Researchers have found that buskers earn considerably more money if they play classical music on cold Sundays. For three months researchers from Tilburg University in the Netherlands studied 72 buskers performing in Cologne, Germany and recorded the responses from over 80,000 passers-by to find out what makes them most successful.
Buskers earn more if they play classical music
A busker in Cologne earns an average of €23 an hour but if they change their repertoire from rock, jazz or country to classical music their hourly income increases to €27 an hour. If the quality of their performance is better than average the busker earns €28 an hour.
Cold Sundays were the most lucrative days for buskers
Sundays were found to be the most lucrative days for buskers to perform, particularly when it’s cold, with an average income of €35 an hour. This was probably due to the ‘Sunday effect’ as the day of rest has religious implications and is likely to increase feelings such as sympathy and compassion for the busker, particularly when it’s cold, leading to more donations.
When children perform with buskers the average hourly income rises to €45 as people feel paternal and are therefore inclined to give buskers significantly more.
Researchers Samuel Stäbler and Kim Mierisch also found that passers-by aged between 30 to 65 are more like to donate. People in groups give more money to buskers as they want to impress their friends with their generosity and women, the ‘more empathic’ sex, give more money than men.
The researchers noted that their results could be useful for marketing purposes. As 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.”