Innovation That Matters

Buskers offer audience control in exchange for donations

Publishing & Media

New York videomakers cdza have created the interactive Human Jukebox, a unique way to make money for buskers.

We recently came across listening posts on the streets of New York that showcased new music to passersby, but a more recent innovation sees a novel take on the age-old art of busking. Just as the Stanley Piano project encourages users to choose its repertoire, now videomakers cdza have come up with a similarly inventive way to make money for buskers with its Human Jukebox. Operating out of New York, the group behind the idea headed out onto the streets of Brooklyn with a violin and a double bass, along with a handful of melodies ranging from Bach to Lady Gaga. Each song was designated its own labeled jar and passersby could change what the duo played by placing change into the corresponding receptacle. In order to make things fun, every time someone donated the duo instantly changed track. There were also jars offering ‘fast forward’, ‘slow down’ and ‘a capella’, while a mystery option labeled with a question mark brought out a saxophonist for a surprise performance. Audience members were also encouraged to suggest their own ideas for the pair. The video below shows the jukebox in action: The session raised over USD 70, which the group donated to Wingspan Arts, a non-profit organization that engages New York City’s youth population with the arts. Although a small operation, the Human Jukebox is another example of an enterprise enabling customers to interact with and customize the content they are receiving, to great effect. Offering greater audience interaction and engagement, there are plenty of lessons to be learned here for businesses both big and small.



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