Street performing, or busking at it’s often referred to as by street performers, is an excellent way to not only improve your skills, but also a great way to earn some extra cash.
But how much do street performers make? Let’s look at how much street performers earn and how you can improve your busking.
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How Much Do Buskers Make?
How much you make as a street performer is going to depend on a few things, mostly where you perform and when.
Getting a solid estimate on the earnings of street performers is a bit difficult since it can vary wildly and many buskers don’t really say what they make.
From what I can tell, an average day of busking can bring in about $50 during the weekdays, but that can easily go up to between $100 – $150 a day over weekends. In a good location and the right timing, I’ve seen street performers earning up to $500 in a single weekend.
How to Make Your Busking Great
There are a few things you can do to improve not only your chances of earning money, but also how much you can earn while busking.
This one is a bit obvious, but where you perform plays a big part in how much you can expect to make.
Areas with a lot of foot traffic, squares, waterfronts, town and city centres, subways, these are all great places to set up and attract the most amount of people.
Avoid areas that already have a larger number of other performers. You want to avoid having to compete with other street performers for people’s attention and money.
Choosing when to perform also adds a lot of value to your chosen location as when you perform can affect how much you earn.
Weekends will be your best bet, not only because you’ll have the most foot traffic, weekends will also be when people aren’t rushing to and from work or busy with errands.
People will be more relaxed over weekends and more willing to stop and take notice of your performance, and you’ll be more likely to get tourists and out of towners.
Also keep track of any festivals or large events happening in your area so that you can take advantage of the larger crowds that they’ll attract.
Even with the best spot at the best time, you still need to stand out from other performers if you want to expect to make money as a busker.
Simply playing guitar while singing isn’t going to be enough since most people have seen 20 other performers doing the exact same thing.
Performers that play other instruments, like cello or violin or saxophone, often report earning far more than performers that sing and play guitar or drums.
If you can play another instrument, rather try busking with that, but even if you don’t, you can still spice up your singing and guitar playing.
You can learn to use a loop pedal or even playing with backtracks can already make you more unique than other performers.
Most importantly, be entertaining. Dance, interact with the crowd, wear a costume, these can all make you stand out more.
Have a Good Repertoire
If you’re looking to really attract crowds, you should learn as many songs as you can ranging from old favourites to modern hits.
People are more likely to stick around and give money to someone playing songs that they know and enjoy listening to.
Having a large repertoire of songs to play will also help you adapt to changing crowds, and can even help you attract certain crowds depending on the types of people you can see walking past you.
Know Your Local Laws
A big mistake people often make is thinking that they can simply go to any street corner, throw down a hat, and start busking since they’re public places.
This is certainly true for some places, but you’ll likely need some form of permit or permission to be able to perform.
Check with your local government for any permits you might need and any laws regarding noise and street performance.
And that’s it, the most important things to know regarding busking to give you an edge and help you make a nice amount of extra cash as a street performer.