Your handpan has cost a few dollars. Quite a few. Have you considered trying to pay for it by making money by playing your instrument?
Can I Make Money Playing Handpan? – There are several ways you can make money from playing a handpan. You can become a busker, play as part of a band that performs, perform on your own, or even record and sell your music. Soon you’ll have the cost of your handpan back and more.
Here are some tips on how you can earn some extra cash with your handpan. Some are more simple than others, and I start with the best and easiest way.
Busking – The Quickest and Easiest Handpan Income.
You’ve been walking out and come across a musician playing in the street before. Maybe a hat, instrument case or box laid out in front, and members of the public dropping cash in as they pass or after a song.
Did You Know? – Buskers Mark & Miss earned over $500 in 12 hours busking in various spots in San Francisco. http://money.com/money/3753898/how-much-street-performers-earn/
It’s not always as lucrative as that of course, and it is possible to play for a few hours and find only three bucks in the can at the end.
Pick the right place to busk.
Key is picking the right place, the right time, and the right mood of the music.
You’ll often see buskers playing during rush hour. Yes, there are more people to play to and a bigger potential pool of money to collect, but usually, these workers are in a hurry to get where they need to go. They are much less likely to drop you some cash as they pass, let alone stop and enjoy your performance.
The style of music you play can be important too. If you are in a busy street with a fair bit of background noise, you’ll want to be more upbeat, competing with the passing footstep or traffic noise.
If you are in a park, something more calming and relaxing to listen to will do the job.
I have a full guide to busking with Handpan on-site, with tons more tips on the best cities to busk, to allow you to travel and cover the cost while you do so.
Recording and Selling Your Handpan Music
Recording and selling music has never been more accessible than it is today. With a host of promotional social media possibilities that cost no more than time and home recording options which work out quite cheap, the cost of recording an album of music is very affordable.
You can record your best work, use Spotify, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook as a teaser channel for previews and freebies, and sell a full album of songs off the back of it.
I’m not about to claim this is the very easiest way of making money with your music, but it can be the most lucrative if you have a hit. By a hit, I don’t mean topping the billboard chart, but a big viral hit can make a huge difference. Be lucky enough to land one of those, and the world is your oyster.
If you do record say 4-8 songs, you could get them cut onto a CD or just put them on a small memory stick and sell while busking. Most buskers who make the most do so by selling their music on the street.
Start a YouTube Channel playing your Handpan
I mention about having a hit when recording your handpan music above, and a perfect example of this would be the success of Hang Massive.
Hang Massive are Danny Cudd and Markus Offbeat, who came together to record their handpan music and publish it on YouTube.
As you can discover in my guide of 13 handpan players you should know, they are by far the most popular handpan players on YouTube with a subscriber list nearing 400,000. Their uploaded videos have been collectively viewed over 72 million times.
While they had already been publishing on YouTube, it was the release of a video of the pair playing in Bath in the UK in 2011 that shot them to Hang stardom. This video alone has gained over 42 million views.
Despite the potential revenue that is gained from advertising on your YouTube channel, you also have the opportunity to promote new music, album sales and merch too.
Take a look at my guide to what you need to record handpan for youtube guide.
Put on performances as a handpan player or form a group for the same purpose
If you are confident enough to play in the street busking on your handpan, you should feel the same about performing to an audience in a venue. You can earn money playing your handpan by putting together a reasonable length of material, ideally between 1-2 hours worth.
Venues to play could be a bar, an outside event, or anywhere that some form of entertainment would be suitable. Contact a few sites, speak to the decision-makers and sell yourself for a fair fee to perform for their customers.
If you are not comfortable performing alone, perhaps, find some like-minded handpan players, or other instrumentalists to form a group and develop a style and playlist and play together. Playing in a group can be more fun. But you will have to split the cash.
You can also go out busking as a group. The benefit of not being alone is levelled up with the split of the money. But as you will see in the handpan busking guide, that income can be substantial, when you pick the right time and place to play
Give Handpan Lessons.
Once you become an expert playing your handpan, you could offer lessons to beginners.
You are not going to be overcome with business this way, as locally it may be some distance before you find another handpan player. It is much less likely they will even know you offer the service without spending a lot of money on advertising.
In this day and age, one way of doing this would be online. Going back to the YouTube channel, you could record hints and tips on how to play and what to practice. You could even create and sell a video course on different levels, styles and type of pans to play.
Your imagination is your only limitation in this regard, but it is something that will take a substantial amount of time, to plan, set up, publish, market and eventually sell. A big youtube subscriber list will certainly help with sales.
The good news. There are very few people doing offering online coaching. The hole in the market does exist, in a world where handpan playing is about to explode.
Hire Your Handpan Out
Ok, this one is a bit ‘out there’ but something I have considered.
When I was first looking for a handpan, the prohibitive cost, always left me wondering if I would enjoy the instrument once I owned it. The opportunity to have and play one for a few days, week, even months, before committing, would have been a good option.
To consider this option, you would ideally have a spare handpan or two and have someone locally willing to pay to hire.
I honestly do not know of anyone offering this service, [UPDATE: I do know of handpan hire now] but as someone who would have considered hiring a handpan years ago, I think it is not quite as ‘out there’ as it seems at first.
How Not to Make Money From Your Handpan
Flipping handpans is something very much frowned upon within the handpan community and rightly so.
However, market forces are being spotted by opportunists, who recognise the demand outstripping supply of good quality handpans at present.
Most, if not all manufacturers have waiting lists at some point for new instruments, and it is possible that, in a hurry to posses the best handpan, someone would be willing to pay an extra couple of hundred dollars than the market price. This presents the opportunity to quickly flip handpans for profit.
Of course, flipping of the PANArt hang continues today, with prices ranging to anything upward of $10,000 for an instrument that cost $600 new. But it’s unique position in the marketplace as the original handpan and rarity, given it will never be produced again, provide it with some justification for musicians and collectors.