to get started. If you are willing to educate yourself about the process and take time to learn, you should be fine. If you aren’t sure where to go to teach yourself, places like YouTube and Google offer plenty of free “how-to” guidance (or of course there are many articles on this website for you to browse through which cover most things from recording guitars to which microphone to buy. There are also affordable courses on Udemy that cover the basics and cost as little as $10.99 per class.
Some people come into the home recording studio business with a lot of amateur experience as musicians that have been recording their music. However, that’s not true of everybody that starts a home recording studio. If you aren’t knowledgeable about things like music notation, chords, keys, making sounds, etc., then you will run into a steep learning curve.
Although you’ll likely need to overcome a learning curve with some education if you are new to recording music in a home studio, you’ll find that once you start learning about music, you can never really stop learning about it. There are so many evolving aspects when it comes to music and the technology required to record it that you’ll always be learning new things once you start the process.
How to Make Money with a Home Studio
Now that we’ve covered the basics and what you’ll need to get started with your home recording studio, we’ll cover how you can make money with a home studio. Some of these methods are going to take a long time to see any rewards but some you can get started almost straight away.
Record and Sell Your Own Music
Spotify and Youtube
This is the way that everyone thinks they will make money in a home studio. By recording some killer tracks and selling them. But the reality is it takes a long time to do build up a following and to eventually make money. Gone are the days when people would buy CD albums, now the likes of Spotify and Youtube are where people head to listen to music for free (with occasional adverts).
It isn’t that difficult to get your music on Spotify and literally anyone can put their music on Youtube for free. The hard part is getting people to actually go there and listen.
On Spotify you will receive between $0.006 and $0.008 per stream. So you are going to need to get quite a lot of streams before you even pay back the money you spent on equipment! On Youtube you can make around $3 to $5 per 1000 views. So once again you are going to need more of a following than just your friends and family to make money.
This is the harsh reality of the music business these days. There are some benefits as you don’t necessarily need a record producer or promoter so you save money there, but it means that so many more people are putting music out there and so the competition for listens is higher than ever. Even top bands now make most money from gigging or from merch sales not music streams.
Create soundtracks and stock music
With more people making Youtube content than ever before there are more people in need of music for soundtracks. There is also always a need for stock music for advertisers to use in commercials or other content.
You can either create music in advance that you think is cool and someone may want and then list it on a stock music website for people to buy, or you can create custom music on request to fulfill a client’s needs. The latter option probably pays more but you have to find the client and it can be stressful trying to make something they are happy with.
Some places you can list your stock music include:
Pond 5 and Audio Jungle are the best places to start out. They are free to join and there are a large number of people coming to look at those sites to look to purchase music, they are known as the go-to places for stock music.
On Pond 5 you can set the price of your own track from $20 upwards, and you get 50% of that fee. I have sold music on Pond 5 and the most I have sold a track for is $50 so you have to sell quite a few but it is definitely easier than marketing and selling music as a band or artist.
The good thing about Pond 5 is that they will pretty much let you put any music on there as long as the quality isn’t terrible. They leave it up to the customers to decide if the music is worth buying.
Audio Jungle is more complicated, all songs sell for $19. The amount of that $19 that you receive depends on whether your music is exclusively on their site or not. If it is exclusive you get a higher percentage than if it is listed elsewhere, but bear in mind you lose all rights to that song. I would advise against that at first even though you earn more money, you can always convert to exclusive later but you can never convert back! The percentages of commission vary quite a bit so go to the website for a bit more information.
Different to Pond 5, Audio Jungle prefers more polished, commercial sounding music designed for films and backgrounds. For this reason, the standard they accept is higher and so you will find you need to be quite good at making music before they will accept it.
Creating Sample Packs
With a move towards many people producing electronic music, many people are building new tracks by using samples rather than recording their own music from scratch. Drums, in particular, are really difficult to record well in a studio and so people look to drum samples to create music instead.
A sample can range from a simple ‘hit’ of a drum to a full section loop.
So if you have instruments such as drums or keyboards in your studio and you can record high-quality samples, you an package them up into what is known as a ‘sample pack’. These sample packs are then bought by producers who will use your sounds to build up their own musical pieces.
A sample pack will usually contain a few different folders, one with some drum hits, one with drum loops, one with some instrument sounds and perhaps even some vocal samples. Make sure you clearely label these and include a decent amount of info such as the beats per minute (BPM) in each file name to help the end-user.
Once packaged up there are many places you can sell these online. These include amongst others:
Make a Podcast
Like with writing and releasing your own music, creating a podcast can make you money but it will be a long road and you have to be pretty committed. I would definitely not expect to make a quick buck from this method and it could take years to get enough listeners to start throwing in adverts or setting up a Patreon account and asking for money.
That being said podcasts are growing in popularity with more and more people listening to them all the time. So if you have something good to say and you want to use this as a method to show off your audio recording studio skills then it can be a lot of fun.
Having even basic home recording equipment such as a good microphone along with a few editing skills will set you apart from many amateur podcast producers who in all honesty don’t sound that great.
I started a podcast around one year ago (not on music on something entirely different) and it has been a lot of fun to make but I am yet to make any money from it. That being said with very little promotion it gets over 5000 listens a month so I could probably start to monetize it soon if I wish.
If you listen to any popular podcasts you will notice many have short ads interspersed amongst the main content. There are several ad companies that will help you with this (such as www.advertisecast.com) but you will probably need around 10,000 listeners per episode before you can get involved.
Offer Audio Engineering Services
One way you can make some side money with your home studio is by offering all types of audio engineering to musicians. You can offer services like tracking, producing, mixing, and mastering. Also, if you can offer all kinds of audio engineering services to musicians, they’ll be more likely to work with you because they can go to one person and save a bit of time when they need to get everything done.
You won’t need to become a mixing engineer to perform successful audio engineering services. However, you do want to learn everything you can as an engineer so that you can provide all types of audio engineering services to musicians.
This is not a tactic for the absolute beginner, you will need to know about EQ and levels which is a skill you can’t just pick up overnight. You will also need to be able to use advanced editing techniques such as compression, panning and other methods to get a truly polished professional sound.
It is also worth bearing in mind which software your clients are likely to be using so they can easily send you the tracks for editing without needing to do too much conversion. If you are wanting to mix electronic music Ableton Live might be the DAW of choice or for rock music, it is most likely to be Logic or Cubase. You won’t be able to do any professional quality music audio editing in free software so you will need to invest money into a DAW and then time into learning.
If you are doing any mixing or mastering it is also essential to have good high-end monitor speakers and an acoustically treated room so you can hear the ‘true’ sound you are editing. You don’t want to edit a track to sound great on your headphones which will sound rubbish to your client on theirs.
When learning the ropes there are more basic audio editing services you can offer which don’t require as much experience. One of these is podcast editing.
Podcasts have risen in popularity dramatically and many people are now recording them who have no audio editing experience at all. Get them to send you the audio and you can edit out any long pauses, add in intro and outro music and generally make it sound much more professional without much work. You can even use more advanced techniques such as EQ to get rid of any unwanted echo or background noises (to some extent).
For podcast editing, you can get started with minimal equipment, a decent pair of studio headphones and a laptop with a free DAW such as Audacity is all you need for a very basic podcast editing setup.
To Other Industries
Audio restoration is something to look into. I recently read of someone who made money doing audio restoration and audio clean up services for the local police. He has assisted police when wiretap issues have gone wrong, and the sound needs to be cleaned up.
You can also offer services that will help restore old audio recordings that hold sentimental value to people. Restoring old audio from a long-lost relative or a passed away loved one is also an intrinsically rewarding experience because of the happiness you’ll find it brings people.
Offer Lessons and Classes
Once you’ve gotten knowledgeable about your home recording studio and you’ve spent plenty of time familiarizing yourself with what you need to do, you can offer lessons and classes. If you are already a musician and you know how to play an instrument, you can teach people music.
However, giving lessons on an instrument isn’t the only way you can teach people about music. You can offer lessons in audio recording and audio editing. You can teach people how to start their home recording studios based on what you’ve learned and your own experiences.
If you decide to teach about making audio recordings, you can either offer one-on-one lessons to people or have people sign up for assigned classes together.
Offer Live Sound and Lighting Services
You don’t need to limit yourself to just recording with your studio experience and education. You can also offer live sound and lighting services to local festivals and bands. While that does mean you’ll also need to purchase a P.A. system large enough to perform well, you’ll find that the investment will pay for itself quickly.
Live sound and lighting service gigs tend to pay ample amounts of money and are an excellent opportunity for you to get your name and experience out there. While we don’t recommend jumping straight into the live sound and lighting gigs out there, once you’ve gotten a bit of experience under your belt, this is a great way to earn substantial extra income while attracting more business.
Since not all people with home studios are ready to take the step into live sound and lighting service gigs due to the investment in the P.A. system and the extra time it takes to learn how to do this successfully, it will open a lot of potential to you if you are willing to take the chance.
We highly recommend you focus on making live sound and lighting service gigs a service you eventually provide. You’ll wind up making a good deal of side income this way, and your reputation will also pick up quickly because of the free public advertising you’ll get when you are at live gigs. You’ll be able to network with musicians and others in the music industry, getting your name out and around in public quickly.
Where to Sell Your Services Online
When people usually think of starting a home recording studio and recording their music, this is typically the dream they envision. However, you won’t be limited only to selling your services online with your home recording studio if you want to make a bit of extra money. We recommend using all of the approaches we’ve already described if you’re going to capitalize on your studio.
To get started selling your services online, you can jump onto some of the freelancer-for-hire websites that are available online today. Some of them sell audio and recording related services, and you can offer your skills as a freelancer on these types of websites.
Freelancing on Fiverr
One of the best websites you can get started on as an audio-related freelance service provider is at Fiverr.com. Now, you won’t make a lot of money on this website when you are first starting. You’ll probably get something like $5 to $10 per gig. However, it’s an excellent way to get started and begin building your reputation if you don’t mind selling your services for cheap.
Most people looking for freelancers in the audio field on websites like Fiverr will want things like cleaning up audio noise, editing music files, or splicing tracks together. You may wind up providing records for YouTube videos and other simple services like this.
While you won’t make a lot of money per gig on Fiverr, none of the jobs you pick up should require much time, and you’ll probably only work on one song at a time. That will allow you to get some money while you also build experience and earn a good reputation. If you decide to get started with Fiverr, here are a few things you’ll need to know:
- Even though the website is named “Fiverr” and previously only offered services that were $5 per gig, freelancers can now list their services on Fiverr for more than just $5. Nowadays, you can list the price of your services in increments of five.
- You can also set up a base price for services with Fiverr, and then offer upgrades. For instance, you can suggest one song edit for $10, and an additional song edit upgrades for $5 for the second song. That way, you can entice people to spend more because they’ll feel like they are saving money.
Freelancing on Upwork
Besides Fiverr, another good website to offer your potential freelancing skills at is Upwork.com. On Upwork, you’ll find a better variety of jobs, better-paying jobs, and a very professional atmosphere in comparison to Fiverr. However, Upwork is still very competitive, so you may need to do tasks for cheap to compete with the other freelancers at first.
- With Upwork, you’ll have to bid on jobs, and it does cost money to bid on jobs. However, as long as you offer your services for cheap, you’ll attract clients and build up your profile.
- Also, if you have already started building your reputation before starting on Upwork, you should at least be keeping a website. That way, you can show profiles of your work and showcase what you’ve done in the past.