Smartphones: Indispensable Tool For The Modern Busker

from the technology-changing-things dept

We've written recently how things like the modern smartphone maybe starting to change the movie business (though, still in very early stages), but it's impacting certain other areas as well. Musician Onyx Ashanti, who last year told us about his experiments with "pay what you want" and connecting with fans as a busker/street performer, writes in to let us know of his recent blog post concerning how the smartphone has become an indispensable tool for the modern busker:
For myself and my busking exploits, the iphone is now indespensible. I use mine as a wireless midi controller using an app called TouchOSC. When I arrive in a new city, looking for locations to busk, I make use of a gps enabled map app called MotionX GPS which allows me to download maps of an area before departing home, then drop map points of interest either from research at home, or from recommendations of people I meet in said city. It allows me to arrive in a new place and bike around, finding interesting locations as I go. When I find one that is viable based on the criteria to be covered in the next chapter, I drop a map point and location notes onto the map. This allows me to do recon on many areas of a new place, quickly and efficiently then when I am ready to play, I can focus on playing rather than pitch recon. If one potential pitch is occupied or in some way, undesirable, I can look at my map and go to the next closest potential pitch,without having to go into "recon" mode, which saves a lot of valuable time.
He later discusses how it helps as a tool to turn busking performances into venue gigs as well:
One of my favorite functions of such devices is as a portable press kit. I love busking as much as I love playing shows in venues. Many times people who book such venues, will see me on the street and hire me to play. But sometimes I happen upon a place or person and strike up a conversation and said person wants to see what I do. So, I whip out my trusted iphone, which i have preloaded with different types of videos. Some more "jazz" oriented for cafes and jazzier places, some more "dance oriented" for clubs and bars, and some live "street oriented" vids for farmers markets and street fairs. A picture may say 1000 words but a video says it all. The video quality on the iphone is extremely high and the volume is adequate. Very useful and powerful.
Of course, he also discusses how it's helpful in connecting with fans, both via social networks and in creating various flashmobs. It also is useful in selling merchandise:
Selling merchandise? With a smartphone you can accept different forms of payment in different currencies. It is now easier than ever to accept credit cards with systems like square and/or you can use paypal, which has grown far beyond a simple method of making payments on E-bay.
There's a lot more in there as well, so go read the full post. I think it's quite fascinating how the various tools out there are changing different professions that you didn't think would be impacted by such technology, and this seems to be yet another example.

Filed Under: busking, music industry, onyx ashanti, smartphones

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  1. identicon
    Lois, 26 Jan 2012 @ 9:28pm

    Buskers and technology - use ziptip to increase tips

    Lots of people dont carry much cash anymore, and there arent a lot of options for buskers to receive noncash tips using phones until now. Ziptip was started to allow anyone to pay anyone anytime and it will increase buskers tips. It uses phones and business cards. Buskers sign up at and get cards and then give them out or display them to audience. Someone who wants to tip you gets a card and scans it resukting in instant payment to your ziptip account. The cards also serve as marketing pieces for younso people will remember you. Increase your tips receipts! Visit

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