Busking: The Right Way Vs. The Wrong Way For Street Performers

Busking: The Right Way Vs. The Wrong Way For Street Performers

Written by Jaron Lewis

Busking is more than just about putting your hat down and belting out an Oasis cover. These days you comply by an etiquette. You have to perfect the acknowledging nod that comes with the impending coin drop from a satisfied spectator and does not disrupt the flow of the song.

Residential Zones And Hospital Zones

In America there have been various cases about the laws of buskers and their rights to perform in a public place. Residential zones and hospital zones are strictly prohibited, Most states do not implement strict busking laws, so theoretically you can just start unpacking your guitar and being playing in most areas of public spaces, it is usually best practice to leave when asked - there are always other areas.


The underground in London even requires buskers to audition for the chance to perform in prime people traffic zones. In Boston you will even need to submit a criminal record check as well as audition in order to perform in some areas.

Famous Buskers

Possibly the most famous former busker right now is Ed Sheeran, having slept on the London Underground and even offering to sing for people in exchange for a place to stay, it all paid off though, his album divide sold 672,000 copies in a week - a lot of change to fit in a hat!

John Butler Trio, from Perth John Butler was often found busking in the streets of Fremantle as he would be recording his records in his personal time but trying to fund it by performing original songs on the streets.

Solid Playlist And Signage

Pay attention to find out what songs you play are getting the best reception, this way you can tailor a list of you personal hits, whether these are original or cover songs you want to get people to appreciate what you are doing and spare some change for your efforts.

Get a sign and let them know who you are. If you are taking your musical career seriously then you will want people to be able to remember you. If they are enjoying your performance they might like your facebook page to stay up to date, best way to do this is make it easy to read and place it prominently maybe standing up in your guitar case as you perform behind it.


Get your license if you need one. Depending on the area you perform in you may or may not require a license, the best thing you can do is cover yourself for every eventuality and get your license, some areas may even fine you for not having one so always good to be safe.

Avoid Repetition

some people will play the same songs back to back, avoid this! Nobody wants to hear the same song 7 times in a row no matter how popular it might be. You want people to enjoy the experience that is your unique sound, so keep it unique, not repetitive

Don't Worry About The Money

Focus on the music because you never know when a day is going to be a fruitful one in terms of how much you make and others will be more challenging. When you care too much about the money, a bad day financially can influence your mood when it had nothing to do with how you performed. Do it for the love of the music.



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