Buskers use social media and streaming to build a music career

Digital presence on Spotify and iTunes are crucial today for artists

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By Emma Shular

Buskers are increasingly realizing that social media handles are the new calling card.

Many are working to build an online presence to earn recognition as professional artists and eventually get signed by a record label.

Victoria-based musician Jordan Bell began busking straight out of high school and gathering followers on her Instagram account.

“A lot of labels at this point are looking for you to have something built up like either media presence or albums before they take you on board,” said Bell, who sets up her microphone and amplifier at popular intersections in Vancouver such as the one on Granville and West Georgia.

Bell said it’s not enough to just be a musician; you need to be able to promote yourself, show that you are committed to growing an audience and interacting with people.

From streets to streaming

In addition, Bell started producing and releasing her own albums on streaming platforms like iTunes and Spotify.

“I think live performing and streaming go hand in hand,” she said. “Unless you’re big on Spotify, you won’t really get on algorithms.”

Bell said in the end, busking is great for feedback on her performances and a useful promotional tool to draw attention to her multiple, self-produced albums.

“The more you can do self-sufficiently, the better,” she said.

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