Compared to previous generations, music is a far more economically stable field today. While there are many opportunities within music itself, a vocalist is one of the most important individuals involved. With the advent of technology and diversity of media, a singer or vocalist has many career options these days.
The salaries and packages for singers can be very high compared to many other industries. But before thinking about the money, we would advise singers to work on their talent and look for quality opportunities besides just looking at the monetary benefits.
Let us have a look at some such opportunities.
If you are living in India, you are really fortunate as a singer. Because almost all films that are registered and released in theaters have at least four to five songs. Plus, almost all states have their own independent film industry. Although with all the competition around, it is not easy to break through into playback singing for movies.
It is essential to send your portfolio to music directors and producers through the right channels. We would advise you to record a few songs, and also include any degrees and certificates from the past to your portfolio. If possible, include all the text and images in a PDF, and all media such as audio and video in separate files. Make a video showreel as well with the help of a good editor.
While many movies have auditions, most filmmakers and composers like to collaborate within their circle, or would launch singers they get in touch with the right way. If the producer or music director has a website, you can mail your portfolio – electronically or physically. You can also contact PR agencies or talent recruitment companies and submit your profile.
The stakes are always high in the movies, as any film these days does not cost the producer anything less than crores of rupees. A singer can earn multiple lacs of rupees from single recordings, and while this amount might be good enough to lure you, you also need to understand your responsibility. Singers need to be well groomed and prepared, and are always advised to perform in as many live shows before attempting to sing in films.
2. Independent artist (tied to a music label):
If you are an independent artist with a contract from one or more music labels, there is nothing like it. As an independent artist, you are not dependent on the complete process of movie making before your song or album is released. However, a music video might have to be shot – and it can even include the singer on many occasions.
There is a lot of flexibility that comes with being an independent artist. An independent artist also usually gets a lot of recognition compared to playback singers in films, wherein the respective actors are usually the front face because of their wide recognition. Independent artists can also earn up to multiple lacs from each recording.
3. Independent artist on YouTube and other online media:
This is where most new generation singers are starting off. Many budding singers are recording cover versions of old songs on various software and apps such as Smule. Wannabe singers usually upload their songs to YouTube and share it with all their contacts on social media to get initial likes, views and subscriptions.
Over a period of time, their songs reach more viewers and like minded people. This also requires entering the right keywords and tags, and sometimes paid promotions. Many singers can build their online portfolio over a period of time on various sites and apps such as YouTube, Soundcloud, Myspace, Smule and many others. You can even record and upload your original songs and earn money through these websites.
Singers can also collaborate with bands to create original songs or recreate old songs without infringing copyrights of the original producers. The good thing is that you can always find out about bands and musical groups online. Many singers are earning money and getting live shows by working online only. Monthly salaries might range from thousands to lacs of rupees.
4. Advertisement, radio, TV and web series jingles:
Television advertisements, radio advertisements, podcasts, television serials and web series always feature the odd original or cover version song. These songs are freshly recorded with the help of composers and singers. The good thing about such gigs are that there are plenty of opportunities for all kinds of singers – new and old.
Another good thing about such gigs is that they are always on the lookout for untraditional and unique voices, as it is easy for such voices to catch the attention of the listener. Even new singers can earn multiple thousands of rupees per recording.
5. Private events:
Private events such as weddings and parties are always incomplete without music. Bands and singers are always required for stage shows. This also includes college events and collaborations with renowned bands and singers during their live concerts. Regardless of the scale of the event, new singers are always required and this might just be the opportunity you are looking for.
Singers can earn anywhere between thousands to lakhs per show or concert. But if this is just your first show, as stated above, we would like you to focus on the quality of the content you are going to deliver. If it is well received by the audiences and the organisers, you can get more shows and negotiate there onwards.
6. Corporate events:
Corporates always like to have things done systematically. Corporate events would usually have short term or long term contracts with musical groups, bands and singers. All the creative people involved have to adhere to all the rules and regulations mentioned on the paper, and there is absolutely no room for compromises.
The fun part about corporate events is that you are usually the most creative person on the scene, and are reaching out to an audience which might appear boring on the outside but is highly creative deep within. It is a challenge to earn the praise of such an audience, and if you do so, the sky’s the limit. Singers can earn money in lakhs of rupees from corporate events.
7. Hospitality, restaurant, bar and cruise:
The hospitality industry is always on the lookout for new singers and fresh voices. Whether it is a cruise ship, a bar, cafe, restaurant or hotel – you would always find live performances going on. The good thing with the hospitality industry is that you find many flexible options, especially if you find work in your own city.
Singers can take up jobs in shifts, and also do their full time jobs during the remaining part of the day. The earning as a singer from the hospitality industry could be anywhere from a few thousand rupees to multiple lacs – depending on the brand value of your employer.
Teaching is often the most respected, yet most challenging jobs as a vocalist. While you might be a good vocalist, it is not always necessary that you are a good teacher. The job of a good teacher is always working on the all round development of your student. You have to focus on various areas, such as your student’s voice, throw, and musical adeptness.
Before being a teacher, it is important to be a good student of music. Work on your own abilities as a vocalist first, and once your basics are in the right place, you can always apply as a teacher. You can be a personal tutor, have your own institute and work for a school, institute or a university. A teacher can earn several thousand rupees from a single student.