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What a Music Licensing Side Hustle Looks Like

music licensing

Over the past three years, I’ve gone from knowing nothing about the music business to building a music licensing side hustle that’s earned me over $10,000! I did all this part time, from the “comfort” of my studio (read: living room). And I have no connections, no incredible talents, and pretty simple gear. 

So how did I do it? How do you make money licensing music?

The Start of My Side Hustle

Well, first I made a ton of mistakes. It was a learning process, and I was hurt a lot along the way after having my songs rejected from sites. But I knew I loved making music, and I was going to make it whether I got paid or not.

By the way, if you want to start applying this as your music side hustle, check out this free five-day music licensing crash course.

So the first thing I did is look for the best site to license my music on. I wasn’t good enough to be on a really professional site, but I didn’t want to be selling my songs for $4 on a site with no traffic.

Eventually I settled on Pond 5. It was the best site for beginners when I started, and I still think it is.  

(Note that this is a referral link, meaning I get a commission if you purchase anything from the Pond 5 - but I don’t not get a referral for recommending that you sign up as an artist. It's just my honest belief it's the best site for folks new to licensing)

Check out this post to find out why

Then I started to hone the craft of writing songs for music licensing and on getting better at producing. I took lots of courses (especially on mixing, which was a difficult skill for me – but I've learned a lot from the Recording Revolution) (affiliate link), watched a ton of Youtube, and practiced my butt off.

I worked full time, but I still tried to find time to finish one song a week to grow my music licensing side hustle.

Because you need a least a half-dozen songs to consistently see sales. Then to make the most of my limited time working my musical side hustle, I’d upload my songs in batches, maybe once a month.

Here Comes The Moolah!

At first a got a trickle of sales, one here, one there. Then it started to become a more steady thing, $50 a month. $100 a month. It’s been hovering between $200-$300 a month for over a year. You can see some of my earnings reports here.

And then the backend royalties started rolling in for public performances on TV. I got a check for nearly $1,900 in one quarter! And this was all passive income from music licensing. From one of my worst songs!

I’ve been exploring other business models this past year, and hope to have some interesting things to report in the future, but in my opinion, the steps you can learn from my free five-day music licensing course  show why it's still the best side hustle for song writers. 

Just look at this example – I barely uploaded any new songs to Pond 5 this for the first 3/4 of the year (in fact, I’d taken songs off!), but I still earned over $3,000.

All off of old songs!

From a Frustrated Producer in a Ragtag Bedroom Studio to Major Placements on TV Earning $1,000s!


My name is Evan, and I've been making music since around 3rd grade. I'm from San Diego, California, but I've lived in Washington, DC for the last 20 years.

After 3 grueling years of grad school, though I had put aside serious attempts at making music. I found myself spending my days doing work that was dreadfully uncreative, with a ton of student student loan debt.
Which made me feel like my favorite parts of myself were withering.
But I didn't know what to do about it.
Being in my early 30s with tons of student loan debt, in a world where there is "no money in music," I felt like my youthful dreams of trying to "make it big" were dead. Like my music would remain unheard in my head and hard drive. 
Frustrated by my inability to get my music heard, I started researching solutions.
Instead, I wanted to find a way where I could focus on making the music and let someone else deal with promoting it. 
I realized the music licensing was the perfect opportunity for a solo artist like me to get my music heard, without having to do any promotion. I just need to focus on improving what I could control - my songwriting and my production skills.

While I still have a full-time day job, I have created systems that have allowed me to produce dozens of songs a year in my spare time.

My¬†songs have been on Netflix, TV shows like the 90 Day Fiance, an award-winning indie film, and NPR‚Äôs ‚ÄúAll Thing Considered.‚ÄĚ They've also been streamed millions of times.

In addition to being a music producer, I am passionate about teaching people how they can make professional-sounding music and earn money licensing it, all in their spare time.

Thousands of musicians, like yourself, have trusted me to guide their musical journey. My YouTube videos have been watched nearly a million times. And my story has been in Forbes, Side Hustle Nation, and the Side Hustle School.

You Can Achieve Your Musical Dreams Too - Attend the Free Music Licensing Workshop!