Yes, there are paying jobs for musicians out there.
You just have to know where and how to find them.
And I’m going to show you how to find those musician jobs…using a website called Upwork.
Just to be clear, I get nothing for writing about this. I’m not an affiliate. And my uncle doesn’t work at the company.
I’ve just had a good experience as a musician on the platform.
Here’s what I’ll cover in this post:
- What Is Upwork?
- Jobs I’ve Gotten Through Upwork
- Why Upwork Is A Good Option For Musicians
- How To Get Started On Upwork
- Finding Good Musician Jobs On Upwork (including a cover letter template)
- Most Important Points
What Is Upwork?
Upwork is a platform that connects freelancers with clients. You can find all sorts of jobs, including music-related jobs.
So how does it work for freelancers?
It’s free to sign up and create a profile. To apply for a job, you need these things called “connects,” and you have to pay a small fee for a bunch of connects.
But one job can easily pay for what you spent on the connects. (I’ll go into more detail during the step-by-step walkthrough below).
However, Upwork does take a fee, which makes sense because they’re a company and they need to make money too.
The fee they take from you, the freelancer, depends on how much you’ve earned with each client:
- Earn $0-$500 with a client: 20% fee
- Earn $500.01 to $10,000 with a client: 10% fee
- Earn $10,000.01 or more with a client: 5% fee
So most of the time, you can expect to fork over 20% of your earnings for a job to Upwork.
Jobs I’ve Gotten Through Upwork
I’ve been using Upwork for years, both as a freelance writer and as a musician/songwriter/audio person.
Here are the music- and audio-related jobs I’ve gotten:
- Created a jingle for a pet-sitting company
- Created a jingle for a shipping company
- Landed a job as co-producer/editor/music creator for a podcast
- Wrote a topline melody for a client
- Did smaller, one-time audio-editing projects, usually podcasts
- Wrote a ton of music-related content, like equipment reviews, music-advice articles, and even a 13,000-word eBook on music promotion
Granted, I’ve applied for way more projects than I’ve gotten, but that’ll be the case any time you’re trying to land a job.
Why Upwork Is A Good Option For Musicians
It may not seem glamorous to be writing cheesy jingles and editing podcasts.
But honestly, they were all rewarding in their own way.
And I got paid to do what I enjoy — making music, editing audio, and writing about being a musician.
Yeah, it’s not exactly what I want to be doing for a living. But it’s close.
I’m using my songwriting, musicianship, and music production abilities to make money as a musician while building my portfolio and gaining experience.
Either way, the reason I like Upwork as a musician is that the jobs are legit.
Many of these other “jobs for freelancers” websites have a lot of sketchy or incomplete job postings.
But, in general, Upwork clients seem to pay more and offer longer-term projects than similar sites (like Fiverr or Freelancer).
Upwork allows the freelancer and the client to have identity-verified accounts. The client can set qualifications for applicants, like having a certain job success rate or being fluent in English.
And after a job is completed, both parties rate each other. And the better rating you have, the more likely it is you’ll get future jobs.
You can probably tell I’ve had a good experience with this platform. Hence, why I’m writing this blog post.
How To Get Started On Upwork
Alright, now I’ll take you through the step-by-step guide for getting started on Upwork and applying for your first music job.
First, sign up with your name and email address. I’d suggest choosing the Basic/Free account.
Once you go through the signup process, which involves verifying your email and identity, you’ll be able to set up your profile.
Here’s what mine currently looks like in edit mode:
You’ll notice I have three tabs at the top: General Profile, Musician (draft), and Content Writing.
These are my specialized profiles. You can curate your specialized profiles to highlight your specific roles.
For example, my General Profile is me as a songwriter/producer/audio editor. While my Content Writing profile is for when I apply to copywriting projects.
This helps show clients you’re an expert at a specific thing.
In the bio section, you should introduce yourself and highlight your biggest accomplishments, set your hourly rate, and embed a video (if it’s relevant).
Scroll down a bit and you’ll see where your work history and feedback will appear.
Because you just signed up, there won’t be anything here.
And because of that, you may need to charge a little less than you want to. But once you get a few jobs under your belt, you can raise your rates.
Scroll down a bit more and you’ll see your Portfolio section.
This is a great chance for you to showcase the work you’ve already done outside of Upwork.
It’s a very important section when you’re trying to land your first jobs. What you include in your portfolio helps decide the types of jobs you get (or if you get them at all).
Each of these squares links to their respective websites:
Moving along to the bottom of your Upwork profile, you’ll see a place to add your skills, certifications, employment history, education, and other experiences.
Start typing in your skills and Upwork will show you the built-in options you can choose from. Add as many relevant skills as you can think of.
On mine, I listed the different types of writing I’ve done, what I can do as a musician, and Reaper as my DAW of choice.
As for certifications, I don’t have any.
I didn’t feel like entering my entire employment history because I can just attach my resume to my applications.
And I didn’t have anything to put under “other experiences.”
But it’s probably a good idea for you to fill in these sections. I just haven’t.
Finding Good Musician Jobs On Upwork
Okay, now that you’ve got a specialized profile completely filled out, it’s time to find some jobs.
But remember, to apply for jobs, you first need “connects.”
To buy these, click on your face in the top-right corner, then hit Settings.
The system will have you verify your email and password, then you’ll see your settings page.
In the left-hand column, choose Membership & Connects. Hit “Add More Connects.”
Here’s what connects currently cost:
Alright, now you can apply for jobs.
To find the jobs, hover over Find Work and/or hit Find Work.
Now you’re on the job search page.
Let’s type in “music.” As you can see below, Upwork shows you the different job categories related to music.
Pick your poison, as they say.
Let’s choose “Music Producing.”
Now you’ll see all the jobs in that category organized by most recent.
Just click on the job to view and apply for it, or you can hit the heart on the right to save it for later.
You can also filter the jobs by those for U.S. applicants only as well as a bunch of other parameters.
As you gain more experience on Upwork, you can start to filter out all the entry-level jobs and look for higher-budget projects.
Let’s take a look at this job, “Producer needed for pop/r&b single.”
Tera needs someone to produce her track called “Venom.” Sounds interesting.
You can see what she’ll pay you ($115), what experience level she wants, how many “connects” you’ll use to apply, and how many other people have already applied.
If you’re interested, you’d hit the green button, “Submit A Proposal.”
You’ll be taken to the proposal page where you will:
- See the job details
- Confirm your bid fits the client’s budget
- Give an estimated timeline for completion of the project
- Write the client a cover letter (very important!)
- Answer any pre-determined questions from the client
In the cover letter, try to sound excited about the project (because you should be), and quickly highlight what you can do and what you’ve done.
Here’s a cover letter template that I’ve used to land jobs on Upwork:
Hi, [NAME OF PERSON / COMPANY]!
I think we could be a great fit. I’m a [YOUR JOB TITLE] based in [YOUR LOCATION] who [HIGHLIGHT RELEVANT EXPERIENCE]. My work [LIST YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THIS LINE OF WORK].
Here are some of my songs that show you what I can do:
– [SONG TITLE #1]: [LINK TO STREAM THE SONG]
– [SONG TITLE #2]: [LINK TO STREAM THE SONG]
– [SONG TITLE #3]: [LINK TO STREAM THE SONG]
I’d love to talk about working together! Let me know if you want to hop on an Upwork call or phone call to talk more.
Most Important Points
To recap, here are the takeaway points for how to successfully find musician jobs on Upwork:
- Fill out your profile completely, adding as much relevant experience as you can think of
- It’s best to set a lower rate than you’d prefer until you’ve completed a few projects
- You’ll apply for a lot more jobs than you get – don’t lose heart, keep going
- There’s a real chance here to make money from music – so give it a try!