*Updated* Busking Application Process in Singapore

Hey guys!

My post "Busking in Singapore" was written in 2018, and I think it's time to give it a little update since there has been quite a few changes to the busking application process. 

What has changed

Busking activities came to a halt as with many other activities during the COVID-19 period. In March 2022, busking activities finally resumed. A new busking e-service was launched by the NAC. 

Previously, buskers had to fill out a form where they chose their top 8 locations from a list of about 115 locations island wide. You would then be assigned 5 for the whole year.

My 8 locations in my first ever busking application back in 2017.

Therefore, now you do not need to submit this 8 locations form!

Application Process (2022)

Here's a detailed timeline for your reference.

8 steps to apply or renew your busking card:

1. Submit your application
Download and submit your application form via email to Aux Media, the company that NAC engages to manage busking matters in Singapore. Prepare a 400x514 pixels passport photo and indicate your preferred audition time slot (9am-12pm, 12-3pm or 3-6pm). Auditions are usually held in January, April, July and December.

Make sure to submit your application before the deadline.

2. Receive acknowledgement and details 
Receive confirmation, pre-audition and audition details via email from Aux. If you did not receive any email, chances are that they may have missed your application. 

3. Attend the pre-audition briefing
This is compulsory. Mine was held online via Zoom. The pre-audition usually falls on a Saturday morning, at about 10-11am.

4. Confirm time slots
Confirm audition time slots with Aux via email. They will also send you a 'Checklist for Buskers' PDF via WhatsApp which covers eligibility and reminds you of what to bring. 

5. Go for your audition
The audition is held at the Drama Centre at the National Library at Victoria Street. Make sure to bring all your gear. For April 2022, the auditions were split into two days due to the large volume of applicants. (As of October 2022, audition registration is at full capacity for January 2023...)

6. Wait for your results.
My audition was on 19 April 2022 (first day of auditions), and I received results a week later on 27 April 2022 via WhatsApp.

7. Collect your card
Collect your card from the Aux Media office near Kallang MRT.
Note: We received notification on 29 April to collect the card on 30 April. It's super short notice but probably due to the validity of the cards that start on 1st May. 

8. You're legally allowed to busk now!
With your new card, you are ready to busk! But only if you manage to book a slot...

Which brings us to the next step:

Using the NAC Busking E-portal

After you pass the audition, NAC will email you an 'E-Portal Service User Guide' in PDF form. This guide will show you how to use the website to access and make bookings, as well as how to update your profile page.

However, I have some three extra tips for you that are not touched on.

1. Booking Tips

The booking system is based on speed. In other words, fastest fingers first.

First, familiarise yourself with this schedule and add it to your reminders or calendar.

Sounds confusing?

Here's a visual that I hope is helpful for you!

On the 1st, you can book any date from the 1st to the end of the month. However, usually dates 1-14 are already booked out by the previous cycle of the 15th. Essentially you will be booking dates 15-31, assuming you are going for popular spots.

For illustration purposes, on the 1st of May, you usually want to book slots from 15-31 May.
Similarly, on every 15th you can book any date from 15-15 of the following month. Since we already booked dates 15-31 the previous cycle, essentially you are booking for 1-15 of the following month.

Again, this means on 15 May, you want to book slots from 1-15 June.

Hope that makes sense!

Secondly, make a note of when/where you want to busk because you need to click fast. Sometimes the website lags and the new slots are not shown too. Hit refresh when this happens. You lose maybe a minute or so but that beats the page not loading at all.

When the website finally loads, chances are that people may have already taken your preferred slot as the website struggles to cope with the sudden influx of logins at 9am. Be prepared for this and go immediately for your other choices. No time to hesitate! 

The new booking process does take away a lot of spontaneity in busking but I guess it's a trade off for certainty of having your spot when you arrive.

Once you're done, you can try to ballot for some popular spots like Wisma Atria or Ngee Ann City.

Take note that the ballot closes in 3 days, so make sure to submit before then. 

2. For your profile picture,  upload a square image of maximum size 1MB.

If not, you will end up with an ugly, stretched picture.

That's much better!

I also recommend that you fill out your bio and social media urls, like so.

Once completed, the icons will appear under your bio. Do check your urls to see if they work properly.

For reference, you can check out my full profile and schedule

3. Get connected!

Sometimes you may encounter a busker specific problem that you don't know how to solve. For example, how much to charge for a paid gig? Should you accept an offer that does not pay a cent? Often, the best answers come from the busking community itself. 

Get connected with other buskers in the SINGAPORE BUSKERS WhatsApp group, join the Facebook community or check out the Buskers' Association.

If connecting digitally is not your thing, just say hello to other buskers on the street! Most of us are friendly :) 

For me, the busking group has really helped me out as veterans share their tips, as well as vital information like which locations are unavailable (due to pasar malams or shopping mall events etc) that the official channel does not inform us about. We also discuss other matters pertaining to busking in Singapore. 

Well, that's all from me. Wishing you all the best in your busking journey!