YCAT is delighted to be partnering with arts entrepreneur David Taylor, whose Online Musician's Guide has helped tens of thousands of musicians worldwide. 

In this instalment of his blog series, David Taylor explains how musicians can monetise online performances and digital content.


One of the leading entrepreneurs in the world of classical music, David Taylor has built his career on a dynamic and energetic approach to bringing innovation to the arts, leading him to be named on Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2018 list.


If you’re livestreaming concerts, doing masterclasses, Q&A, blogs etc, you can ask for donations at any point. This is a great way for asking for fans, students, viewers to donate to support you.

In terms of how you ask, be honest. I’d be open about having work cancelled and say that any donations and contributions would make all the difference. Also, ask for something small… “the price of a coffee” is always a nice phrase to use.

I’d also make it clear that it is a donation and that people are very welcome to watch and enjoy without giving money.


How to accept donations

In the interest of time, I’m not going to compare services, I’m just going to tell you the best one… Paypal

International recognised and incredibly secure, this is best for both you and your details, as well as anyone sending you money.

Right, so two steps.


1 – Make a Paypal BUSINESS account

it’s really important it’s the business account - you can do that here: https://www.paypal.com or directly here: https://www.paypal.com/bizsignup/

 Remember to read all the T’s and C’s as you go along etc.


2 – Get a paypal.me link

 This is a personalised link, that if someone clicks on, they can then send you money of any amount in any currency that want.

For example, and this is so you can look SO DO NOT SEND ME MONEY, mine is…


and it looks like this:

This mini-series of blogs is all for free and I’m sharing this for reference, so please don’t send me money. (However, if you want to give me a follow on social media that would be awesome 😉)

The big benefits of this method and the link are:

  • Secure payment for you and anyone donating
  • You share a personalised link and NOT your bank details all over the internet
  • Totally customisable amount and currency
  • International recognised payment service



Subscriptions / membership scheme

Welcome to the wonderful world of Patreon… which is largely used by gamers, YouTubers, bands… and now classical music.

Going forward, having a regular income would be great. Also, you might want to put out some free content, but have some behind a paywall that people would have to pay for but have no idea how you would make that. Patreon is PERFECT for all for all of these.

In their own words “Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for artists and creators to get paid.”

Here you can create tiered levels of members for supporters – and you can choose all the benefits and tiers. I might do a more in depth blog on Patreon soon, but in a nutshell here’s how you can use it.

You set different membership levels, with different monthly costs, and different rewards. Then, when you post content on Patreon (it’s got sort of a Facebook/Twitter feed style) you can choose which levels of membership get access to that content.


For example: 

  • Bronze – just support you and hear updates
  • Silver – access to livestreamed concerts and practice tips blogs
  • Gold – access to livestreamed concerts and practice tips blogs AND masterclasses


This is a fly through Patreon, but can definitely recommend it as a way of having your own membership scheme/subscribers as well as having some of your content behind a paywall without having to set it up.

All you need to get started is a Patreon account: https://www.patreon.com


Oh, and the biggest earner on Patreon in 2020 so far receivers $174k per month… so it can be a thing



Sell and push your music

 If you already have albums that are out in the world, great. Now is the time to push them. Either buying or streaming. Again, be honest in saying why you’d like people to buy your album… I think also have a target of how many you’d want to sell that you can share – a bit like a fundraising goal.

So what if you haven’t got any recordings, or you do but they’re not for sale?

Ok the first bit… make some recordings… I’d highly recommend just using your phone and treating it as a live rough and ready recording. It doesn’t have to be studio sound as everyone is aware of all the issues going on and you’re doing this to support yourself as a musician.

If you want to edit (like cut the beginning and ends off) you can either do on your phone, or if you’ve recorded with something else I’d highly recommend Audacity which is free software


Right, for selling your recordings…


I’d recommend Bandcamp for selling digital. It’s going to be the easiest way by a mile and save you posting CD’s. You set up an artist page, then can have singles and albums and you set the price. Then you share either the single or album, or your artist page… so you don’t have to wait for someone to look through all of Bancamp to find you.

 If you want to go down the CD route, I’d take a look at Making Music Mix if you want a quick and easy solution.


Streaming is more complex and probably not worth looking at if you don’t already have a label. If you want to research at how to distribute on Spotify, Apple Music etc, then Distrokid is by far the cheapest option


Invoicing for lessons and services

 If you do online lessons, group teaching, or practice sessions (see the guide for how to do online here) you can carry on invoicing for your services. Will probably be easy if you’re continuing existing lessons, but if you’re taking on new ones, invoicing through Paypal business provides an online platform too, or I also send invoices with Zervant when I want a BACS transfer.

You can see the whole of David Taylor's Online Musician Guide on his website.