Innovative thinking led music personality and content strategist Jon Savage to come up with a unique way for artists to make money through livestreaming during these tough times.
Amid a time when social distancing has become the new norm and many artists are turning to livestreaming performances to keep their careers going, Jon realised that there had to be a way for artists to turn these livestream concerts into profitable opportunities – thus BUSQR was born.
Jon describes BUSQR as a tool to help artists pay the rent when live gigs are scarce, and a way to empower artists to become more independent. As Jon says, BUSQR is about helping artists help themselves.
Artists already making use of BUSQR include Zolani Mahola, Rob van Vuuren and Arno Carstens, among many more.
“We’ve had nearly 100 new sign-ups in the past two days,” Jon exclaims, as he tells more about his innovative brainchild.
Jon, you created BUSQR – what exactly is it, and how does it work?
It’s very simple and it works very simply. I think it may just be the world’s first live donations platform that allows artists, performers, comedians, chefs, etc to earn from their fans while they livestream – from anywhere in the world.
How does it work? You sign up for a BUSQR code (it’s free). You put it up on your live stream while you are performing, and people can contribute to you in real time if they like what you are doing! In addition, the artists get live notifications in real time, so they can thank fans personally during the stream.
Where did you get the idea from? How were you able to start this initiative?
I’m an artist myself and have been working in the music industry for many years, and a lot of my work is about trying to grow an infrastructure around the music industry to support artists.
I felt the pain of many artists losing their gig income during the lockdown, and thought that something like this might be useful to the industry.
My company, InBroadcast, focuses on innovations in the broadcasting space, so it was natural to work with them on getting BUSQR up and running – there was no business plan, just an idea of how this might solve a pain point. And from there, it has just snowballed!
Why did you start this initiative? What prompted the idea?
I think the idea was largely inspired by the gaming industry. Gamers have been doing this for years on Twitch and other platforms, and contributions to your stars for doing cool shit in the gaming world is what has made the gaming world tick!
I wanted to see whether this might be able to work in the music industry, but BUSQR has already gone beyond music into comedy, theatre, online cooking, fundraising and all sorts of livestreaming events.
Can you see this initiative helping artists to become more independent in the future?
I think that’s a very big part of the BUSQR ethic. We have a BUSQR WhatsApp helpline, and a lot of what we do is service artists who need help figuring out how to livestream, what the best platforms are, how best to get their BUSQR codes up in the right spot, etc. BUSQR is about helping artists help themselves.
In what other ways does this initiative empower artists?
We’ve seen incredible fundraisers being curated around BUSQR. Musician Dan Green managed to convince a whole bunch of incredible artists to do a gig in order to raise money to help a township in Noordhoek that is really struggling. He managed to raise R120 000 in one hour through BUSQR! That was amazing to see!
How can artists apply to be a part of BUSQR?
It’s super easy: just go to the website and fill in the form. That’s it. We are trying to turn around codes within 48 hours, but this is getting harder, as the demand is insane!
Are there any hidden costs? How are you benefitting from BUSQR?
We charge a nominal administration fee of 5% from each transaction after bank charges to handle our overheads, and that’s it – no hidden costs, no scalable percentages, no ticket prices. And also, we are completely transparent about every penny, as you’ll see once you are signed up. Artists get live SMSs on every contribution, as well as thorough breakdowns.
What does the future hold for BUSQR? Any plans to expand the initiative?
Currently, we are starting to see a lot of international demand, so we are creating some new features that might be beneficial to both local artists and possibly the global market.
- Visit BUSQR’s website for more information or to get your own code.