If you have activities such as traveling and music production that you are passionate about, it might be difficult to give the same amount of attention and energy to both. This then brings about the question, "Can music producers be digital nomads?
Yes! You can be a music producer and digital nomad at the same time. However, this requires having the right approach consisting of the following:
- A portable recording studio
- Money-making plan
- Time management plan
Below, we explain how you can go about implementing the approaches above to become both a digital nomad and music producer.
Get a Portable Recording Studio
For a digital nomad music producer, the tools in a stable recording studio cannot be used on the road. Therefore, you need tools that are portable and can move with you, such as:
- Monitor Headphones
- Portable Audio Interface
- Portable Audio Recorder
- A portable MIDI-Controller
- Laptop with Intel Core i9 Processor
- SSD or HDD to store all sessions
Although we advise that you get all the above-mentioned portable recording tools, we understand that it might not be possible as being minimalistic during travel is important. If your travel involves flying, airlines might charge more for your luggage and you don’t want that added expense. In that case, defining your role as a music producer is crucial to determining the tools you purchase or travel with.
For some digital nomads, the debate of what to travel with always centers around getting an audio interface or portable recorder. If you are an audio engineer, an audio interface will help to improve the sonic capabilities of your laptop. With the audio interface, you can control input (microphones, headsets) and outputs (speakers) to your laptop.
However, if you plan on holding recording sessions with musicians and fellow producers, the portable recorder is a must-have. With the audio recorder, you can save these sessions and replay them when you need to.
Another piece of production equipment you can choose whether or not to use during your travel is the MIDI controller. Although it is not a necessity, the MIDI controller is a great help for generating and transmitting data to MIDI-enabled devices to trigger sounds and control parameters of electronic music. When getting your MIDI controller, we advise that you obtain one with keys instead of pads. Pads may be more fun, but keys are more practical.
The other three options of headphones, laptop, and SSD or HDD storage are absolute necessities. With headphones, you are better able to listen to the music you make. A laptop, particularly one with an Intel Core i9 processor, will contain software and other tools for music production. However, your laptop alone will not be enough to store all your music, hence the need for SSD or HDD storage.
Create a Budget
We recommend creating a budget when planning how to combine music production and travel so you are better able to manage your spending. With budgeting, you also ensure that you always have enough money for the important things. However, this depends on whether or not you stick to the budget.
Note that the budget also serves as a forecast as you are keeping account of your projected income and projected expenses. As a digital nomad, income and expenses can be tricky, so it would be advisable to prepare a budget for a minimum of 6 months, especially if you plan on being on the road for a year. During the first month of travel, you can confirm how realistic the budget is and make changes based on your experiences.
Establish a Money-making Plan
There is no denying that as a digital nomad, keeping a full-time job can be tricky, so you either have to seek freelance opportunities or identify money-making opportunities at each location you plan to visit. Below, you can find some quick money-making ideas for digital nomadic music producers.
- Produce music for games: You can choose to create music for games, sound effects, sound design, or voiceovers. To branch into game music production, it is important that you own the right laptop. If you cannot get an Intel Core i9 Processor laptop, then get a Chromebook.
- Produce stock instrumentals and sounds: You know how there are stock photo websites like Shutterstock? Well, the same exists for music. If your music sells on online stock music libraries such as Audio Jungle and 123RF, then you have a recurring source of income.
- Create music for social media sites: A major current fad is to make use of music for short videos. TikTok and Triller are popular social media sites that leverage this. If you load your music to such platforms, it can boost streaming and, in turn, generate income.
- Perform during your travels: You can choose to hold a live performance for a crowd. Depending on your travel location, hotspots for crowds include railways, bus stations, and universities. This method isn’t exactly a reliable source of income, but income nontheless.
Time Management Plan
Ever heard the phrase “time is money?" As a digital nomad, this should be your new mantra. Traveling takes time and as a result, you may find that you have to work odd hours to make up for lost time.
Time management also extends to how long you intend to spend in certain locations and how that will affect your expenses. So, before traveling, ensure you draw up a travel plan alongside a timesheet. The timesheet should cover:
- The locations you intend to visit.
- How long you intend to spend in those locations.
- Breakdown of your hours in those locations that covers sleep and work hours.
Are There Downsides to Being a Music Producing Digital Nomad?
Yes! Just like everything in life, there are downsides to being a music producing digital nomad. However, if executed correctly, the perks make up for it. Some of the downsides include:
- Traveling solo: At first, when you start out on your nomadic lifestyle, you might do so alone. If you find comfort in your own company, then this really isn’t a downside. However, if you’re a people-person, this can be a hard life to adjust to.
- Accommodation problems: You might find it difficult to splurge on hotel costs or find an affordable short-term sublet. In such a situation, you need to be resourceful.
- Being a stranger: As you travel from one location to another, you may find it hard to locate people who you have connections with. Most times, you may find that you know no one at your travel location, which could become worrisome, especially if you run into trouble during your travels.
While there are several reasons to live a nomadic lifestyle as a music producer, this can only be possible if you make the right plan, which involves manifesting the right tools and funding. Once these two things are maximized, life as a roaming music producer should not be hard.