Busking in 2022 – bye cash, hello instruments insurance

Since its invention in 2007, contactless payment has completely revolutionised the way we spend our money. You can now pay for your weekly shopping, a pint at the pub or your cinema tickets by simply tapping your card or waving your mobile phone.

According to this Capgemini report “By 2025, instant payments and e-money payments will account for more than 25% of global non-cash transactions, up from 14.5% in 2020”. More and more of us are completely converted to cashless payment. You might be too, can you even remember the last time you used cash?

This change toward a cashless society is great for many reasons. It makes money laundering more difficult, it makes currency exchange simpler, makes money theft less likely to take place and makes money handling a breeze. But it also has its downsides, such as potential data breach, hacking risk, temptation to overspend and more. In addition to the impact it has on our personal lives, a cashless society is and will impact industries and areas of our lives that we might have not considered such as busking.

If you are a seasoned busker, you probably know everything about the subject, but if you are just starting up or thinking about getting into the business, you might have some questions. Do not worry, we are here to help! In this article, we will discuss busking in 2022 and explore the best ways to be successful at it while protecting yourself.

What is busking?

If you have never heard of busking, it is the practice of entertaining people in a public space in exchange for money. It encompasses singing, dancing playing an instrument, acrobatics, poetry, magic and more. If you have ever been to a big city, you will have seen a busker before, they might have delighted you with their voice, they might have surprised you with their living statue performance or their might have left you puzzled with their puppet performance. No matter what buskers do, they are sure to get your attention. They might have even started your love and interest for live performance.

Can I make money busking?

Traditionally, buskers used to make money through tips given by the public. Artists would usually leave a downturned hat or an open instrument case on the floor for generous passers-by to drop a few coins in. However, things are quickly changing. Indeed, coming back to what we said earlier, we are quickly moving towards a cashless society. And for an industry that is based on cash tips, it might sound like a problem threatening its very existence. And yet, solutions are arising.

In the past few years, companies such as Zettle have introduced a way to keep making money while busking. They offer contactless payment machines with a repeat payment function that allows passers-by to simply tap their card or phone to make a £1 or £2 donation.

The switch to contact/cashless payments might turn out to be of great advantage to buskers. Indeed, people will not have to wrestle with their wallets to find some cash anymore and they will not be stopped to donate by a lack of cash. They will simply have to wave their phone or card to show their support for your work.

So if you are looking into getting started with busking, you will only need your instruments, a card payment machine, a smartphone to run the program and your talent (of course). And that’s it.

Is busking safe?

Busking is generally safe if you perform in highly frequented areas and if you make sure to stay vigilant. It could event be argued that busking is a bit safer now that artists can use contactless tipping as it avoids them carrying too much cash. However, it is never possible to be 100% safe, especially when carrying hundreds of pounds worth of equipment on your own in a big city. Sadly, theft is a possibility for everyone, especially buskers. Moreover, performing outside or in a highly frequented tube station puts you at risks of accidental and intentional damage.

To keep your mind at rest while doing what you love most, we would advise you to look into musical instrument and smartphone insurance (as well as camera equipment or laptop insurance if you record or stream your performances). Doing so will ensure that your working tools are protected against any accidental damage, theft and loss.

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