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the act of busking on the streets
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 

the act of busking on the streets

I know this is a sound engineering forum, but from my other threads it would appear that people on this forum have busked or are busking on the streets. So I wanted to ask you some questions on how it works and is it worth doing or not

First off, in the past I have been criticized and ridiculed by musicians that sing and play a guitar for not being a musicians myself as all I do is sing to backing track. Most of the buskers I have seen sing and play a guitar and I have only seen the odd one or 2 singing to backing tracks, I mean is this consider acceptable or not?

Second is I have been on 3 auditions for 3 different booking agents and I have not been excepted, so do you think my singing is so bad that I had better forget it as all I will do is make a fool out of myself in public and people will remember my face and sneer and laugh as I walk down the street
Please have a listen to these clips and tell me what you think
https://old.vocaroo.com/i/s1NWKWbrcBXo
https://old.vocaroo.com/i/s1FOE3Kvxnv4

And third do you make any money out of it?

4th do you get an audience and if so how big

And 5th and final, dose it lead to anything more then the money people donate in your hat/ guitar box

Thanks
DD

PS what time of day is best?

Last edited by desperate dan; 1 week ago at 02:54 AM.. Reason: another question
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
becks bolero's Avatar
 

busking is a great way to hone your skills

it's also a great way to get over being shy, and develop ability to interact with other people, spontaneously

if you think you are really bad & need to work up to "real" busking, start out near a liquor/beer store
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Get out and do it man. Who cares. Grow your chops. Don’t hang it up because some people don’t know how to be civil. I’ve seen singers sing to backing tracks on the street. If your singing form the heart and giving it your best, flat notes and all, people will respect your performance. That’s one thing I’ve noticed about the human condition, tomatoes are only thrown not because of bad content of material, or flat notes, they only throw tomatoes when your holding back on your performance. We want to be entertained and we love to see a performer give it their all. That’s respectable. We may not like the material but we’ll respect the heart behind the performance. Give it your best go and you will improve and even find some “fans”. Cheers.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I enjoy busking at the moment. Play fiddle and sing to my backing track. Make good money, and main thing I enjoy doing it. I am old (73) and have done gigs, concerts etc etc. Busking is great, no hanging around airports, no hassle with agents and such, never mind barmen who tell you what you are doing wrong after you brought a cheering crowd in their pub ... I turn up when I feel like it and sleep in my own bed. enjoy your busking and do what feel like doing, never mind any neysayers! :=)
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by faramita View Post
I enjoy busking at the moment. Play fiddle and sing to my backing track. Make good money, and main thing I enjoy doing it. I am old (73) and have done gigs, concerts etc etc. Busking is great, no hanging around airports, no hassle with agents and such, never mind barmen who tell you what you are doing wrong after you brought a cheering crowd in their pub ... I turn up when I feel like it and sleep in my own bed. enjoy your busking and do what feel like doing, never mind any neysayers! :=)

Well thanks for the moral support! And you two Becks and Franky
You see I was on another forum a while ago now that was just like this one that catered to sound engineering, and I got some rather nasty responses from long standing member and the mods too!

How much do you make or have you mad in a day?
How big of a crowd have you attracted and how long do they last?
And do you get people come up to you with offers of other thing?
What time of day is best?
Have the police or concil ever asked you to move on?

Sorry I don't hang around high streets and shopping malls to notice any of this, I avoid them like the plague
Old 6 days ago
  #6
Gear Head
If you have instagram, check out:
matthewlennoxmusic

He makes a living as a globetrotting busker - you might find some inspiration.

He recorded this video after his first stint of globetrotting:
https://youtu.be/NaeFYGn8zw8
Old 5 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
Well thanks for the moral support! And you two Becks and Franky
You see I was on another forum a while ago now that was just like this one that catered to sound engineering, and I got some rather nasty responses from long standing member and the mods too!

How much do you make or have you mad in a day?
How big of a crowd have you attracted and how long do they last?
And do you get people come up to you with offers of other thing?
What time of day is best?
Have the police or concil ever asked you to move on?

Sorry I don't hang around high streets and shopping malls to notice any of this, I avoid them like the plague
I live in Ireland. In my small local town I make €20 to 30 per hour, in a bigger town, which I do once a week €50+ in an hour. I could make more possibly, but prefer a quiet spot for the acoustics. Saturday is possibly best, though I tried other days with much the same money. I do not get a crowd, some people hang around for a bit, or listen from distance, but I do not try to attract a crowd, I just like playing and make enough as it is. Good entertainer makes a lot more, but I am not one. Never got anything else out of it, only occasional promise. In some towns (Dublin I think) backing tracks are banned. Some places in Europe you need a license (Prague for example) and/or bribe the police (Prague again). In Galway -my profitable town- there is just a mutual agreement among buskers how long you stay in a spot. I play in a spot nobody bothers with as it is too quiet. But all this depends on your act and location.
The time - again I used to go early to get a good spot before all the other buskers come, but discovered I made almost the same money in a quiet spot anyway.
Years ago I busked to make money for my studio and start recording and label business, best time was by far evening when people were leaving pubs. I needed the money than so I treated it as a business, played every night and wrote my earnings down every night to avoid emotional rollercoaster of feeling on top of the world on a good Saturday and totally depressed after making only a fiver or so on a rainy Tuesday or Monday.
Good luck, hope you do well. For one thing it improves your chops and confidence. My preference is NOT to amplify voice or my fiddle, as it makes me louder, especially the voice. But it does depend on the style of music you go for. :=)
Old 5 days ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 

Hi Farmata
I live in Manchester so its gonna be busking in the city centre. I see what you mean by get there early to grab a pitch
When I walk though the city centre in the morning to work there is no one playing at all! But come the afternoon I notice that is when things start to hot up. I don't know what the busking is at night time though as I never venture into the city if I don't have to.

But I still feel uncomfortable doing this as I am only singing to backing tracks and no guitar
Old 5 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
To be paid good money to play in venues you need two proven abilities.
1, The ability to draw a crowd.
2, The ability to hold a crowd.
There is plenty of competition for any spots that are open. You need to be VERY good and be a good fit for the booking agent and the venues they work with.

Can you get out and busk?
Sure you can. Its excellent practice.
Old 5 days ago
  #10
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
There is plenty of competition for any spots that are open. You need to be VERY good and be a good fit for the booking agent and the venues they work with.
.


You know something!
Out of all the acts I have seen busking in the city centre, I can only recall about 2 or 3 that had a crowd and that had something going on worth listening to, you only ever saw them busk there once though and never come back again, the rest where regulars that just could not sing or play well (well its amazing what you can do to certain chords of a song that you can not sing with a guitar) and had no audience that keep coming back time and time again, and you could see it in there faces as they sang and played and there heads and noses snooted up into the air.

But the best 2 acts regarding this is the 2 man group that come and set there drum kit up with there little name on it and just stand around rolling fags and never playing anything, but I guess to appreciate this the Emperor must be wearing no cloths I guess, then the other two who can at least produce music because these 2 bring along there speaker and just play songs off of the radio on it. No no no better one still! The flue twiderling twerp that sits on the corner of the bus shelter as I hear when I am weighting for my bus, playing 2 notes from his flute over and over again, and no one dear say a word in this fascist controlled freedom of speech one world Government state to shut the fk up and go and find someone to teach you how to play a 3 tone major or minor because you are getting on my tits, ow well the sad thing is a lot of these people are homeless but at least they are on another level of playing field as the homeless beggars trying to rob money from everyone (and yes this includes the corporative enteritis dresses up in a suit and tie trying to sell you something you have never and will never need)
Old 4 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

there are many ways and many reasons to go out and busk. 4 acrobats I befriended busked in Galway a few years ago, did 3 or four shows a day averaged € 900 a day 20 years ago. Couple of them used to work in Circ Soleil. Made more money for less work in the street. If you can pull a crowd on your name, why would you bother with an agent? Book your own hall, charge on the door, you make a lot more. Agents will come when they see you attracting a crowd because they smell money, not because you are good. They will not pick you busking in the street. As some in this thread show, for most people busking = beginner, not very good, next to a beggar. With a lot of buskers there justifying this view ;=).
When I play in the street now, I doubt any of the passers by would believe I have over 30 records out and played concerts etc all over Europe and US.
Busking is great for fun, freedom and a bit of money, maybe, only maybe for improving your chops. Playing gigs and playing concerts are different skills.
In the street you can make money with two or three songs played over and over, you cannot do that in a concert or a pub gig.
Old 4 days ago
  #12
Gear Nut
 

so you dont really need a set list then! I guess people will come listen and move on down the street and along come the next crowd. But dont expect to be booked then as they see amature begger regardless of how big or small the crowd.

Did you ever hire a hall out to play in front of fans you got from busking?
Old 4 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 

@ desperate dan - I'm sorry, but I'm going to be brutally honest here. I don't know if any of the other posters have listened to the two clips you posted, but I did, and I will tell you that your singing is really not good. On first listening, I wasn't sure if you were being completely serious with us, but from your posts, it sounds as if you might be, and if you are, then I must give you this advice: learn to sing properly, and the first lesson is to listen - really listen to what the original singers are doing.

I'm not doing this to be unpleasant to you, but simply to be honest with you - the world is full of great musicians and singers who have spent many years of painstaking study and practice to hone their craft, and these days, with the advent of Youtube TV programmes like The Voice, the listening public have higher expectations.
Old 3 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
so you dont really need a set list then! I guess people will come listen and move on down the street and along come the next crowd. But dont expect to be booked then as they see amature begger regardless of how big or small the crowd.

Did you ever hire a hall out to play in front of fans you got from busking?
No, I do a different kind of music for concerts and releases. Other people used to organize my gigs, I have no knowledge, skill or contacts to get me on radio, get interviews, promote the shows and so on. It is a different skill set. I have no idea who my "busking" fans would be. At this stage of my life I do not have a burning desire to be famous etc. Music paid for my house, land, car, I have a pension and busk for fun. I see people busking with all sort of music, and doing ok, so I did not wish to comment on your samples, like the previous poster. I did listen. I think thing is to get out there and sing. Practice at home, record yourself, all you need now is a smart phone and headphones. Never mind the recording experts here. You need thick-ish skin for busking and indeed any kind of performance. And an honest ears at home.
For gigs it is useful to have agents IMHO. You need different ones for different gigs. Some have contacts in festivals, some in clubs, some in hotels and so on. Usually you get those by contacting them, you might need a demo some prefer to see you perform a type of venue they cover.
Old 3 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by faramita View Post
You need thick-ish skin for busking and indeed any kind of performance. And an honest ears at home.
This, exactly. My comments were in response to a request for an honest opinion, by the way, but you have exactly captured what the OP needs to be aware of.
Old 3 days ago
  #16
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
This, exactly. My comments were in response to a request for an honest opinion, by the way, but you have exactly captured what the OP needs to be aware of.
and what exactly is wrong with my singing?
Old 3 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
and what exactly is wrong with my singing?
I listened to the samples as well. I wouldn't say that your singing was bad,((EDIT,OK, your falsetto singing IS bad, The intro to I'm gonna Be was passable but as soon as you sung falsetto it was terrible)I'm guilty of not listening for long enough). There seems to be a disconnect between the strength of your talent, and your own opinion of your talent.

Now plenty of people who I think have no talent make it big time, if you can pull a crowd.

Try some blackboard gigs.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 1 day ago at 05:27 AM..
Old 3 days ago
  #18
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
I listened to the samples as well. I wouldn't say that your singing was bad, yet there seems to be a disconnect between the strength of your talent, and your own opinion of your talent.
you talk in rambels and make no sence

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Try some blackboard gigs.
????
Old 3 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
you talk in rambles, and make no sense. (fixed spelling).

????
I posted from a phone. Maybe you do to.
Anyway.
I don't really want to be rude. Just give it to you straight.

Haven't you heard of Blackboard gigs?
So called because you turn up and put your name on the Blackboard, first come first served. 15-20 minute time slot and you don't get paid but you do get experience on stage and learn about how it works in your town and listen to your fellow performers so you can see where you stand.

There is a classic meme. Sex sells. If your sexy then you have a head start. If your not sexy then you better be damn good.

There are plenty of talentless, sexy people out there who seem to get ahead but what do I know really.

If you really want to make a go of a singing career then your going to have to just sing without expecting to get paid for quite a while. Unless you get lucky of course.
I've seen many a talented (and even sexy) singer struggling to make it pay. If the gigs quiet and they are taking a share of the door then it may even cost them money to sing.

Sorry, yet you seem naive as to the realities of the situation. You may not like it but you need a dose of reality.

If you think I'm wrong then fine. Go out and make it happen and prove me wrong.
No one owes you anything. No one is going to hand you anything.

Have you ever watched The Voice, or American/UK//wherever Idol?
Many a talented and sexy performer falls by the wayside.

Last edited by AnthonyG; 3 days ago at 09:48 AM..
Old 3 days ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
and what exactly is wrong with my singing?
Don't be offended, because you asked for an honest opinion in your original post, and that is what I'm giving you - it's a tough business, and there's no point being unrealistic about your own shortcomings, because others certainly won't be, as you have already found out with the booking agents.

Firstly, you are consistently off key - sometimes by not too much, other times by a yard and a half; secondly, you get the words wrong (example: it's not 'night fever, fever' it's 'night fever, night fever') - you might think this isn't a major difference, but it is enough to make it sound odd and unprofessional; third, your falsetto sounds much louder than your natural register, and consequently sounds more like you're shouting rather than singing the words; fourth, your phrasing is a little off, by which I mean your delivery of the words sounds stilted and halting when it should flow smoothly.

Singing is a skill that can be learned - sure, there are some natural singers who can just do it, but I'm afraid you are just not one of them (and neither am I by the way), but just as with playing an instrument, it requires learning the techniques and practising until they become second nature. For example, you need to learn to control your breathing to support the notes better and to be able to vary the dynamics in your voice (eg try singing softly without the notes wobbling or fading away, then slowly bringing the volume up).

But above all, as I and another poster have said, learn to really listen to what is going on in the music, and learn to really listen to yourself and be honest about what you hear, because that is the only way to understand what you need to do to improve.
Old 2 days ago
  #21
Lives for gear
 

It's turned to a critique of desperate dan's performing skills. That is fine. Singing lessons are the best cure if you think your singing is not good enough. Bono took them, when his band told him he had charisma but could not sing, Freddie Mercury took a lot of singing lessons to name just two super talented and successful guys.
Old 2 days ago
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by faramita View Post
It's turned to a critique of desperate dan's performing skills. That is fine. Singing lessons are the best cure if you think your singing is not good enough. Bono took them, when his band told him he had charisma but could not sing, Freddie Mercury took a lot of singing lessons to name just two super talented and successful guys.
No, old son, it hasn’t ‘turned’ into anything- read the original post. He specifically asked for an opinion. Now, if he doesn’t want to hear that, and if you think you should just encourage him , no matter what , then fine, but that is not what was asked for. I am giving an honest opinion of the op’s singing, which is what he asked for. I am also giving him some specific examples he could focus on to actually improve his chops. There’s zero point in blowing smoke up somebody’s backside. It’s tough making a living out of music, and it’s getting tougher. If somebody hasn’t actually got a lot of natural talent, then they’d better work on it, like most of us have done. Or forget it, and let those of us who have taken the time to develop our skills scrape what living we can.
Old 2 days ago
  #23
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Haven't you heard of Blackboard gigs?
So called because you turn up and put your name on the Blackboard, first come first served. 15-20 minute time slot and you don't get paid but you do get experience on stage and learn about how it works in your town and listen to your fellow performers so you can see where you stand.
We don't call them blackboard over this side of the pond; as hear we call them open mic nights
Done that got the T shirt and can only say what a bunch of bastards! (**** on every step of the way now)
Just a bunch of childish little bratts spitting there dummies out snoot hoot hooting for steeling there jealous little didums act/ poxy little show
By way and means of
1. Singing above G#4 or
2. Getting the audience out of there chairs and up dancing
Because they are there to control and contain the audience and are only there to amuse and entertain each other
and lets be fair there are far more of these muppit musicians then people who have come out for a drink to listen to live music
I used to keep a little black book with all there names in but now I don't bother as I know there all the same
snoot hooters cut from the same cloth anywhere in the world

But open mic is supposed to be open to anyone with any ability or any style whether that be a Shakespeare poems or a group of world class musicians reforming. Because all they have to do is say sorry my wire are not working today I can not plug your backing tracks into the mixer, meaning you are barred!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
Have you ever watched The Voice, or American/UK//wherever Idol?
Many a talented and sexy performer falls by the wayside.

I don't have a TV so I can not watch such rubbish?
But I know this lady who went on the voice
https://youtu.be/LqBAEiZwW8U
Met her on open mic night, said said she had BA honors and offered lessons
Then I emailed hear a copy of the video I recorded of myself that night (after she had left)
After she saw the video she soon snooted and never spoke since

What this business about sexy? What makes you think sexy sells then?
Old 2 days ago
  #24
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post

Firstly, you are consistently off key - sometimes by not too much, other times by a yard and a half;.
Copy of the score attached; where are the keys wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
secondly, you get the words wrong (example: it's not 'night fever, fever' it's 'night fever, night fever') - you might think this isn't a major difference, but it is enough to make it sound odd and unprofessional; .
You must know the song very well or you have gone to to original and studied it well to find that out. you think it is enough to sound odd, well where I get my backing track from, the songs are covered by cover bands all the time and words even whole sentences are different, I still dont see how it is notisable, well to be honest if you picked something like that out then I am very surpised you did not find anything in the other song
https://www.themodernvocalistworld.c...comment-123622

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
D
third, your falsetto sounds much louder than your natural register, and consequently sounds more like you're shouting rather than singing the words; fourth, your phrasing is a little off, by which I mean your delivery of the words sounds stilted and halting when it should flow smoothly.
.
I am not useing falsetto in this song its is MK register (and nor did barry gibbs and kylie minogue) I dont know where you gotten this one from

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
sure, there are some natural singers who can just do it, but I'm afraid you are just not one of them (and neither am I by the way),
And can you give me some expamples of natural singers?
Old 2 days ago
  #25
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
He specifically asked for an opinion. Now, if he doesn’t want to hear that, and if you think you should just encourage him ,


I am giving an honest opinion of the op’s singing, which is what he asked for.

I am also giving him some specific examples he could focus on to actually improve his chops.

There’s zero point in blowing smoke up somebody’s backside.
And what is all this supposed to mean???
Old 2 days ago
  #26
Gear Maniac
Another thing to bare in mind is that in some large cities, unless you have a special license issued by local councils, busking is illegal. Which, in the case of Desperate Dan, seems like a perfectly sensible way of protecting the general public. Yes, I’ve listened to the sound clips
Old 1 day ago
  #27
Lives for gear
I can't figure you out desperate dan.
I can't help but think that your having a lend of us all and this is some kind of practical joke, yet I fear your being for real.
You have this unshakable sense of entitlement, while simultaneously having an unbreakable sense of victimhood.

The music business is one TOUGH business. Many are called, few are chosen.

If you really think that you already have what it takes and its just EVERYONE around you trying to hold you back for their own jealous reasons then your just going to have to go out on your own and just do it by busking.
I have a sense that your hearts not in busking though. I get the sense that you believe busking is beneath you and that's not going to work in your favour if you give it a go.
Old 1 day ago
  #28
Lives for gear
 

Yeah, I’m out of this one now, @ anthony G. To you @ Deps erate dan I will simply say this: being a musician takes time and effort, which you clearly can’t be bothered with. You come onto this forum asking musicians for advice and opinions, then spend most of the thread insulting us. For the record, pretty much every musician I’ve ever met is happy to welcome another musician, talk to them and swap advice and tips, because we’ve all been through the same hard grind of learning our craft, and we know what it takes. Your attitude here and your response to constructive criticism shows why other musicians give you the cold shoulder. Now goodbye, and have fun busking.
Old 1 day ago
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by desperate dan View Post
Copy of the score attached; where are the keys wrong?



You must know the song very well or you have gone to to original and studied it well to find that out. you think it is enough to sound odd, well where I get my backing track from, the songs are covered by cover bands all the time and words even whole sentences are different, I still dont see how it is notisable, well to be honest if you picked something like that out then I am very surpised you did not find anything in the other song
https://www.themodernvocalistworld.c...comment-123622


I am not useing falsetto in this song its is MK register (and nor did barry gibbs and kylie minogue) I dont know where you gotten this one from



And can you give me some expamples of natural singers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
Yeah, I’m out of this one now, @ anthony G. To you @ Deps erate dan I will simply say this: being a musician takes time and effort, which you clearly can’t be bothered with.
.
After careful consideration. It is with the greatest of shame and upmost ridiculed contentment that I regrettably present you with the emperor's new cloths https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Em...7s_New_Clothes
Old 1 day ago
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by littleeden View Post
No, old son, it hasn’t ‘turned’ into anything- read the original post. He specifically asked for an opinion. Now, if he doesn’t want to hear that, and if you think you should just encourage him , no matter what , then fine, but that is not what was asked for. I am giving an honest opinion of the op’s singing, which is what he asked for. I am also giving him some specific examples he could focus on to actually improve his chops. There’s zero point in blowing smoke up somebody’s backside. It’s tough making a living out of music, and it’s getting tougher. If somebody hasn’t actually got a lot of natural talent, then they’d better work on it, like most of us have done. Or forget it, and let those of us who have taken the time to develop our skills scrape what living we can.
Fair enough.
All I can do here to advise Desperate Dan to go out busking and practice at home. Indeed it would be time better spent than arguing here. No amount of online advice is as good as practicing your craft. IMHO. I did not mean to be critical of you or anybody.
Reading all the subsequent posts:
Desperate Dan, in my humble opinion, it does not help to criticize other musicians or open mic sessions. If they do not work for you, just try your busking, or organize your own open mic. Believe you me I got a whole lot of rejection, negativity from all sorts of people, and perhaps sometimes justified. You need to get out there, you need to practice your craft. It helps to to have experienced friends, and it helps a lot if more experienced people give you their criticism.

Last edited by faramita; 1 day ago at 07:32 PM..
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