Busking virtually: SG National Arts Council looks to add income for buskers through Bigo app

The National Arts Council (NAC) and streaming app Bigo Live have tied up to launch the SGLivehouse virtual busking sessions. Taking place over three days, The busking sessions will feature eight buskers with a 30-minute segment each to perform for audiences via the Bigo Live app. The initiative will also provide training to buskers on how to go digital and live-stream their talents to a global audience. It will also enable the buskers to earn some income during this period as Singapore gradually resumes activities safely. The initiative comes as buskers in Singapore have been unable to perform during the Circuit Breaker period.

Viewers from around the world can tune in to the live-streaming sessions via the Bigo Live app, and engage with the buskers as well as the community by using various features on the app. Viewers will also be able to send virtual gifts to the buskers as a form of appreciation for their performances. Besides the performances, there will also be a 30-minute live chat every day. Some of the buskers who will be performing include Dansen John Chua Jin Wei, Ryan Han Wei Ren, Daniel Sidhanand, Ho Mui Lin, and Jillian-Marie Thomas.

Elaine Ng, senior director of engagement and participation at the NAC said the initiative allows buskers to virtually engage audiences from Singapore and the world, and it hopes that everyone will get to enjoy the busking sessions as if they were walking along the streets of Singapore. "Many of the artists including our buskers, have used technology to digitalise and create innovative content and to reach audiences in exciting new ways," she added.

In a statement to Marketing, a spokesperson from Bigo Live said the initiative will be promoted via both NAC and Bigo Live's social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). In-app banners and posters will also be put up in Bigo Live to inform users about #SGLivehouse. Additionally, buskers are tagged with their social handles so both buskers and the public can share about or reshare the social posts. 

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Bigo's spokesperson told Marketing that the initiative is part of the #SGCultureAnywhere campaign, which aims to bring together Singapore’s arts and culture digital offerings. The initiative also serves to connect home-grown audiences with local talents through digitalisation. The spokesperson added that it will consider extending the initiative if the response is good. 

Mike Ong, vice president of BIGO Technology said the initiative shows its support and stand in solidarity with the local performing arts community. He added that the collaboration allows the company to provide an alternative platform for buskers during this time, and urge Singaporeans to show their support by tuning in the to live-stream.

Thomas, one of the participating buskers, said: “We are excited for this opportunity to share our talents with audiences online while earning some income. As we have had to pause all busking activities and cancel our gigs due to COVID-19, we certainly miss bringing our music to Singaporeans and interacting with passers-by live! We will keep our heads up and continue looking for new and creative ways to bring the arts to people.”

Earlier in March, Bigo Live partnered with nightclub Zouk and esports company Razer to launch a cloud clubbing live-stream. This came after the Singapore government said all entertainment venues will be closed as a measure to combat with the COVID-19 situation. In a similar approach as the upcoming virtual busking sessions, viewers attended the event by tuning into the Bigo Live app, and were able to utilise Bigo Live’s function to send virtual gifts to the DJs during the virtual clubbing event.

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