NOTE: Although this advice is mainly written for street performers, it should work for ANY type of performer who wishes to make money live streaming. 

ALSO NOTE: We’ve written an explanation of exactly why is such a powerful tool to get tipped live streaming here. Hope it helps!

FINAL NOTE!: If you want your own URL (and a bunch of other tools) on our website, get your FREE “pro” account. Premium accounts are free until after quarantines end (at least until August 2020, maybe longer).



As of writing, COVID-19 has made public live shows illegal or impossible almost everywhere. For the vast majority of performers, this has crippled your ability to earn. Unless , of course, you can make money live streaming your shows from the comfort and safety of your own home.

The basics of live streaming is, in many ways, the same as busking outdoors or doing stage shows where you pass the hat afterwards — you’re still trying to inspire your audience to tip you. The ‘pitch’ or ‘stage’ is now the platform (i.e. Facebook) you’re using to reach people, the ‘hat’ is the cashless payments service (i.e. you’re using to collect tips, and the show you’re doing is basically the same.

In other words, you already have the tools and skills needed to make money from live streaming your shows. But, you do need to learn a few new (easy) techniques, and to choose the right technology.

To help you kick-start your first show, I’ve put together this tutorial.

Good luck out there! And let me know how you get on (and if there’s anything I’ve missed) below.



First: a comment to inspire you!

Nervous? Don’t be. Tons of people are just learning how to do this, and finding it a lot easier than they imagined. Just take a look at this comment by a friend of mine, just a few days ago:


A guide to how to make money live streaming your show

1. Use the right technology

Choose the right service

There are a LOT of streaming services — Facebook, Twitch, Instagram, Zoom, Vimeo, YouTube…there are too many to compare. However, the platform I’ve seen buskers use most often, recently, is Facebook Live.

If you’re only going to choose one streaming service, I’d recommend Facebook Live for several reasons:

  1. From data we’ve seen on, people tend to get tipped for their live streams not just during the stream but for hours (or even days) afterwards. Facebook live streams remain viewable after they’ve ended, which is why the tips keep coming in.
  2. Most of you will already have a fanbase on Facebook, so that’s probably a good starting point.
  3. It’s relatively easy to use, with little to learn, and accounts are free.
  4. The comments feed is pretty good, which makes engagement a bit easier.

Stream on multiple platforms (for free)

There are paid services that will allow you to stream on multiple platforms at the same time. But you can hack it by simply pointing two devices at yourself while you perform. Say, one phone streams on Facebook, and your friend’s phone streams on Instagram.

Test the technology before your show starts

You only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention. If your audio or visuals suck, or if there are serious delays/lagging, people will leave pretty fast. So make sure you understand the technology, do a test run, and double-check that both the audio and video are good.

Bonus: doing a test that goes out to your real-life fan base (i.e. testing Facebook live on your popular fan page) is a great way to announce your show:

Hey everyone, don’t mind me, I’m just testing out Facebook Live, making sure it’s working. On Friday I’ll be doing my first ever live stream! So do keep your eyes out for that. 8 p.m. Eastern. I hope to see you then!”


Make Money Live Streaming logo

2. Make tipping you easy

Give multiple options

You’re not going to make money live streaming if you can’t accept money easily. The priorities here are speed and giving your tippers multiple options. So, what do your tippers want?

Well, from data collected on our site, buskers who have connected both their bank account and their PayPal account to their profile will get payments via both methods. Also, PayPal only makes up about a third of the payments overall through our site.

Put simply, the ability for tippers to choose their method is important, and PayPal isn’t as popular as you might think.

Here are three of the tipping service out there. Again, take my opinion with a pinch of salt, but I seriously think is the best service out there:

  • On one platform you can quickly take in payments via PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Bank cards, and we’re super-fast (see these videos of how quick tips are with Google Pay and Apple Pay). Plus, the fees are really low, around 3% on average.
  • PayPal: Only works with PayPal and bank cards (not Apple/Google pay). PayPal is only good for people who a) have PayPal and b) have their password stored in their browser. Otherwise, it’s bad.
  • Venmo: Only works in the USA, and only with people with Venmo accounts. If 100% of your audience is young people in the USA, it’s a great option. But that’s just not true on social media, where a lot of your audience is probably abroad.

Put a link to where people can tip you in the description of your video

Don’t make the tipper copy/paste your email address. Don’t make them find you somewhere. Just give them a link they can click on! It’s the fastest way.

For example, this is the kind of link you get with a profile. Take a look:

There, you can immediately donate to World Buskers United with Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and card payments. Simple.

NOTE: If you want your own URL (and a bunch of other tools) on our website, get your FREE “pro” account. Premium accounts are free until after quarantines end (at least until August 2020, maybe longer).

Tell your audience exactly what to expect

Don’t just put the link. Also write something that explains properly what will happen when they click on the link. For example:

“Click here to tip me with Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal or card payments.”

Test out a tip or two before you go live

It’s annoying, but PayPal has this thing where they might suspend your account for “possible fraudulent activity” if you start suddenly receiving or sending a lot of transactions. This will prevent money going in and out of your account.

So, once you’re set up on a tipping platform, always get a couple of friends to tip you, just to make sure you’ve set up the platform up properly. That way you won’t have any nasty surprises during your live show.


3. Announce your show

Self explanatory. Just post these kinds of messages (along with a link to where the upcoming stream will be):

  • The day before your stream, tell your fans “I’m doing my first live stream tomorrow at 6 p.m.!
  • Then the morning of, say something like “8 hours to go. See you at 6 p.m. tonight!
  • And finally, an hour before your show starts, remind them again. Easy.

4. Interact with your audience during your show

Start straight away

Make sure the first 30 seconds of your stream isn’t you fumbling to put a camera up properly or work out sound issues. The moment your video goes live, your followers will get a notification. If they start watching your video, and you’re not there, they’ll leave.

Be engaging, don’t just perform

Don’t feel like you need to immediately start singing or juggling. Talk to your audience. Welcome them when they start watching. Interact. Ask questions. And definitely respond to them.

Most of the shows I’ve seen have started this way, and it’s obvious why: you’re building trust and a connection with the people watching you. Just like you would in the street.

Get people to comment!

This is the dumbest comment I’ll put here, but the trick to make money live streaming is to gather a large audience (I know it’s obvious, but I had to say it). However, this does not mean you need tens of thousands of followers! You just need to inspire interactions on your live streams.

In the street, the more your crowd cheers and claps, the more other people will come to join them. Online it’s the same, but you’re replacing physical applause with likes and comments. You won’t be surprised to learn that Facebook will reward videos that get a lot of comments.

Thankfully, it’s easy to get people to comment, and it can be fun as well. Just ask where they’re watching from. They’ll answer with their city or country. Talking to them individually is also a good tactic. “Hi Tim, how are you? Where are you at the moment? Surviving?” — it’ll get the conversation going.

Get help (if you have a big show)

Circle shows. It can be more difficult for you to interact with your audience during your streams. It’s tough to read comments when you’re up a unicycle. So, use a flatmate to keep an eye on the comments while you perform. Perhaps they can keep the camera pointing at you as you move about, or read out the most interesting comments and questions to you.


5. Regularly ask for money

Remember your audience wants your success

Don’t feel bad that you’re trying to make money live streaming. You may not be used to it, but it’s no different than street performing. Just because your audience isn’t physically in front of you, doesn’t mean they don’t want to tip you. And during a quarantine you’re a shining light in the darkness. You deserve that tip.

Mention you accept tips several times

Mention people can tip you throughout the video. Not full hat speeches, but little mentions, every 5 to 10 minutes.

  • People come and go online. Maybe they only have 15 minutes to watch. Maybe they get interrupted. Maybe their phone battery dies. If you wait until the end of the video to ask for tips, a lot of your audience will be gone by then.
  • Also, a Facebook Live video will stay up forever. You’ll still get a lot of views after you’ve ended the stream. That audience might skip to the end, or halfway through, or just listen to the first couple of songs. So don’t just do one hat speech at the end. A lot of people won’t hear it.

Amend your hat line(s) for the internet

It’s no longer good enough to just say “tip me”. Your audience needs to be told how they can tip you.

It’s very easy, just click the link in the description, and you can then pay me with all the major methods – Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal and card payments. Here, I’ll put another link in the comments

Also, if you can keep an eye on tips as they come in (for example, will send you an email each time), you can thank people loudly for them. It adds just a little peer-pressure, and might make all the difference.



6. Take a bow…then advertise your next show

You should be trying to get your current audience, to also be your next audience. More views → more comments → Facebook rewarding you → more views → and so on. There are lots of ways of getting people to keep coming back. These are just a few suggestions:

  • Get requests. Musicians, tell your audience that at the end of the show you’re going to take requests for cover songs to play during your next show. This will get your audience to stay to the end, to comment (with their request), to react (to other requests) and probably to come back next week.
  • Circus acts, you’ll have to get creative somehow. Perhaps get your audience to pick which objects you’ll juggle in your next show, or topics to come up with jokes about?
  • Consider making your shows the same time each week. People can then add you to their calendar.
  • And don’t feel bad about streaming frequently. You won’t overwhelm your current followers, and of the thousands of people who do follow you, only a small % will turn up in each stream.



7. Then reflect on how well you did

If you really want to make money live streaming, you’ve got to be (somewhat) scientific about it. Thankfully, this is the internet, which means you have a lot of data to look at.

So, after a few days, count your hat, look at the exact times the donations came in, match that against what you were doing in your stream at the time, look at the viewership data, read all the comments again, then try to answer these questions:

  • What time of day did you perform, and was that the right time?
  • Did the devices (phone, laptop) and technology (, Facebook Live) work?
  • When did people leave your show?
  • How and when did they tip, and how much were the tips worth?
  • What interactions were the most popular?
  • When did you get likes and loves and thumbs up?


8. Then let me know how it went!

I’m really curious, and I really want to know whether this advice helps you make money live streaming. It’d be fantastic to hear back from you in the comments below! Or you can email me stories here.

Good luck out there everybody!