The following is a guest post by Aaron Samuels, a Seattle musician and Street Jelly member. We profiled Street Jelly a few months ago as an example of the crowdsourced street performer experience. Want to hear a live musician playing for you? Sign on to Street Jelly where the music and performance experience is always authentic and immediate. Samuels, a StreetJelly regular, was eager to share his experience.
As I write this, a young man who goes by the handle “Pointer” is playing a song of inspiration in a southern Californian basement (his parents’). We are joined by a Jellyfish in Toronto who goes by “ImageAndFamily”. Several other people have come and gone for this broadcast, including “SadieNorkin” a former student of the School of Rock here in Seattle, now studying at (and broadcasting from) Berklee in Boston. Her broadcast just an hour or so earlier had the usual Jellyfish in virtual attendance, including a newer member named “Aleksandar” from Serbia, and, hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Street Jelly creator Frank “Frankie” Podlaha.
A “Jellyfish” is a Street Jelly junkie – one of the spontaneous descriptors to develop via chat in this virtual community. “Jellyfly” is another. A Jellyfly is anyone who views but does not participate in the real-time chat feature of the site. It’s amazing to watch as a new language, moreover an entire culture, rises up around this new phenomenon. The Jellyfish already have inside jokes including a standing request for a rendition of Prince’s “Purple Rain” – it’s Street Jelly’s Freebird-esque obligatory request song…although, there is plenty of Skynyrd to be had as needed, via Jellyfish “CliftonPrinty” down in Missouri.
Yes, I am a Jellyfish. So much so that I am constantly proselytizing for new Jellyfish. When someone is performing on Street Jelly whom I consider to be worth watching and listening to, I immediately update my Facebook status with a link to their performance, and then individually link in Facebook chat to all of my friends to let them know what’s going on. If you “Like” the Street Jelly Facebook page, you will get alerts whenever someone is performing. Also, when you’re on the site, you can “Favorite” an artist and receive instant email updates about when they are broadcasting and about their scheduled performances. Anybody anywhere in the world with access to the internet and the proper Flash protocol can sign in at any time and watch, for example, “JayroGonzalez”, a Latin American musician now living in Dublin, playing a classical guitar bossa nova rendition of “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel. And if you’re not a Jellyfly, you can even request a song or two.
The Street Jelly experience has something for everyone. It’s fun to just sign on and play, or just pop by and watch a song or two. But if you become a member, you can schedule a performance or broadcast any time of day on a whim. You can also purchase tokens to give to performers. When a performer accrues enough tokens, the money gets transferred to their paypal account. I myself have made over $150 on here in just three months of random performances. And heck – I was gonna just sit around in my living room playing my guitar ANYWAY, now I’m doing so to a rapidly expanding international audience of friends and getting paid for it. And it’s never too late to broadcast. I signed on and played a concert for someone in Guam the other night. It’s earlier there, apparently.
And that, as Samuels might point out, makes StreetJelly an inheritor of one of the original forms of artist crowdfunding (pennies into a hat on a street corner) – StreetJelly has just brought the experience online. Will be interested to see what is next from SJ.
For more information about Aaron Samuels:
Samuels’ StreetJelly profile:
For more on StreetJelly, visit