The 26-year-old earns 33K from a 2-minute side hustle

If you’ve ever listened to the YouTube video „Lo-Fi Beats for Studying or Relaxing,” you’ve probably come in contact with Michael Turner’s music.

Turner, 26, is a full-time musician who makes pop music under his name PLVTINUM. A year and a half ago, he started producing music on some of his weekends in what he calls passive listening space — and found that „lo-fi” music production was a „very easy” side hustle.

It is also profitable. Under the name Bonsai Beats — a band mostly made up of Turner and guitarist Mike Bono — he earned an additional $33,139 over the past year, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

Lo-fi stands for „low fidelity,” meaning it doesn’t have the high production value you’d find in most professional music. Be listened to in the background while you cook, work, read or sleep.

That means Turner’s motto is simple: quantity over quality. When he and Bono collaborated on lo-fi tracks, they set a timer to write, produce and name each song. Together, the two have earned nearly $60,000 in the past year from 85 tracks that took just three hours in total to create.

Turner says tempering the expectations that come with lo-fi music production is „kind of therapeutic,” and the extra cash doesn’t hurt. Here’s how he built and manages his lo-fi music site buzz.

At age 18, Turner posted A YouTube video He sang and played an original song, and it got over a million views. „That was my first exposure to what the internet could do virally, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he says.

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Lo-fi tracks don’t always generate as many streams as Beyoncé or Taylor Swift, but they can still be popular: Lofi girlThe popular streamer on YouTube has 13.6 million subscribers and videos that regularly receive millions of views.

Bonsai Beats has about 12,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, according to its profile page. Of its 53 tracks on stage, only three were over two minutes in length. One, called „Lovely Lofi,” has more than 300,000 streams.

The production of these songs is „much simpler than people realize” and the only real cost is time, Turner says. He and Bono make tracks using guitars, keyboards, and keyboards Logic ProPopular music mixing software currently costs $199.99.

You can easily use a software called GarageBand that comes free with Apple products, Turner adds.

Next, you may need a distributor. Turner H sayse uses TuneCore, an online service that puts your tracks on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and TikTok. Its prices range from a limited free version to a $49.99 annual subscription service, and Turner pays $29.99 for the mid-tier option, he says.

By paying that subscription fee, TuneCore doesn’t keep any of your sales revenue, as opposed to traditional distribution companies that can claim up to 85%, Turner says.

„The barrier to entry is so low that any musician, professional or casual, can immediately start this as a side hustle,” he says. „The beauty of streaming is that the cost is so low… You put it on Spotify and if it’s the right offer, it starts making money immediately.”

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The Relatively low payouts A common topic of conversation among musicians from Spotify and other music streaming platforms. But for Turner, the democratization of music — or, the idea that anyone can make money using streaming platforms — is a big deal.

His other musician friends also have lo-fi side hustles. One released a track about sleep and relaxation, and earned nearly 20 million streams — roughly $100,000 — because people listened to it on repeat while they slept, Turner says. Another friend, a writer and producer without a steady income, recently sold the rights to his dormant playlist for $1.68 million.

“Corporate funding is interested in streaming, and so is anyone [song] „Recurring streams can get a buyout offer from a traditional investor,” Turner says, adding: „It’s a serious space.”

In August, Turner launched his own record label Revolt Records. His mission is to help further democratize the music industry – using his production skills and online viral research to help emerging artists. His label keeps 25% of each artist’s royalties above the industry standard 50-60%.

„It’s a very exciting time in music,” says Turner. „I’m hopeful.”

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