A good busker can brighten days and even transform the moods of passersby. But fast-moving city life means they often miss out on even a few coins being thrown their way, let alone the chance of wider success.
A new initiative is aiming to bring buskers’ music to a broader audience and earn the musicians some money at the same time.
Sound of Change is the brainchild of Moscow-based agency Hungry Boys and is a kind of social record label. Anyone who happens to come across a talented street musician can record them and upload video to the Sound of Change website. They need to add the musician’s details and geotag the location. The performers can then be mapped and their work shared on social networks using the hashtag #soundofchange.
Hungry Boys will then try to source producers, directors, and other partners to allow the musicians to record in studios local to them. Recordings will be released on download and streaming sites, including iTunes and Spotify, with all proceeds going to the performers.
Hungry Boys senior copywriter, Galina Belozerova, explains how she was inspired to come up with the idea, "Music is important to us all in our everyday lives. Often, we consume it at concerts, at home, or in the car. But, there is so much great talent on the streets that never gets a chance to be heard elsewhere. I thought this could be changed and during my research was surprised that a project like this didn't already exist," she says.
The idea that musicians could be heard more widely and earn money independent of established record labels was very important to Belozerova. "I wanted to change the streets into a platform where you don't need major record label backing or their connections to get your music heard and to generate some income from it," she says. "All you need is talent. In the past, you could give the musicians some change as you passed. Now, anyone across the globe can give them some money."
To get the project started, three buskers from Moscow, Madrid, and Amsterdam, visited studios in their home cities to record. Belozerova found the three performers in different ways—through co-workers’ travel videos, in the streets, and through foreign friends.
There are also two short films, one featuring Fer Cruz from Madrid and the other, Zal Juglar from Moscow, which provide a little insight into their lives and motivation to make music. Juglar says, "When your future has no roof, and you have no idea where you will spend your next night. You need to learn to live in the moment. And music, for me, is the best teacher for that."
Hungry Boys is looking for studios around the world that might want to get involved. Aspiring producers and directors with an interest in documentary film are also encouraged to get on board and showcase their talents.
The initial hope is to release one song and video per artist in each studio every month. In the longer term, Belozerova says the picture of success would be "for the project to run itself without any bounds." She envisions musicians, filmmakers, producers, and studios, all using the Sound of Change platform to create as and when they want, with no limit placed on the output.