Prior to 1979, the TTC didn’t allow musicians to perform in the subway. However, after a pilot project at eight stations in 1980, nearly three-quarters of customers indicated that they were in favour of music in the system, thus inspiring the Subway Musicians Program.
Every three years, approximately 150-200 musicians audition for the chance to obtain a Subway Musicians Licence. The top 75, as selected by qualified judges, have the opportunity to perform in 25 of the TTC’s subway stations.
The purpose of the Subway Musicians Program is to enrich the atmosphere of our stations for our customers, brightening their daily commutes and improving the overall transit experience.
Some of the underground sounds that commuters will hear throughout the subway system include: African, American, Celtic, Chinese, Jamaican, Japanese, Latin and Ukrainian.
Past subway musicians have included two Juno winners, Royal Conservatory of Music graduates, symphony performers and published musicians.