Austin bands use Venmo for tips to adapt as more fans go cashless


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The City of Austin is trying to help local musicians get tips by introducing a device called DipJar Wednesday. The digital tipping device is part of the city’s ‘Tip the Band’ program which aims to create a new revenue stream for Austin-based musicians and bands.

However, some bands have already found a way to collect tips during live performances. They are turning to digital wallet apps like Venmo

“The Venmo idea has been working pretty well,” Wylie Sanchez, drummer for Tortuga Shades said.

A year ago the band started putting out a sign during live performances with their Venmo information to collect tips.

“We put it where the tip jar would usually go,” Sanchez said. 

It’s a two-fold idea. Some fans are now able to tip the band and buy merchandise they couldn’t before because they simply didn’t carry cash.

“I was like, ‘Oh you know you can just Venmo us and it’s easy,’ people just download the app there, if they don’t have it, and send us money that way,” Nadia Lopez, the lead singer for the band said.

The city said its new device will eliminate extra steps, like downloading an app. The only difference is the amount of money going home with the artists. 

“So when people tip us with the Venmo app, we get to keep all of it,” Sanchez said.

By using the city’s DipJar, each transaction cost $.17 and around six percent of the tip goes to the DipJar company’s fees and credit/debit card fees. For example, a $5 tip through a DipJar turns into $4.53 for the musicians once the fees have been taken out.

Yet, Lopez and Sanchez said they understand the struggle and added something is better than nothing. 

“We usually have something in the Venmo account which is nicer than walking away with an empty tip jar,” Sanchez said. 

Those interested in a DipJar can apply today. The application process will be open for Austin-based musicians all month. The city will select 10 artists to use to DipJars for a six-month period between July and December. 

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