I was walking through Reading town centre and passed a busker playing the violin. He was accompanied by a piano music recording and I have to say he was pretty good. Just out of hear shot there was another busker, this time a pianist playing on his own.
I went and had a chat with the pianist. I suggested to him that if they teamed up with the violinist there would probably be a greater likely hood of making more money as they could duet together and make better music. I also explained that having only one set of buskers in the centre would be better than one and each end of the high street because their combined catchment areas would increase. There were no other buskers in town on this day. There were a couple of Big Issue "salesmen" but I'm not sure they count as they are selling a different product.
The pianist explained that you'd have thought that it would work like that but it just doesn't. He said it didn't make any difference if you played in a group or individually. People will put money in the box because they want to help you rather than because they like the music. In fact making 1 group out of 2 is more likely to half profits because the public will only be able to donate once and you'll have to split that into 2 pieces. He also commented that the violinist probably wouldn't want to join up because his piano was slightly out of tune. The pianist wasn't just there as a busker, he was also getting a kickback from the street vendors to who wanted people to leave the Oracle shopping centre and buy stuff from them.