Music, Photography, Visual Art And Comedy


Making a living out of your creativity involves different activities to those required for the manufacturing or service industries. Adopting a businesslike approach to your passion or talent can sometimes be difficult, but it can be the difference between success and failure, making a good living, or not making one at all.

This guide explains what you need to consider if you run a music, photography, visual art or comedy-related business. It looks at each sector in turn, and highlights some practical issues such as licensing and intellectual property rights, as well as the legal requirements for setting up and running a business.


Starting a music business may not be a full-time venture. You could, for example, be a part-time performer with a separate day job, either as a soloist or with a band or you may want to start a small record label, open a shop, promote events, run a course or sell music over the internet.

It is important to remember that, however specialised your interest, there are some things that are common to every new business. Legal requirements, such as business registration, insurance and taxation, as well as activities such as marketing and sales are vital considerations to focus on when starting a new business.

If your business involves musical performances, you may need to obtain a licence, and you should also take into account the intellectual property rights of anyone whose music is involved in the performance.

This can be anything from bands performing someone else’s material to playing an album in a nightclub or the radio in a public place. You must also comply with the control of noise regulations.

If you are a performer or a composer, you can benefit from using the internet to promote yourself. One of the least expensive ways is to use social media and networking sites. However, you should consider the implications of putting your intellectual property (IP) on social networks, as this can increase the chances of illegal sharing and may also mean giving some IP rights to the network host. If you invest in your own website, you will have more control over your IP and branding, and can also use it to sell downloaded versions of your work.

Funding and grants for music-related businesses

As well as funding from your own savings, family and friends, or a bank loan, you could consider getting funding for your music-related business from the following sources:

For advice on funding, see nibusinessinfo’s guide on how to choose the right finance when starting up.

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