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London Launches World First Cashless Busking

Image Credit: BBC News Caption: Charlotte Campbell trialled the system
Cara Anderson
| June 6, 2018

Society has mostly embraced a move toward a cashless society and that can be considered a win for many sectors of the music industry. However for buskers, the move away from carrying cash wasn’t exactly ideal.  Now there is a solution, thanks to a partnership between Busk in London and iZettle.

Busk In London was established in 2015 as a guide by the Mayor of London to encourage and improve street music in the capital and technology company iZettle which was recently acquired by PayPal have partnered on a first-ever initiative that lets buskers accept tap-to-pay contributions.

Participants plug special card readers into their smartphones and set a fixed donation amount – after that, you just have to wave your card to ensure a busker gets paid.

Launching the scheme, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said in the Independent “London is a powerhouse of music, having produced artists from Adele to Stormzy, and The xx to Dua Lipa. For London to maintain its status as a global capital of music, it’s vitally important that we support the stars of tomorrow.

“Busking helps emerging artists to hone their talent and gives them the chance to perform in front of huge numbers of people.” adding: “Now, more Londoners will be able to show their support to the capital’s brilliant, talented street performers.”

The scheme has been in trials for a while in now set to roll out across London’s 32 boroughs in the months ahead to registered buskers.

Charlotte Campbell a busker who participated in the trail reported to the BBC that that after two weeks it “had a significant impact on contributions”.

The card readers, which plug into smartphones and other devices, allow tap-to-donate fixed payments. “More people than ever tap-to-donate whilst I sing, and often, when one person does, another follows,” Ms Campbell said.

With PayPal acquiring the technology we can hope in futures years the service comes to Australia.

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