The Busking project support

Find here all you need to know about BuSKing

ABOUT THE APP

WHAT IS THIS APP ABOUT?

The app connects street performers and audiences. It has a live busking map of the world, so people can find their nearest performers. And then, when they've seen a show they love, they can tip the performer with one-click cashless payments in the street!

IS THE APP FREE TO DOWNLOAD AND USE?

Yes! But, we take a small commission on tips (see below).

HOW DO I CREATE AN ACCOUNT?

THROUGH THE MOBILE APP

Load the app on your iPhone and register an account. If you want to get cashless payments, you can also create a “Stripe” account while going through the registration process (see below).

THROUGH THE WEBSITE

Go to busk.co and click “Sign Up” (if you’re viewing the page on a phone you’ll have to first click the menu button on the top-left of the page). Fill in your info, it's as simple as that.

WHAT IS STRIPE?

Stripe enables people to accept online payments over the internet. Stripe is one of the world's best and most secure online payment processors, used by Twitter, Kickstarter, Pinterest and many other huge brands. It offer a convenient method for exchanging real money in a safe way.

HOW DO I GET A STRIPE ACCOUNT?

FOR BUSKERS:

When you've registered a profile on the app, click “Connect to my Stripe” when you log in, fill out your details on the form below and you’re ready to go.

FOR FANS:

It's much simpler for you. The first time you use Stripe to donate to a busker you'll have to enter your card details. Stripe will save them, and after that, you’ll be able to one-click donate!

IS IT SAFE?

Yes. The busker doesn't have your info. We (The Busking Project) don't have your info. The only people who store your info are Stripe – and they're used by some of the world's largest companies, including Twitter, Kickstarter, Pinterest and many others.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ALL THIS INFO?

In many countries there are laws where online payment providers have to ask for a certain amount of information about their clients/customers. This is essentially just so that you can prove who you are. It attempts to stop people using your service for money laundering (among other things). See this post to see how to create a profile.

WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY AUDIENCE?

Let your audience know that this isn’t JUST a way of donating to you if they don't have cash. It’s the ONLY way they can keep in touch with you, find out when and where you’re performing, find out where all the other amazing buskers are performing, and to stay in touch, become a fan and so on. Get familiar with the app so you can answer their questions.

You should probably also mention that if they don’t have cash on them, they now don’t have an excuse… “Download the Busk app from the App Store, available on iPhones”. “It’s your backstage pass to the street”.

HOW MUCH WILL I EARN?

We refuse to have ads or sponsors on our site. Busking is, on the whole, an anti-capitlaist, anti-commecial, spontaneous, anarchic and beautiful act. It should remain that way. So to pay for this, we take a small commission on payments through the app.

Buskers get 90% of any donations through the app. That is a flat rate.

From the remaining 10%, Stripe, the company that safely and securely deals with the transactions, takes either 1.9% + 20p for domestic transactions (UK to UK), and 2.9% + 20p for all other transactions (i.e. USA to EU or USA to USA, or EU to AU etc etc).

The Busking Project takes the rest. In other words, we take between 3 and 8% of the total. This pays for hosting, legal advice, design, development, web services (like Skype/Heap/Slack), research, advocacy work and so on. Nobody’s taking an end-of-year profit/bonus from this.

COULD YOU GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE PAYMENT?

If someone tips you £5, you will get £4.50, Stripe will get £0.30-£0.35 (depending on if it's domestic or foreign payment), and we will earn £0.15-£0.20

If someone tips you £10, you will get £9, Stripe will get £0.39-£0.49, and we will earn £0.51-£0.61

If someone tips you £20, you will get £18, Stripe will get £0.58-£0.78, and we will earn £1.22-£1.42

If someone tips you £50, you will get £45, Stripe will get £1.15-£1.65p, and we will earn £3.35-£3.85

If someone tips you £100, you will get £90, Stripe will get £2.10-3.10, and we will earn £6.90-£7.90

I’M NOT A BUSKER. WHY SHOULD I USE THE APP?

You get to find amazing talent near you. You get to support the artists you love. You get to keep in touch with them, and find out when/where they’re next performing. You get to donate to them without having to go to an ATM.

And BuSK really is the best place to find and keep in touch with street performers all over the world. We are trying to get busking recognized as the honest, valuable art form that it is. The more people we have involved, the more power our words are. You’re already helping by downloading the app! Download it here.

IS THE APP OUT ON ANDROID/WINDOWS/MY PHONE?

Not yet! But we are already working towards bringing it out on Android. If you want the app on Windows, let Bill Gates know he should somehow get a bigger market share (to make it cost effective for us). :)

QUESTIONS?

We’re always trying to improve what we do. If you have questions/comments, email us! info@busk.co

ABOUT THE WEBSITE

WHAT DOES THE WEBSITE LET ME DO?

Our website and app work in much the same way that the Facebook app works – what you change on the website will ALSO be changed on the app.

However, the live busking map only exists on the app (the map that lets people find out who's performing near them right now), and although you can also donate to a busker on the website, the "one-click" function only works on the app. On the website, you can also:

  • • Add videos and write a longer bio for your profile
  • • Get hired for gigs
  • • Sell your music (feature coming soon)
IT'S NOT JUST ANOTHER SOCIAL NETWORK?

No. We aren’t trying to replace existing social media platforms. Rather, the app and website are intended to be tools you use in the physical world – to sell music, to get digital payments, to be used IN THE STREET.This is a backlash to social media. It's a technological connection in a way that post-internet communities actually need! By connecting your audience to your BuSK profile while you perform (by displaying a sign and telling them about it), you can actually spend LESS time behind your computer screen.

ABOUT BUSKING

WHAT IS BUSKING?

“Busking” is an English word for “street performing”. In basic terms, they entertain passersby in return for voluntary donations. Busking is a valuable part of a city's cultural tapestry and it has a wealth of social benefits.

ISN'T IT BEGGING?

No. Beggars rely on the donations of passersby. Buskers rely on the tips of people they have successfully engaged and entertained. Many buskers are just trying to live doing what they love, getting tips for their art instead of for serving food or doing clerical work. They enjoy their jobs, enjoy touching our hearts and minds, and work hard to do so.

WHY DO BUSKERS NEED OUR HELP?

Busking has been a reliable and viable way of making a living for millennia. Artists today are using it to fund circus school, studio recording, tours and rent. They’re a savvy bunch. However, buskers are facing three very modern problems.

  • • We’re moving towards a cashless society.
  • • CD sales are going down as digital streaming dominates the market.
  • • And local governments are legislating against busking without enough data to make the right decisions.

In short; buskers are finding it harder to earn, harder to sell and harder to perform. This is why we’re here.

ABOUT THE BUSKING PROJECT

WHY DID YOU START THE BUSKING PROJECT?

Because we saw a problem that nobody else was fixing. Also, Nick moved in with an inspirational street performer in 2004, which made him interested in the subject.

WHEN WERE YOU FOUNDED?

We came up with the idea for the documentary in 2010. We filmed it in 2011. We founded the actual company in the UK in 2012. It didn’t get off the ground until 2013. We entered a business accelerator in 2014. Any of those moments could have been thought of as our beginning!

WHAT DOES THE BUSKING PROJECT DO?

Street performers will have to adapt to the cashless society or die out. The Busking Project is the tool they’ll use. We’re supporting artists to launch their careers, develop their talent, increase their audience and earn more.

We’re enabling the public find the best unsigned artists, and discover who’s performing right now, near them. Using mobile payments, people will be able to tip these artists, buy their music and hire them for gigs.

And finally, we’re doing academic research on the social and economic benefits that busking provides, in an attempt to stop governments from criminalising buskers.

WHERE ARE YOU BASED?

The Busking Project was founded in London, but our researcher splits her time between the Netherlands and Greece, our community manager is a Canadian living in France, our two founders moved from London to Colombia, our developers are also in Colombia, our writer is in Boston, and we have volunteers in Australia, the USA and Canada.

DO YOU HAVE A MISSION?

We want to live in a world where our best, most talented artists see busking as a platform to start up their careers; where urban planners design cities with art and culture in mind; and where everyone understands that buskers are more than just failed artists – they’re a crucial part of city prosperity, walkability and community.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

To have buskers increase their income streams and promote themselves through digital media with our services, while convincing bureaucracies worldwide to encourage their local artists.

ARE YOU A COMPANY OR A CHARITY?

We are a social enterprise, which is somewhere in the middle. We’re allowed to trade just like a company does, but our profits go into helping out our community. In other words, if we end up making more money than we spend at the end of the year, we’ll use that money to improve the company, do research etc. Nobody’s getting rich off of this.

IS THERE ANYONE ELSE DOING ANYTHING LIKE THIS?

No. Some companies offer one or two of our features, but nobody mixes donations, gigs, promotion, social networking and street performance. We’re also the only people in the world doing academic research on the social and economic impact of busking.

DO YOU HAVE PLANS TO LAUNCH THIS IN MY COUNTRY?

Yes. You can already set up a profile on the app and website. But we will be launching in Australia in December, and in North America and the rest of Europe in the spring (when the sun comes out again).

WHO’S ON YOUR TEAM?

We work with other talented developers and designers, all part time, but our head developer is Felipe Botero (Colombia). Dawn Marie (France/Canada) is both a busker and our community manager, running our social networks and effectively being the face of The Busking Project. Vivian Doumpa (Netherlands/Greece) is our academic placemaker, the brains behind the research that we do. Liliana Maz (Colombia) is at once a designer, developer, strategist, team manager, fundraiser and co-founder, with a masters in innovation – she makes this project work. And Nick Broad (UK/USA/Colombia) is also a co-founder, of no discernable talents. We also have a small network of volunteers, advisors, helpers and promoters around the world.

HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY?

We sell beautifully designed merchandise, take a commission on the digital tips to performers via our app (between 3-8%), apply for grants, but largely survive on donations!

WAIT, WHY DO YOU TAKE A CUT?

We refuse to have ads or sponsors. Busking is, on the whole, an anti-capitalist, anti-commercial, spontaneous, anarchic and beautiful act. It should remain that way.

Buskers get 90% of any donations through the app. Stripe, the company that safely and securely deals with the payments part, takes either 1.9% + 20p for domestic transactions (UK to UK), and 2.9% + 20p for international transactions.

The Busking Project takes the rest. In other words, we take 4-8% of domestic transactions, and 3-7% of foreign transactions. This pays for hosting, legal advice, design, development, web services (like Skype/Heap/Slack), research, advocacy work and so on. Nobody’s taking an end-of-year profit/bonus from this.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?
  • Donate – it helps us keep going!!
  • • Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Instagram
  • • Notify your local press: newspapers, magazines, bloggers and so on (press package coming soon)
  • • Tell your local street artists about us
  • • Tell us what you think about the website and app – feedback always helps!!

ABOUT MUSIC SALES

HOW MUCH WILL I EARN?

You will earn 90% of whatever the album sales for. You may change/set the suggested donation for your music or merchandise at your sole discretion. You’re responsible/liable for your own dodgy credit cards, debts, PayPal fees, sale fees, disputed payments and refunds.

SOMEONE DIDN’T GET A SONG THAT THEY BOUGHT...

TWe may redistribute previously purchased copies of your music to users who have, in our view, received a corrupted copy, an incorrect file format, an incomplete copy, or suffered a loss of your music because they’ve lost it (i.e. hard drive failure, damage, theft etc). We won’t charge them again.

ABOUT THE RESEARCH

THE MODERN CITY

Internet shopping, the recession and out-of-town commercial centres have reduced both our need and desire to come to town. Commercial districts are being bought by BIDs, whose guiding principle of “clean and safe” doesn’t include skateboarders, beggars, or, yes, street performers.

Highly visible private security makes people feel less safe, not more. Atomised communities lead to a soaring fear of crime. Sterile, “samey” city centres are identical in their lifeless commercialism. And yet, despite extremely tight budgets and few sustainable ideas, authorities are hesitant to use street performers as a method to create creative urban atmospheres. There is simply not enough data showing that busking has a positive effect. This is where The Busking Project comes in.

We are also doing academic research on the social and economic impact of busking on cities, collecting data corresponding to UN Habitat’s Urban Prosperity Index. This is the first data of its kind, and can be used to prove to local authorities what we already know from experience: Crowds of 400 people laughing and clapping in the center of town is good for us all.

The idea of “Placemaking” is quickly gaining popularity. It is a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well being.

We have partnered with PPS, the world’s founding and leading placemaking body. They invited us to present to the UN in August 2014. They’re written us a strong letter of interest. And we have hired the world’s only busking-focused placemaking academic, Vivian Doumpa, to both design our research and analyse our data.

Our app will help us research the social and economic impact of busking on a global scale.

ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY

WHAT WAS THE TRIP ABOUT?

Nick, Chris and Belle travelled to 40 cities on 5 continents in 10 months, spending 5 days in each place (see the map to see the route), trying to fly as little as possible in between venues (without risking our lives). The aim was to do the first research about busking with a global perspective, producing a book, website and documentary along the way. We filmed performances and interviews, asking buskers why they started busking, what challenges they face and where they think this is going for them.

WHERE DID YOU TRAVEL?

In order: Lisbon, Marrakech, Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Mumbai, Jaipur, Calcutta, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Moscow, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Vienna, Budapest, Krakov, Edinburgh, London, Columbia SC, Boston, New York, Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Mexico City, Havana, Bogota, Lima, Cusco, La Paz, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Rio de Janeiro – and all in ten months. Phew! Click here to see great videos from the trip.

WHAT TYPES OF BUSKING DID YOU FILM?

Anything that is open to all and free. Mimes, graffiti artists, circus acts and street musicians are common worldwide. But there are some peculiarities we were really excited to film, like the monkey dances of Jakarta (difficult to watch), the tango dancers of Argentina (powerful), the mariachi bands in Mexico (ole!), the snake charmers in Marrakech, the folk performers of Eastern Europe, the contact jugglers in Japan, and so on, and so on, and so on. Every time it got tough to continue, another exceptional act would give us the strength to go on.

WAS IT FUN?

Yes and no. Not only were we living, eating and working with each other from dawn till dusk for 300 days, we were also constantly travelling on overland journeys that would take days to complete. It was incredibly, life-changingly stressful. It was also inspiring, exciting and beautiful. So a bit of both.

AND ALL DONE IN ENGLISH?

Actually, we recorded interviews in 10 languages(!), using locals, hosts and friends as translators.

IS THE FILM READY YET?

We have (finally!) resumed post-production of the movie. It will accelerate again in March/April, when we are able to get another editor on board. Until then, to see some of our best footage from the trip, click here.