Buskers go digital in Vancouver

Musicians love to share their talents


By Marilyn Reichert

Passengers heading home from work can often hear the faint tunes of a guitar floating over the crowds of the SkyTrain station. Who doesn’t appreciate a musical interlude to offset the tediousness of life?

When we walk past talented musicians, it is easy to take a moment and enjoy the music. When it comes to tipping, we regularly find ourselves coinless in an ever-increasing cashless world. Buskers deserve to be tipped and we need to be prepared to tip them using digital cash tools. 

Busking is having a transformative moment as the world hurdles down the digital path. It too is shifting away from receiving the flipped two-dollar coin into a hat or case, and adapting to the use of QR codes or e-transfers to receive payments. 

While some musicians have posters with a variety of digital-giving options, the transient audience, who are frequently in a hurry, are not always prepared for the changing giving patterns. Transferring money by phone makes some in the community uneasy. But one doesn’t need to be afraid of the digital changes. Just turn on your phone, take a photo of the QR code and from there, go online to make the transfer.

Busking is often a fun way for musicians to show off their talents. It can be an effective way for music artists to build their confidence or kick-start a music career – a way to get their sound out there. 

Now with the increase in the cost of living, busking for tips has become a source of supplementary income for many street performers. 

Not all musicians have progressed along with the digital movement. Does the saxophone player focused on his music-making outside the SkyTrain station feel discouraged when he glances down to an empty tip jar?

If you are a musician who loves to busk and you’re missing the cash, there are websites available to help musicians create a payment system in our card-tapping society. 

Hopefully our cashless world will not penalize the talented musicians who live and work among us – the ones who turn our mundane commutes into moments of pleasure. Keep those musicians playing their tunes. Don’t let the music die.

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