StreetJelly: Playing for Strangers in Guam

I just played a private concert for a complete stranger…who lives in Guam.” It is a curious enough status update to get me to follow-up with some questions to my friend who is a Pacific Northwest musician. When I ask him how this was accomplished, he tells me that this all happened on StreetJelly.

“What the heck is StreetJelly?”

He proceeds to tell me about an online marketplace for buskers the world over, where people can sign on as performers or patrons and see working artists playing live around the globe and around the clock. The street performer experience is an interesting commodity to be crowdsourcing, but from what I can see, it’s actually generating a lot of satisfaction from its audience members and its artists.

How it works:

-Musicians sign on and set up an account and as long as they have a live webcam, they can start jamming.
-Patrons sign on and set up an account and buy tokens from StreetJelly to tip the musicians. They scroll through the artists who are currently “on air,” stream a live video performance, and leave a few tokens for the show. They can also reward the artists with gamified badges and pins.
-Once an artist has earned $50 worth of token, SJ can send a payment through PayPal to the artist on a monthly basis. Up to 80% of the funds collected from the purchase of virtual tokens go directly to the musicians. The rest, of course, goes into paying for this business: servers, advertising, salaries, and all that jazz

The site is actually a collaborative project built by music lovers in Nashville, New York, and Germany who have a passion for finding yourself in the middle of a spontaneous carnival of sound. It will be interesting to see how it evolves over time and if any of the artists who get started there end up being discovered.

What do you think of online “street” performances? What other elements could be added to increase engagement on StreetJelly?

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