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, inspiring the Subway Musicians Program.
The Underground Sounds TTC Subway Musicians Program enriches the atmosphere of TTC subway stations for our customers, brightening their daily commutes and improving their overall transit experience.
Every three years, approximately 150-200 musicians audition for the chance to obtain a subway musicians licence to top 75 musical acts, as selected by qualified judges, were given the opportunity to perform in 25 of the TTC’s subway stations.
We changed things up in 2018! In partnership with Universal Music Canada, we created a new name for the program – Underground Sounds TTC Subway Musicians. We increased the number of performance locations from 25 to 30 in TTC stations, increased the number of licenced musical acts from 75 to 90 and accepted online auditions for the first time.
Past subway musicians have included two Juno winners, Royal Conservatory of Music graduates, symphony performers and published musicians.