Buskers who play for a living – and not all do- should wrap up warm and play classical music on cold Sundays to collect top money, research suggests.
Tilburg University researchers spent three months studying 72 musicians at work on the streets of Cologne to find out what makes them successful. They also recorded the responses of over 80,000 passers-by.
A busker in Cologne, it turned out, earns an average of €23 an hour but if he changes his repertoire from rock, jazz or country to classical, his hourly income goes up to €27, researchers Samuel Stäbler and Kim Mierisch found. People who played better than average clocked up €28 an hour.
When buskers threw a child into the mix, earnings shot up to €45, due to the fact, the researchers suspect, that people feel paternal towards them and are therefore inclined to part with more money.
The researchers also found that people who were out and about in groups are more inclined to give buskers money because they want to impress the rest of the company with their generosity while women, due to their presumed role as the ‘more empathic’ sex, are predicted to shell out more than men.
Sundays were found to be best days to busk, particularly when it is cold, ‘probably because of the ‘Sunday effect’ – a mix of sympathy of guilt in people on their way to a warm home and religious motives, earning the players an average €35 an hour.
The research results can be of use for marketing purposes, the researchers said. Since large audiences give more money ‘street artists could benefit from actively influencing the size of the crowd around them, perhaps by bringing fans and friends to their performances or advertising to notify fans about their performances’, the researchers conclude.
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