Street performers or street musicians these days are more inclined to digital platforms than to the old way of accepting change. A recent report by economists at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia found that street musicians in certain areas receive more donations from passers-by using digital payment methods such as PayPal and Bitcoin than traditional means.
Street musicians turning to the digital world
Economists from RMIT University in Melbourne and data from The Busking Project show that digital payment methods are becoming the norm for street performers. According to statistics from the study, the study combed the payments of 3,500 street musicians from 121 countries.
Street performers who receive payments digitally have been using various methods for a long time. A variety of stories and forum posts show that bitcoiners have been busking for bitcoin for the past decade.
In April 2018, ABC interviewed a street musician named Josh Thompson who was “a busker for Bitcoin”.
At the time, Thompson said in Australia that passers-by were “reluctant to make electronic payments to street musicians”. Thompson noted, however, that this is not the case everywhere as other regions are more likely to pay digitally than change.
“In Europe and the UK, people are paying with apps and PayPal, and anyone who deals with Bitcoin is actually paying street musicians with digital currency,” Thompson said.
The most recent study compiled by RMIT economists was conducted by Dr. Meg Elkins, Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics, Finance, and Marketing at RMIT. Elkins pointed out that the report’s findings suggest that street performers these days tend to have an “entrepreneurial” spirit.
“Street musicians publicly performing for coins is a centuries-old practice, but they need to get online as our society becomes increasingly cashless,” Elkins said. The economist added:
We know that many street performers become personalities in their own right, and we wanted to find out how they could use digital payment systems to increase their online earnings and create more sustainable careers.
Digital payments simplify the process
The Busking Project itself is an application that street performers and fans connect with. The platform allows tips from bank transfers in a few different fiat currencies. However, some blog posts from The Busking Project also highlight the use of Bitcoin for payments.
In a specific article, The Busking Project offers the reader six digital methods to choose from, and one of them is Bitcoin. In the Bitcoin section of the post, the author says the digital currency is: “My absolute favorite way to get tips.”
The author of the article from 2017 further emphasizes that Bitcoin (BTC) “the transaction fees are getting higher” and “it is in the early introductory phase”. The author adds that Bitcoin is well worth learning and the value of BTC could increase over time.
“So if you get paid with Bitcoin and keep it in your Bitcoin wallet, you could end up earning more than the tip amount,” adds the author of the article on six digital payments.
The RMIT economist believes digital payments and QR codes are great ways for street musicians to get paid. The RMIT study also shows that circus acts receive the largest donations. Musicians are most likely to receive donations, but musicians will also receive the lowest payments.
“In the future, we could see QR codes as part of the street performance, which would make the payment process even easier,” says Elkins. The author of the RMIT report concluded:
More than 40 QR code trails are on the way across Europe, the USA and Australia. Digital platforms can potentially allow street performers to generate more generous donations that go beyond cash tips.
What do you think of street musicians getting more digital tips than the traditional replacement money method? Let us know what you think on this matter in the comments below.
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