London is to introduce contactless payments for buskers in what organisers say is a world first.
Performers will be given card readers so passers-by can tap and donate.
Launching the scheme, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said: “London is a powerhouse of music, having produced artists from Adele to Stormzy, and The xx to Dua Lipa. For London to maintain its status as a global capital of music, it’s vitally important that we support the stars of tomorrow.
“Busking helps emerging artists to hone their talent and gives them the chance to perform in front of huge numbers of people.”
He added: “Now, more Londoners will be able to show their support to the capital’s brilliant, talented street performers.”
The scheme is being implemented by Busk In London – an initiative designed to encourage and improve street music in the capital – and technology company iZettle.
Card readers will be set to accept a fixed amount chosen by the musician so he or she can continue playing while passers-by donate. Performers will also be given chip and pin card technology.
The aim of the project is to increase the amount of money buskers receive, organisers say.
Charlotte Campbell, a full-time busker who has been helping trial the technology, said: “If street performers like myself don’t adapt to the cashless society we are edging towards, we’re at risk of becoming a dying art.
“It’s has already had a significant impact on the contributions I’ve received. More people than ever tap to donate whilst I sing, and often, when one person does, another follows.”
The technology has already been rolled out to performers in London’s 32 boroughs, with more locations planned in the coming months.
Additional reporting by agencies
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