Making Extra Money While You Are On The Road

wallet© 2012 Vinny Ribas

It’s no secret that it is often challenging for artists on the road to make enough money to pay all of their tour expenses and still take home a decent salary. One solution is to find or create opportunities to generate additional income at the same time, such as those listed below. Many of these ideas also serve to bring added exposure for your scheduled gigs![private_pro]

  • You can record vocals or music tracks for others remotely.
  • Find a shopping center that will hire you to set up and perform during the day. Smaller centers are often open to this if you offer to pay them a percentage of your CD sales. You may offer to do this for little or no money in order to get in front of hundreds f potential new fans and attract them to your main gig.
  • Conduct a workshop or clinic on your area of expertise. Depending on the nature of your workshop, try to set it up through a local songwriter’s association, musician’s union, music store etc.
  • Perform at house concerts. If you can’t find an established one, ask your fans to hold them at their own homes. Teach them what to do to make it successful.
  • Perform a ‘business concert’. Ask your fans if one of them would book you to perform in their business during lunch to entertain their employees or customers. Sell your CDs.
  • You may have a fan who owns a restaurant who would love the opportunity to have entertainment for their lunch customers. These are great opportunities to sell CDs.
  • Book yourself to perform during happy hour at a venue other than your primary gig.
  • Offer to perform a free concert for a nonprofit if you can sell your CDs. Ask them to promote the show as a fundraiser and give them a percentage of the proceeds. You may be able to do this for free at a local library.
  • Perform at a school during the day. You might want to develop a particular educational or motivational program to offer that incorporates your music.
  • Offer to play for a Boys and Girls Club, YMCA or other organization to entertain their members. Again, a formal educational or motivational program can make this attractive. You can get paid as well as sell CDs and downloads.
  • Nursing homes, retirement homes, senior centers etc. often have entertainment budgets. Even if they don’t, you may want to take a chance on selling some CDs. You might be able to book yourself during the daytime.
  • Give private guitar lessons, voice lessons, songwriting lessons etc. Use YouTube and other social networks to broadcast a video of your playing, singing, songwriting etc, and then set up one-on-one or group appointments.
  • Sell your music and merchandise at a local flea market. Set up a boom box se or play it live.
  • Bring a compact product to sell at a local flea market (jewelry, leathercraft etc.). Find the right product and you can make some decent money. Sell your CDs and merch at the same time.
  • Offer to drive someone from one of the towns you’re playing in to where you are heading. Check out websites like
  • Have extra room in your vehicle? Offer to transport something for someone else. In other words, be a private courier service. Post your offer on and check the ride sharing sites as well.
  • If the venue has a great happy hour crowd, offer to play acoustically for a very small amount ($25?) for an hour in order to sell CDs and attract more people to your evening performance.
  • Look for high-profile public events like fairs, festivals (including street festivals, arts festivals etc), celebrations etc. Offer to play during the day for a reduced rate in order to sell CDs and merchandise. Schedule this far ahead of time!
  • If you are a strong songwriter, offer to conduct one-on-one paid song critiques. Set them up ahead of time.
  • You can conduct other kids of internet-based businesses as well from the road.
  • Offer to perform a concert for the local library to attract more people there. Some have budgets to pay for special programs.

Obviously, the right opportunity for you might not be listed here. This list is primarily designed to get you thinking outside the box. What skills or talents do you have that you can use to supplement your income without taking too much of your focus away from booking and marketing your primary gigs? You might want to just pursue one or two additional income streams in order to limit your time commitment. The bottom line is that it is possible to financially survive being on the road with just a little bit of ingenuity and effort.

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, a global business club for serious independent artists, songwriters, musicians and music professionals. Indie Connect helps its members increase their chances of success by providing practical career direction and education, combined with live and online industry networking opportunities. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full-time musician, an artist manager, a booking agent, songwriter and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He is a published author and popular speaker at music industry conferences.[/private_pro]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.