File Under: Making Money With Music

People are going cashless. In fact, more people than ever are paying electronically through their phones, credit cards, and debit cards. In fact, some stores such as Epic Burger, Sweetgreen, and Argo Tea have become cashless. But what does this mean for musicians? More of your fans and customers don't have cash. And if they don't have cash, how can they pay you?

If you can't take your customers money, you can't get paid. This means in today's world you need to be able to take other's electronic payments, no matter the method. Below are some of the more important changes musicians should make to deal with today's growing cashless society so you can make it even easier for people to pay and increase your business.

1. Make sure you can take your customer's credit cards (at your merch table and everywhere else).

Make sure you can accept credit card payments -- whether it's for performing a service or selling something at your merch table. You can do this by using services like Square ( or Paypal Here ( Having this one option available can boost sales alone. Once you have this ability, always carry it with you so you can get paid from other people you might do business with, not just for shows.

2. Work with venues that take credit cards at the door.

We all know what happens at too many venues: a percentage of the bills at the door gets socked away by the venue. Even today, some venues are reluctant to take electronic payments at the door -- even if you sell out your shows and have a draw. But It's getting to the point where people are skipping the show because they don't want to pay the ATM service charge to be able to pay for it. If you can, play venues that handle electronic payments and tell the holdouts they need to change.

3. Use electronic tipping methods.

Passing the hat doesn't work if people have nothing to throw inside it; you'll simply be passing an empty hat. Instead, whenever you you create a physical tip jar include an electronic payment option as well. One way to accept credit cards for tips is to use services like DipJar ( You can also let people pay you directly through their phone with ( or add a link or QR code to your patronage page. Plus, apps like ( allow you to not only take payment, but give fans a download as a reward for tipping you.

In addition to these methods, for business-to-business transactions consider electronic payment methods such as Venmo (, Zelle (, and Apple Pay Cash ( to allow people to pay you directly.

The best way to improve your music business is to make yourself easy to do business with. This means reducing friction and eliminating hurdles that prevent fans from paying you. Make sure you create payment options for yourself and your customers as we continue to transform into a largely cashless society so you can continue to be successful.

Check out our upcoming book Making Money With Music, to be released September 4, 2018. (PRE ORDER HERE)


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Photo credit: Marco Verch