TTC subway musicians

The TTC is going American Idol with its new subway musician program

If you like reality TV singing competitions, you're going to love how the TTC is choosing talent for its newly-revamped live music series.

The "Subway Musicians Program," as it has been called for the last 35 years, has been rebranded as "Underground Sounds" — a contest that includes elements like digital auditions, public voting, and a recording contract with Universal Music Canada.

Traditionally, the transit agency would issue only 75 subway musician licenses every three years to local artists based on in-person auditions.

Now, says the TTC, 90 musicians will win annual permits to perform inside subway stations all across the city. One lucky grand-prize winner will also get "studio time and the chance to professionally record and release one of their songs."

Online auditions open in just a few weeks, on April 9, and will run until May 6. Participants must submit public YouTube videos of themselves performing to enter. Live auditions will also be held, and filmed, on April 18 and April 19 for those who aren't able to upload a clip on their own.

Voting will be open to "anyone with an internet connection" on May 7, according to the Underground Sound website.

"The voting stage will run until June 3rd, which is when things really heat up," says the TTC. "The top 10 musicians with the highest scores will have the chance to perform at the TTC's all new, state of the art York University Station, where they'll be judged by a panel of music industry experts."

Whoever wins that round will be awarded a steady gig playing around Toronto's subway system, as well as the aforementioned one-song recording contract.

Lead photo by

Jason Cook


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