BUSKING - making money in the US with playing songs on the street? - Gearspace.com
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BUSKING - making money in the US with playing songs on the street?
Old 8th February 2007
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
BUSKING - making money in the US with playing songs on the street?

Old 8th February 2007
Lives for gear
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
No problem. I'm sure you'll quickly find someone with a "ProTools rig" who will record you on the street for less than you make in tips.
Old 8th February 2007 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Dave Peck's Avatar
🎧 15 years
It's possible to get into trouble even if you were a US citizen. Making money and not reporting it is tax fraud. I bet it's even more trouble if you're not permitted to work in the states. And there are lots of cities that have ordinances against public performance for pay without getting a city permit. Some places are fine with it but local ordinances can vary a lot and you should check it out before you crank it up.

Old 30th October 2013
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Busking in the USA can be lucrative if you have a good act of something entertaining or different. Americans can be rather generous. If you're raggedy and with an old, out of tune guitar just trying to raise some cash to buy weed, forget about it. If you have a polished act you can make around $300 in a couple of hours. When going to film school at New York University, I had friends in the music department that paid their way through college busking. It also gave them a lot of experience. Basically, you'll get what your worth. If you're putting together a gig it's best to go solo. Having a clean, tuned act doesn't necessarily guarantee you'll cash in. You have to be personable and have a hook to draw the crowds. A hook is something that gets attention or gets the audience involved. For example, I saw a Latin band in NYC's West Village in Thompkin's Square that handed out musical implements like a cow bell, Maracas, and pebbles in a can that they passed out to the onlookers and got them involved in the music. Best times are lunch and after work lets out. Best places are bigger cities in high traffic areas. New York and the coveted subway system can be a real cash cow. The transit authority issues permits for the most lucrative spots in the subway system and you, actually, have to audition for them. The auditions are held only one day a year. Now that doesn't mean you have to go through the whole process to busk the subways. Buskers are all over the place and provide a interesting distraction while people are waiting for their train, but to get the good spots you'll need the permit. I just wished that you could rotate with the other permit holders so you're not playing to the same crowd. The transit cops are pretty cool unless you're taking up too much space or being obnoxious. Jeeze, I could probably write a book about it. Keep your act fresh and change it up now and then. If your doing music make some quality CDs. These days you just need a good microphone set up, a mixer or a DAW (Digital audio workstation, which I recommend because you can add effects, etc), and a computer. You can get a CD label maker (be Creative and make your labels look professional). You can copy your master one at a time with what's already in your puter or for about $300 you can get a copier that punches out 5 at a time (it's worth it). CDs go for about $10 bucks and will vastly improve your income ratio.

Watch for me next summer. The Sax & Violins tour, "Dancing in the streets". It's a real pro looking act. I won't give the details cause I don't want the competition. Ya know what I'm say'n?

Last edited by genobethune; 30th October 2013 at 05:31 AM.. Reason: Left out something.
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