Busking has been modernised through an innovative new service exclusive to the buskers of Birmingham. Busk in Brum is a public website that allows each Birmingham busker to make their own profile on the website and have that profile found by the public.
The website is the brainchild of Yasemin Gumushan, music journalist and entrepreneur from Leicester.
“Busk in Brum is all about saying ‘thank you’ to the buskers of Birmingham. I’m a strong believer that we don’t quite appreciate what we have until it’s gone, so we need to start recognising the talents we get to enjoy daily through busking and give buskers as much support as possible. It’s important to be kind.
“Busk in Brum aims to promote, support and celebrate the buskers of Birmingham by providing them and their act an additional level of exposure through the online platform. Any performer from musicians, dancers, artists and circus acts are welcome to create their own profile which will appear on the site to be searched for through simple filters by those who enjoyed their talents.”
Busk in Brum found that we are now living in a cashless society, with contactless and card payments being made more frequently – negotiating the livelihood of buskers and the long-lived trade. The site also discovered that there are policies buskers are asked to follow by Birmingham City Council, these are making it difficult for many buskers to earn gratuities or receive recognition. To sell their merchandise, buskers must be granted street trading consent, although the council have said their applications are full and consent cannot be given to any buskers. Promotional signs must also be condensed to no larger than A3 size, making it difficult for buskers to sell themselves.
Busk in Brum allows buskers to include links to their own online stores on their profile which will enable users to purchase their merchandise as a loop-hole to street trading. The profiles can also include a gallery of images, a biography, videos of performances, links to socials and any contact details to be booked for events or extra jobs – things which are difficult to communicate or prevented during their performances. Custom made stickers and t-shirts are complimentary provided by Busk in Brum for the buskers to wear to promote their profiles in directing the public to their pages upon joining the site.
Birmingham busker James Chatfield explains:
“Busk in Brum is a great platform for buskers of all styles and of all stages to learn about local busking regulations, as a fairly new busker I learnt a lot with regards to busking in Birmingham, the information on their site was easy to follow and very clear, wording it in a friendly manner.
“I feel the site grants opportunities to connect with other buskers and to share information and music to the public that is quite hard to during a street session. I feel nothing but greatness will come from being involved with Busk in Brum and I am excited to see their future plans!”
Busk in Brum is aiming to reach as many buskers as possible to join the community and make their profile today. The completely free service aims to connect buskers with other buskers for collaborations, to connect buskers with their audiences for further promotion and connect audiences with their favourite buskers as a way of celebrating the trade. As busking dates back to antiquity, Busk in Brum believes there should never be a time where buskers aren’t colouring the grey streets with their vibrant performances.