How to Start a Music Business Online in 20 Steps

Take charge of your income and future by learning How to Start a Music Business Online in 20 steps. We include examples, business ideas, tools, and business resources.

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It’s never been a better time to start an online music business.

In 2020 over 20,000,000 people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

It’s time to take charge of your income and what you work on by starting a business.

How to Start a Music Business Online for Musicians & Producers
Start a Music Business Online for Musicians & Music Producers

You may think…

  1. You are not qualified to start a business.
  2. You don’t have enough time.
  3. Starting a business is too expensive.

But these things are not true.

You can start learning how to start a business, work on it in your spare time, and not spend tons of money.

You can take steps at starting your dream business by following these suggestions.

No successful business is built overnight.

So the longer you hold off, the longer it will take to achieve your dreams.

If you need a website check out the Music Maker WordPress Theme.

How to Start a Music Business Online

1. Brainstorm Business Ideas

Brainstorm Business Ideas
Brainstorm Business Ideas – Photo Priscilla Du Preez

Step #1 is you want to brainstorm all your business ideas.

Get them out of your head and put them on paper or in a spreadsheet.

To help come up with ideas you should ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What can you create as a product or service?
  4. What businesses already exist that you feel you can create or run?
  5. What problems do you think you can help solve for others?

Come up with ideas of things that you are skilled at or knowledgeable of.

Because if you try to create a business in an industry that you have no knowledge of or experience with.

It can be hard to learn about a new industry and create a business for it at the same time. And it would be best to work on something that you’re passionate about.

Because starting a business will take a large number of hours, and if it’s something that you hate.

It’s going to be hard to stick with your business idea in the long run if you aren’t passionate about it.

So brainstorm all your music business ideas, and get them out of your head.


2. Do Market Research

Do Market Research
Photo of Google Trends

It is important to do research in advance to make sure there’s a demand for your business idea.

There is nothing worse than spending months working on an idea to find out that nobody wants it.

Save yourself heartache by doing research in advance to help your chances of success.

Here’s how you can do market research:

2.1 Research Step #1: Search Google

  • Can you find businesses like the business you want to create?
  • If there are, are they making money?
  • Are there some numbers you can find to see if they have a huge fan base?

Research similar businesses to get an idea if people are paying for the type of product or service.

If you can find examples, this may be a good business to pursue if you feel like you can do better than your competitors.

If you can’t find any similar music businesses, this may not be a good thing.

This may mean that there isn’t a demand for the type of product or service that you’re thinking about creating.

Unfortunately, there are very few original ideas nowadays.

So there’s a good chance that someone already thought about the idea you have.

So if your idea doesn’t exist, there may not be a demand for it.

This is not a fact, but I want you to keep this in mind.

2.2 Research Step #2: Keyword Research

One way I do research on a topic is by doing keyword research.

I use a Google Chrome extension called “Keywords Everywhere”.

When using the extension, when you search Google, it will give you the monthly search volume.

For example, if I search Google for “music t-shirts”.

You can see the monthly search volume is 6,600 per month.

Do Market Research
Do Keyword Research on Google

These numbers are not 100% accurate. They are estimates.

But using a tool like this can give you a good idea of what people are searching for.

If people aren’t searching for your business idea, then it’s something you want to avoid.

If the search volume is low, you may be searching for the wrong term.

Here is an example:

  • “Music t-shirts” gets 6,600 monthly searches.
  • “Music Shirts” gets 2,400 monthly searches.
  • “Band T-Shirts” gets over 49,000 monthly searches.

“Band T-Shirts” is the most popular term.

By doing research you will get better clarity on your business ideas.

Track all keyword research in Google Sheets to help track and organize your research.

Always do keyword research on your ideas before investing too much time on a project.


3. Pick a Business Idea

Pick a Business Idea
Pick a Business Idea – Photo by Mika Baumeister

You may have a lot of business ideas, but you can’t do them all.

To succeed you need to narrow your focus.

If you try to do everything, you will fail at everything.

So you want to focus on one business idea at a time.

You should use your research to help pick the best idea.

I would focus on the business idea with the highest search volume that has a proven audience.

If your research doesn’t support your top business idea, hold off on the idea, until you are more confident with it.

Narrow down your focus to your top business idea.


4. Create a One-Page Business Plan

Create a One-Page Business Plan
Create a One-Page Business Plan – Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

To get better clarity focus on creating a simple business plan.

A business plan will help you get clarity on your ideas to plan how to launch your business.

Create a one-page business plan to start.

Coming up with a detailed business plan can be overwhelming, and in some ways, it could be pointless.

Spending weeks or months coming up with a business plan, to only see that the idea doesn’t work is a waste of your time.

So you want to create a basic outline for your business.

It doesn’t have to be difficult or be perfect.

It will improve with time.

What should your one-page business plan include?

  • What will your business be or do?
  • How will you make money?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do you need to create this business?
  • How will you promote your business?
  • What are the next steps to take?

I would include a list of topics that you should research related to this business idea.

Then later research those topics and take notes, and add those notes to your business plan

Create a rough outline of your business plan to help you get clarity on your ideas.

Don’t let not having the perfect business plan stop you from taking action.

A lot of people create roadblocks for themselves which gets in the way of them making progress.

Some will say I don’t have a logo, I don’t have a detailed business plan, I don’t have blank.

And this is a reason for them to hold off whatever they are working on.

Most successful entrepreneurs focus on testing ideas fast and taking action.

So you want to avoid getting stuck on minor things.


5. Test & Validate Business Ideas

Test & Validate Business Ideas

This may be hard for some of you, but you want to find a way to test and confirm your idea.

What this means is you want to run a test to see if somebody will actually pay for what you have to offer.

You don’t just want to ask friends and family if they would buy your product or service.

Because a lot of them would say yes to support you.

You want to test if people will actually open their wallets and pay?

What to Avoid

Let’s say you want to start a T-Shirt selling business, there are many steps involved.

  1. Creating t-shirt designs
  2. Create a website
  3. Creating product shots
  4. Finding vendors
  5. Do test runs
  6. And much more that can take months to do.

You can spend 4 months doing all this to find out no one wants to buy your t-shirts.

So how can you test if people want to buy your t-shirt designs faster?

How to Run a Test to Validate Your Idea

  1. Create photoshop designs of your t-shirt designs.
  2. Put it on an e-commerce store website – Promote them as presale items to come out at a later time.
  3. Promote the shirt and see if people pay for it. – Spend a small amount on Google Ads to help generate traffic to the product.

Getting a good amount of targeted traffic is important to help see if your idea is in demand.

So that’s one example.

I would search Google for product validation ideas for more examples of tests to run.

How to Validate Any Business Idea Without Wasting ANY MONEY!

A lot of people will skip this step.

I have skipped this step myself, and unfortunately, it has led to a lot of disappointments in sales

So try to run tests to help confirm your ideas if possible.


6. Create Products & Services

Create Products & Services
Create Music Services – Photo by Thomas Le

There are very few businesses that depend on one source for all their income.

Think of what you’re good at and offer services that you think your target audience would need.

Offer a variety of products and services to have multiple sources of income.


7. Create a Business Name

Create a Business Name
Create a Business Name – Photo by Alexander Shatov

Your business name will be the name that represents you, your products, and your services.

A business name is important, but at the same time, it’s not important.

Some of the biggest businesses in the world have names that are made up words and mean nothing.

Think of Yahoo, Google, Spotify. These are made-up words.

It is branding and marketing that will impact how your business is perceived.

But you should pick a business name that is related to the type of product or service you will offer.

This will help people know what you do without explanation.

You can also use some free online business name generators to help come up with a business name.

You can enter a keyword or topic, and it will come up with some business names for you.

So come up with a business name that represents you and what you have to offer.


8. Create a Website

Create a Website For Your Business
Create a Website for Your Business

A website is a must-have. All successful businesses have websites.

You need a place where you can control the online experience and promote what you have to offer.

You can’t depend on social media alone to sell products and promote your brand the way you want.

You want to have a custom domain address.

Which is the web address someone will enter in their browser to visit your website.

We suggest a .com web address because they are more popular.

You can get website hosting for $2.95 per month.

Having a website is going to give you more chances and opportunities to earn money.

At that price, there is no excuse to not have a website.

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I created a Music WordPress Template for music creators to sell beats and products.

There are over 6,000 people using the template, and I’ve been updating it for years.

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Free Course: How to Create a Beat Selling Website

I created a free video course on how to create a Music website in a couple of hours using WordPress.

Free Video Course - How to Create a Beat Selling Website
Free Video Course – How to Create a Beat Selling Website

9. Study Competitor Websites

On the topic of websites, it’s important to study other websites in your field for inspiration.

Study your competitors to get ideas for products, messaging, and branding.

You don’t have to come up with ideas from scratch.

Take inspiration from all of them and try to do better.

These websites have been around for years and are great examples to learn from.


10. Create a Brand

Create a Style Guide For Your Brand
Style Guide by Benjamin Oberemok

A brand is the visual imagery and messaging that represents what your business stands for.

Think about your favorite brands that you look up to and admire.

Think about the imagery, their messaging, their logo.

You want to create these things for your business.

You want to create a logo, tagline, mission statement, brand colors, and more.

Create something that you’re proud of, that makes you stand out, and represents what you and your business stand for.

This doesn’t have to be perfect.

Your brand and messaging will continue to evolve over time.


11. Function Like a Business

If you are a single person trying to transition into running a business.

It can be hard to change your mindset to function as a real business.

Run a Business
Function Like a Business – Photo by Austin Distel

Let’s think about some common things that are required to run a successful business.

  • Generating Income
  • Marketing
  • Customer Support
  • New Products & Services
  • Social Media
  • Administration
  • Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • And so much more

They’re going to be a lot of things that you may not want to do. But to succeed at business, you need to do them.

Study your competitors.

Look at all their marketing efforts and use them as an inspiration for things that you should be doing as well.

If you neglect some of these important aspects of your business, it is going to be harder for you to succeed.

So start learning these different priorities and create systems to manage them.


12. Promote Your Business

Promote Your Business
Use Social Media to Promote Your Business – Photo by Austin Distel

Next, you want to begin promoting your business.

Promote It to your friends, family, and on social media to help spread the word.

You want to find ways to promote your business to your target audience.

Create videos, blog articles, social media posts, and more to attract potential customers.

You can’t expect people to find your business on their own.

You need to spread the word and get people familiar with your products and services.


13. Get Website Traffic

Use Google Analytics to Track Website Visitors
Use Google Analytics to Track Website Visitors – Photo by Stephen Phillips

This is one of the most important aspects of your music business because it’s not only a number’s game, it’s also about the quality of your traffic.

Study other music websites and beat selling websites. Where do they get their traffic from?

There are four ways you can get valuable traffic to your website:

  1. Social Media
  2. Search Engines
  3. Email Marketing
  4. Referrals

Social media should not be underestimated.

You can get free traffic to your website by regularly posting on Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Twitter.

Also, Facebook and Instagram ads are quite cheap and you can use them to determine your most valuable traffic in terms of interests.

Getting traffic is essential to making money from your products or services.

No traffic means no income.

However, the best traffic you can get is from search engines. You’ll have to know the best practices when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and the process may take around two to five months before seeing results. You can also pay for each click you get to your site using Google Adwords or Bing Ads.

Furthermore, being active in forums where other potential buyers hang out is a great way to get some free traffic to your site.

Use tools like Google Analytics to track website visitors.

Related: How to Increase Website Traffic to Your Music Website


14. Study & Track Data

beat selling website heat map tracking
Screenshot of HotJar Heatmap

Never assume anything. You should always test marketing ideas to see what creates the best results.

Websites like Amazon.com have been known to run hundreds of website tests to see what will get the most sales.

What should you test?

  • Marketing Text
  • Colors (text, buttons, backgrounds)
  • Prices ( Beat Prices )
  • Product or Beat Names
  • Simplifying Your Website
  • Removing Distractions

You want to optimize your website for the best conversions.

You also want to study and analyze website visitor data.

Study visitor analytics to see how long visitors are on your website.

  • How many pages do visitors visit?
  • What is the checkout page bounce rate?

You can use data to help improve the performance of your website and help increase sales.


15. Capture Email Leads

Capture Email Leads
Email Form Example

Focus on email marketing and capturing email addresses.

Assume that once a visitor visits your website, they may never return.

So you want to capture their email address so you can contact them in the future.

Once you capture a visitor’s email address you want to build trust by sending helpful emails.

Along with building trust, you can promote your products and services.

Email marketing is better than social media because social media sites are full of distractions.

If you are able to email people directly, there is a greater chance of your message being seen.

So add email forms and landing pages to your website to collect email addresses.

Related: Beginners Guide to Email Marketing


16. Build Relationships

The days of spamming and constantly trying to push products to people are gone.

The fastest way to fail is to neglect the relationship that you create and only focus on the buy.

That’s why you should focus on “packaging” your product with valuable content that will help the potential buyer achieve their goals.

Focus on creating great experiences for your customers so they continue to come back to you for music, beats, products, or whatever you have to offer.


17. Invest in Your Business

Pay for tools and services that will help your music business succeed.

This saying is true… It takes money to make money.

If there are tools that will help promote, automate, and grow your business. Invest in those tools to help your business grow faster.

Free or cheap is not always the best option when it’s taking up your valuable time.


18. Focus on Repeat Customers

Once a customer buys from you, there is a great chance they will buy from you again if they are happy with your service.

  1. Over-deliver – Give your customers more than they are expecting.
  2. Provide great customer support.
  3. Be professional.
  4. Offer discounts to buy again.
  5. Feedback – Pay attention to customer feedback to improve the experience.

Help your customers succeed and in return, there is a great chance you will succeed.


19. Be Patient & Persistent

Be Patient & Persistent
“Success is a Marathon, Not a Sprint” – Photo by Pietro Rampazzo

One thing I have learned as an entrepreneur is everything always takes much longer than planned.

It will take patience for you to succeed at creating a business and reaching your goals.

Being impatient can ruin so many things for us.

It will make us give up on things that are important to us because the results aren’t coming fast enough.

There is no such thing as an overnight success.

All the people you look up to and admire have been doing what they have been doing for years.

And have failed, and failed, and failed, but kept going.

They learned from their mistakes and got better.

I have seen videos of Youtubers who say in their first years they posted hundreds of videos only to get a thousand subscribers and made no money.

But to eventually blow up and make a full-time living off of Youtube.

You have to be patient and persistent.

And know if you put in the work, it will eventually pay off if you are doing the right thing.

You need to set realistic goals and know things are going to take longer than planned.

One of my favorite quotes is “slow progress is better than no progress”.

As long as you are making progress toward what’s important. Then it’s good.

So focus on your long-term goals.


20. Don’t Give Up!

Don't Give Up on Starting a Business
Don’t Give Up on Starting a Business – Photo by Rosie Kerr

It’s important that we all pursue our goals and dreams.

So if there is something meaningful to you, pursue it.

Fight for your dreams.

But if data isn’t supporting your goal, like people aren’t buying your products or services.

Be open-minded to shift your ideas to something else.

YouTube started as a dating site but changed into something else.

So be open-minded to change.


Best Business Books

Here are a couple of our favorite books and top sellers on Amazon.

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate Links


Online Business Courses

Skillshare is one of my favorite places to learn because they have over 35,000 classes on all topics. You get access to all classes.

There is a 14 Day Free Trial to give them a try.

Here are a couple of their popular online business classes:

  1. Business Success and Branding For Beginners: Grow Your Brand
  2. Success: 7 Exercises to Uncover Your Purpose, Passion & Path
  3. Art of the Start: Turning Ideas into High-Growth Businesses
  4. Productivity Masterclass: Create a Custom System that Works
  5. Real Productivity: Create Your Ideal Week
  6. Brand Strategy: Build a Business that Lasts
  7. Run Your Own Business: Lessons from Biggie – Marc Ecko
  8. Music Business Fundamentals: Part 1: Monetizing Your Music
  9. Social Media Stardom: Making the Most of Instagram
  10. Branding for Entrepreneurs: Building a Brand in the Instagram Era

20 Music Business Ideas

There are hundreds of possible music businesses and job ideas for music lovers. Here are a couple to consider:

  1. Music Review Site
  2. Music Podcast
  3. Record Label Owner
  4. Music Manager
  5. DJ
  6. Music Producer
  7. Music Teacher
  8. Music News Blog
  9. Organize Festivals
  10. Recording Artist
  11. Songwriter
  12. Live Performer
  13. Event Promoter
  14. Sound Engineer
  15. Music Video Director
  16. Review Music Gear on YouTube
  17. Street Performer
  18. Voice Coach
  19. Band Manager
  20. Music Studio Owner to Rent

Common Business Questions

Use a skill you have to offer services where you get paid for your time. You can get paid hourly, or charge a flat rate for a project. Once you begin making money, invest in tools and services to promote what you offer.

Yes, when you “begin making money” you will need to pay taxes to the IRS. We suggest you do not worry about taxes until you begin making money.

Most business ideas will fail. Don’t worry about taxes until you find an idea that you are actually making money from.

Yes, you will want to register your business name at some point. But do not worry about this until you begin making a good amount of money.

You will need to register a Fictitious Business Name if you want to open a bank account with the name.

And you will need to eventually Trademark your business name to prevent others from using it.


Build an Online Business

The Music Maker WordPress Theme offers a full website package. Sell beats, products, unlimited pages, and more.

Music Maker WordPress Theme
  • Unlimited Beats & Pages
  • Sell Digital & Physical Products
  • Full WordPress Music Website
  • 90 Free Graphics - Get $15 Off

Conclusion

Creating a business doesn’t happen overnight.

It takes research, planning, testing, hard work, and much more.

But it’s never been a better time to start.

You want to start today, or soon.

Because it’s not until you start taking action on your ideas, that you begin to get clarity on your vision.

And there are so many things you need to learn along the process of creating a business, through trial and error.

That the longer you hold off, the more months, and years you put in between making your dreams a reality.

The internet has created endless opportunities to have customers all around the world.

Good luck!

Do you have any tips on how to start a business? Do you have a business?

Please share in the comment section below.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

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