A new app called Busker is looking to make its mark on the burgeoning livestreaming industry by enabling creators to more seamlessly merge content and commerce. Busker — which is a British word for a street performer — says that it’s the only livestreaming app that has integrated merchandising capabilities, through which creators can sell T-shirts, bags, art, e-books, courses, music, and more directly from within the app.
In addition to e-tailing, Busker lets broadcasters collect tips — and in both instances takes a relatively meager 15% cut of revenues. (It is able to do so, Busker says, because it does not rely on in-app purchases — in which case app makers must pay a 30% cut of revenues to the Apple and Google app stores). “Live, interactive commerce is not only fun and exciting, but it enhances the already successful tipping feature whereby audiences can support creators with real money, not virtual currency,” CEO Lippe Oosterhof said in a statement. “We will also open the door for retailers and brands to monetize through live video in the coming months.”
Oosterhof co-founded Busker in 2015 with fellow entrepreneurs Tamir Buchler and Tamim Mourad. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles.
Busker functions much like other livestreaming platforms in that anyone can launch or schedule a broadcast, and then interact with viewers via chatting and likes. The commerce features are powered by online payment company Stripe, and are only available in the U.S. thus far, but are slated to roll out internationally in coming weeks.
One Busker creator, Fabian Zayas-Luciano — who goes by the online moniker therealFABE — says that he made hundreds of dollars in profit after selling music, stickers, hats, and other merchandise throughout the course of just two broadcasts. And while Busker has a significantly smaller user base than more established competitors like YouNow and Live.me, it says its viewers — who also represent a generally older demographic — spend about eight times as much money in their interactions with creators right now.