Posts Tagged ‘tipping’

The Tipping Point

The music scene is on Second Life is bursting with activity, with a huge range of clubs and live music events on offer every day, some of them offering themed contests to draw in the crowds. Some performers pull in big fees, others do it just for the love and the tips. As one of my regular SL jobs is hosting these kind of events, I’ve grown curious about how people relate to money in Second Life, and what they consider a good tip. And a brief look around the SL blogs hasn’t found me any guides to “tipping etiquette”, so I thought I’d look at the issue a little here.

Tamra Sands and Zachh Cale
Tamra Sands and Zachh Cale performing live on Second Life

When I asked about this on Twitter, the average tipping amount seemed to be L$50 to L$100 with people repeating the tip for a song they really loved, or a particularly great performance (although most people replying were talking about DJs, rather than live performers). This is pretty much my standard tip too – but I also like to tip the host, and often throw in a bit to the venue, so my tips will often add up to maybe L$250 over a couple of hours.

That’s roughly a dollar. Now to me, L250 feels like a reasonably generous amount to spread around, but to someone who makes a good part of their living on SL (and yes, they exist!), that probably feels like almost nothing. If you’d give a dollar to a busker, why wouldn’t you give that to a live performer who you spend an hour enjoying in SL?

It’s hard to find an answer to that one, although of course most people seem to walk past buskers without even throwing them a quarter so I’m not sure the argument really holds! But most of us also just don’t consider spending lindens the exact equivalent of spending real money. If clothes and rent cost us what they cost in real life, no one would be on SL.

Getting big fees, big crowds, and big tips on SL depends on the same things it does in RL – having a sound that enough people want to hear, and promoting yourself well. But SL also makes a great venue for people who don’t care about that, and just want to perform to an audience, even if it’s only 15 people. Similarly, there are “pro” DJs, and then there are many more who do it just for the fun of it. On Twitter, mcgillivary told me “dj-ing is fun for me, I think any tip is ok – to be honest I dont even care for tips as long as I get some interaction going…”

And of course there are newbies who may be discovering SL music for the first time, and might have camped for a few hours just to get L$10. To them, that makes it a massive tip. I once got a $L1 tip from a newbie who said sorry, but that was 10% of what they had. To me that was great, because it meant they’d learned to tip hosts!

Since Solace Beach has the Solace Cove newbie orientation area, we get a lot of newbies, and hence our DJs and hosts get paid a basic rate because we know people coming to parties and trying to win $L100 contests aren’t going to have a lot of lindens to tip with. At live music events I find tips vary enormously. Some performers seem to attract crowds who tip frequently and generously, with others I get very little as a host, and the performers make around $L1000 in tips over the hour.

I also notice a wide range of tipping behaviour from the performance themselves towards hosts. Some remind the audience to tip the venue and/or host, some tip me 200L or so at the end of the show, one manager even regularly tips me 500L!

So really, there’s no such thing as the “right amount” to tip a musician or DJ on Second Life. Any tip shows appreciation, and what’s a tiny tip to one person may be all another person has. But I will say, tip your hosts too, hosting is a lot more work than people realize until they do it! 😉

Read Full Post »