For the next six months, fans of local music will be able to tip their favorite bands and artists electronically after the City kicked off its new digital tipping program last Thursday.
The City’s Music and Entertainment Division received over 100 applicants for the program, called “Tip the Band,” and ultimately selected 10 local groups. The goal of the program is to provide funding for local musicians in Austin to help them keep up with the City’s increasing living expenses, according to the program’s webpage.
Mat Oldiges, band member of The Human Circuit, one of 10 artists selected for the launch, told the Austin American-Statesman that finding affordable living is a common issue for many artists in Austin.
“Artists are a vulnerable population because of the innate drive to do art anyway,” Oldiges said to the Statesman. “People take advantage of that knowing that (artists will) wake up and do it anyway, even if we can’t afford it.”
Fans will be able to tip with debit or credit cards using devices provided to the City by fundraising company DipJar. Music studies junior Emma Edwards said she is an aspiring musician and feels excited about the program and the idea of electronic tipping.
“I know sometimes people have reservations about walking up to a stage to tip or not having a lot to give,” Edwards said. “I think this will open up more opportunities to tip. It’ll change the game for a lot of people.”
At the end of the six months, the 10 selected artists will report back about their experiences using DipJar. After that, the Music and Entertainment Division will further discuss the implementation of electronic tipping for all musicians.
Porter Wilson, UT alumnus and lead singer of local band Shotguns Ready, said he empathizes with local musicians who live in expensive cities and rely on their shows to fund their living.
“Anything that can make those challenges a little easier certainly deserves a closer look,” Wilson said. “I was happy to see people thinking creatively on how to help those who make a living off of just music.”
Aidan Barriga, a music composition and vocal performance sophomore, said it is vital that musicians are tipped for their performances.
“The biggest thing that affects how much money musicians get is how easy it is for the audience to get them money,” Barriga said. “As a gigging mariachi musician, I am ecstatic to hear about this.”