From selling physical goods like yoga mats to creating music to turning to the budding market of NFTs, I’ve been able to monetize my creativity in a number of ways with just an internet connection. Through the process, I was also able to quit my corporate job.
With advances in technologies come novel opportunities for creatives to monetize their art. From the booming NFT market to the bustling world of e-commerce, many artists are finding lucrative ways to monetize their art in the digital realm. Whether you’re a painter or a musician, there are numerous online channels that can help you make a living doing what you love. Here are the ways top creatives are doing that around the web.
Turn your art into NFTs
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, have seen a sudden influx in popularity. As a novel way for artists to make money, it seems the next step in our tech-heavy marketplace. You may have heard about Jack Dorsey’s first tweet selling for almost $3 million, or the Nyan cat GIF selling for more than $500,000.
“NFTs and the broader digitization of content has made it far easier for artists to monetize their brand, control authenticity and actually benefit from after-market sales,” says the digital performance artist known as Bored Elon Musk (who is a frequent collaborator with the author). “The gatekeeper between artists and customers is no longer middlemen like galleries or agencies, but rather the time and patience required to learn this technology, and that is a far easier gate to pass through.”
Using design, animation and sound, BEM sells his art, alongside his collaborators, to the highest bidders. He’s an example of how artists (especially those who already have a following) can use NFTs to monetize their art for the digital age, but it can also help build your following as an artist.
Some NFT platforms even allow you to set a “creator share” royalty (ranging between 10%–30%) on a piece, so every time you make a sale to a new buyer, you get a percentage of the purchase price. As you build your name and gain recognition and your work increases in value and desirability, you can still collect royalties down the road.
“The NFT space is still in its early days, which offers a tremendous opportunity for creatives to innovate, experiment and capture the first mover advantage,” says Masha Vyazemskya, head of communication at Rarible, an NFT platform. “Marketplaces offer a variety of tools for artists to realize their creative potential: multiple file formats (animation, video, music and more), different types of auctions, unlockable content to gamify the experience and to incentivize buyers and much more. It’s fun, and very community-driven.”
To get started, take a look at the artists profiting on Rarible, Foundation, OpenSea and NiftyGate.
If you have a knack for the written word, e-books offer a way for you to monetize your work.
According to the Association of American Publishers, 2020 saw over a 15% increase in e-book sales, eclipsing a billion dollars over the course of the year, and those numbers are anticipated to maintain for the near future. Self-publishing platforms like Substack allow writers to get a larger cut of the proceeds from their digital sales as well.
Jordan French, president of Grit Daily News, an outlet focused on brands and startups, suggests getting started by determining your audience. “Perhaps counterintuitively, the narrower the better,” he says. Focusing on a specific footprint will help you decide the best way and where to market your work. The narrower you make your market, the better chance you have of making an Amazon “Top 10 Bestseller” list, increasing your e-book’s visibility.
Moreover, through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you can self-publish and sell your e-book without having an ISBN.
Streaming options allow for unprecedented access for fans and artists alike and new avenues of income. If you have an internet connection, you have the ability to live stream content. You can also use dedicated live-streaming services like Twitch, TikTok or OnlyFans to promote, display and profit from your creative endeavors in myriad ways.
Artists are adapting their craft for streaming monetization with everything from gaming to painting to pole dancing. They share thoughts, projects, frustrations, joys and successes with live audiences — allowing access to their creative processes and day-to-day lives.
And if you’re shy on camera? You can also monetize with audiobook and music releases. I have been able to make money from my music through streaming services like Spotify, and digitally selling my work online to others. Many musicians are using platforms like Fiverr and SoundBetter to lucratively sell their audiowork.
Arianna O’Dell is the founder of Airlink Marketing, a design and marketing agency helping companies create digital programs that drive results. Her songs can be found at Outsourced Feelings, and gifts at Ideas by Arianna.