Online Busking

Online Busking

There have been a handful of busking threads on here in recent years and there are, it seems, a number of members that make all or part of their livings as street musicians - myself included. Busking is not really a viable or sensible option at the present time:
i. If, like myself, you rely on hitching, lifts from friends or public transport to get around, then those are either unavailable or inadvisable;
ii. There are not many people on the streets;
iii. Many people will be feeling financially insecure and penny-pinching* as a result.

So, I googled "online busking" and came upon this site https://www.streetjelly.com/ , which enables the ‘busker’ to stream their music live from their home, whilst ‘passers by’ (who have subscribed as ‘Viewers’) drop in tokens that they have purchase from the site. One token holds a value of 16¢ (US) to the busker; the viewer pays from 20-32¢ per token, depending on the quantity they buy, so the website takes a cut of 20-50% on each token.

There might be other similar platforms out there, but this is the only one that my search brought up. The more tech-savvy could no-doubt set up something like this independently, cutting out the middle-man, so to speak. But that entails a lot of self-promotion (or ‘begging’ - which I am trying to avoid) to get your passers by. Streetjelly at least gets a lot of buskers in one place, so once someone is there, you have a chance of being found - I’m happy for them to take their cut for that service.

It certainly feels awkward trying to promote my own busking on The Session, whose membership consists of 240,000 musicians, perhaps 120,o00 of them better musicians than myself, and many of whom are trying to make their own livings out of music. So first of all, I appeal to all buskers or would-be buskers to check it out and consider using it (it would be nice to trad-bomb the site 😉 ). Secondly, I invite all those that find themselves in a position of financial security to have a look, buy tokens and give them to whoever warrants them.

If you’re looking for traditional music, you can search by genre in the ‘Live Preview’ tab: select ‘More Genres’, then you’ll find ‘Celtic’(*?%!) somewhere down the list…
*…by which I mean, of course, holding on tight to their own pennies, not pinching my pennies - although that could also happen, if someone is really desperate.

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Great idea, though I wonder if it will pay. What do you call yourself there?

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I was able to register and find CMO’s live stream now underway (Mid Wales Busker). Enjoying the early morning (Stateside) fiddle tunes!
The website’s a bit clunky on a phone but it works. It’s possible to purchase tokens and the more you buy the higher the artist’s cut. You can also send comments get alerts when the artist is live.

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It was a pleasure (if a little nerve-wracking) to play for such a discerning class of passer-by. Thanks for your support. I hope others will sign up as buskers as well.

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Not exactly busking but allied in some way: several of the musicians who were regular session hosts in Edinburgh pubs, which are now closed, have been playing in online sessions via Facebook: one (private) group is based on The Captain’s Bar, and the other is "The Quarantine Sessions": they seem to have organised themselves into one-hour slots, and each have a "tips jar" - as they would have had in live sessions in the pub - but these are now opportunities to donate to their Paypal accounts. It is possible to place requests, and at least, for the Captain’s sessions for other previous pub regulars to offer to send in a Facebook Live song or tune.

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StreetJelly does seem like a nice idea to me, but I wonder if it’s reached "critical mass"? I’ve looked in several times and not yet found a single busker performing in any genre at all, so I’m losing interest in looking. Perhaps most of the buskers are on in the afternoon or evening in the US, I don’t know. My time zone is CET, and I tend to do that kind of thing in the morning or afternoon.

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There’s a lot of competition out there with many professional and full time musicians having to do the same thing. So, this will make things harder for the real buskers.

While I will support musicians as and when I can, my funds aren’t finite. Also, those musicians with the largest following are bound to do better than most and we will naturally want to help our own personal favourites first, in any case.

It might also be a good idea to organise some sort of central fund if there was some person or orgaisation trustworthy and responsible enough to do this. I know lots of individuals and smaller groups will already be doing this sort of thing in their small way but something bigger might be welcome.

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Streetjelly does allow performers to publish a schedule and MidWalesBusker has scheduled 2 busking sessions this evening (GMT). I would love to see more street performers take advantage of this or other platforms and I’ll do what I can to promote and support them.
Idea for Jeremy: a virtual busking section (similar to sessions) where Mustard members could post their online address and schedule.

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CMO is on presently, and tearing it up!

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…Actually, I think he’s playing at 8pm. 😉 Might not be punctual, though - depends how long I stay on the phone to my mum.

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On again now!

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That’s an interesting site. I’m back in England with girlfriend at the moment and was considering doing some playing on one of the quarentine groups I found to hopefully brighten somebody’s day. Might have to look in to this to get myself playing and practicing more. Been working on learning Aikido and Eskrima lately so not been playing as much.
Cheers!