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How to Make Money Street Performing

by John Peters

Got a talent for music or performance? Follow these steps to make some extra cash by hitting the streets and bringing some art straight to the people!

Be Loud
No one is going to give you money if they can’t hear you. One of the biggest mistakes street performers make is not playing loud enough for people to actually hear them. This may mean go electric rather than acoustic, or pick a horn or some instrument which will be easy to hear from farther away.

Hit Your Demographic
If you are an expert musician, you can probably engage people with some of your originals. But if you really want to draw a crowd you’re probably going to want to play songs people are familiar with. Try performing a new take on songs that aren’t usually covered. Trap music, theme songs from old shoes, anything that people will recognize the lyrics to that you can put a twist on and still make sound good. 

Look Cool
People respond to authenticity, so you have to present yourself as someone who’s good at performing. Find a spot that is recognizable so that if people post a video of you, their friends may come find you later. One of the most important parts of being a likable street performer is having a look. Maybe you have a crazy long beard and shred a Les Paul. Maybe you wear overalls and pluck a banjo. Whatever you do, don’t look boring, put some effort into how you present yourself. This will all add to your audience’s experience, and make them more likely to throw you some cash.

Go Digital
The most common way street performers take money is by leaving out their case or a large container of some kind and possible leaving a sign. Put a spin on this by leaving a large sign with your Venmo handle as well. That way, people don’t have to feel uncomfortable by walking in front of your performance to leave a tip. 

Get Big
The cities where street performers earn the most on average are New Orleans, Boulder, Baltimore, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Nashville. Even if you don’t live near any of these, make sure to hit a spot that’s gonna give you a lot of potential audiences.

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