We are carrying less and less cash these days. Earlier this year, the UK marked a tipping point when electronic transactions outstripped cash transactions, while Sweden is set to become the world's first cashless society, with only 40 - 60% of its coins still in circulation.
This is all good news. Cashless transactions are easier to track, use fewer resources and boost trade. But it does mean that some professionals who rely on cash payment need a new way to monetise their craft.
Street artists need donations from passers-by to make a living, especially in an age when streaming has replaced CDs, which means that independent musicians need to source more revenue from performing.
BuSK app, which launched earlier this month, enables musicians, street performers and artists to register their bank account with the app, so they can receive donations from the public electronically. It's good news for members of the audience as well - no need to scramble for loose coins, and if you like the performance, you can keep up to date with the artist's updates via the app, and even book them for a gig.
The app was created by Nick Broad and Liliana Maz at The Busking Project, with funding from Nominet Trust. “We should be celebrating our buskers, as street performances not only benefit the artist, but have knock on positive benefits; invigorating towns and cities.” Says Nick, adding that, “There is a lot of misunderstanding about street performers. The old joke is that buskers are ‘beggars with a gimmick’, but Ed Sheeran, Pierce Brosnan and KT Tunstall all started off as buskers."
The app launched in London with a series of lunchtime performances and media buzz from the likes of London Live, the Evening Standard, ITV News, Hackney and Islington Gazette, Tech City News and the BBC.
“I like that it puts a value on what we are doing,” said busker Charlotte Campbell, 25 (pictured below), who earns up to 70 per cent of her income from playing for up to five hours at a time on the Southbank, with the rest from bookings secured after people hear her busk.