What is TTC UNDERGROUND SOUNDS?
Underground Sounds is the evolution of the TTC’s longstanding Subway Musicians Program and an extension of its Tracks on Tracks program. In the past, the TTC auditioned the best and brightest from the GTA’s music community every three years; this time around, they’re taking the auditions online and opening up the voting process to anyone with an internet connection.
Musicians who want the chance to perform in subway stations across the TTC can upload their auditions online; 89 will win an annual permit to perform inside subway stations across the city, and one lucky winner will win studio time and the chance to professionally record and release one of their songs with Universal Music Canada!
Wait, I need a license to perform in TTC stations?
You do! In the interest of both public safety and quality control, all performers on TTC property need to be licensed.
How long does a TTC Subway Musicians license last?
Three years. When it expires, you’re welcome to audition again.
Do I have to live in Toronto to audition?
While some restrictions do apply, the contest is open to legal residents of the Greater Toronto Area who are 18 years of age or older. See the contest’s official Rules and Regulations for details.
Does it cost anything to audition?
Nope. Auditioning is absolutely free!
Can groups audition? Duos?
You can audition either as a solo artist or as a duo.
Where do I upload my audition?
First, you’re going to need an account with YouTube. If you have an existing Google account, that will work for YouTube. If not, creating a new account is easy — click here for easy to follow instructions care that will help you sign up on your computer or smartphone.
How do I upload my audition to YouTube?
Click here to upload your audition to YouTube.
Click here for step-by-step instructions on uploading your audition to YouTube. Please note that to be eligible, your video must be either PUBLIC or UNLISTED. Private videos are not eligible to win.
What if I don’t know how to use YouTube?
You’re in luck! We’re hosting two days of live auditions for anyone who might not have the necessary access to technology to submit their entry online. To sign up, visit the Audition page and complete the sign-up form. At the bottom of the form, specify Live Audition and let us know your preferred date and time. We’ll send you an email by no later than April 16th confirming your audition time, which will be on either April 18th between 11am - 8pm or April 19th between 11am - 5pm.
Are my chances better if I audition in person? What if I upload my audition?
Absolutely not! Any live auditions will subjected to the same voting process as online auditions. When someone auditions in person, their performance will be filmed—in a single take—and uploaded online and will appear alongside any auditions submitted via YouTube. Each audition video must follow the format and methods outlined in the Rules & Regulations.
If you’re auditioning new talent, does that mean my favourite subway performer won’t be back?
Not necessarily! While the TTC is always looking for new talent, we expect that some of our veteran musicians will be back.
I’m not satisfied with my audition. Can I try again?
Yes! While you can only submit one song into the contest, you can delete and re-submit as many times as you would like before the voting phase starts. You have until May 6th to finalize your submission – please choose carefully!
Can I perform a cover song for my audition?
Absolutely! Both original material and cover songs are eligible for the contest. If you perform a cover song, just make sure you don’t change the lyrics. Regardless of the sampling of songs you choose to sing, keep it to a maximum of five minutes please!
Which instruments can I play during my performance?
Any instruments used in your audition need to be suitable to the subway environment, which means that certain electric guitar, bass and percussion instruments won’t be accepted. A full list of accepted instruments can be found in the contest Rules and Regulations.
Can I vote for myself?
How often can I vote?
Every day, if you’d like! Each registered voter gets one vote every 24 hours.
I’m not auditioning, so what’s in it for me if I vote?
You mean besides pride in helping soundtrack your city? The TTC is offering up some of its limited edition merchandise to voters, and your vote is your entry for a chance to win.
Do I need to register to vote?
Yes you do. Those who wish to vote must undergo the same registration process as those who wish to audition.
Does my vote raally help pick a winner?
It does! Your votes will help us pick the best Underground Sounds has to offer, the top ten of which will perform for the grand prize in September.
Is this just a popularity contest? What if someone floods the votes?
Your votes count towards picking a winner, but they aren’t the only factor. In the interest of keeping things fair, every vote will be tallied alongside scores from three Universal Music Canada Artist and Repertoire representatives and a judge from the Toronto Transit Commission.
What’s the connection with Universal Music Canada all about?
Universal Music Canada recently partnered with the TTC to curate and present its weekly Tracks on Tracks playlists, Hush Hour and Rush Hour. Underground Sounds is the evolution of that relationship. Not only will the TTC be awarding 90 Subway Musicians licenses based on these auditions, but one lucky grand prize winner will have the chance to record a song at the Universal Music Canada studio and have it released by UMC! The winning song will also appear on a Tracks On Tracks playlist, which is accessed by thousands of listeners each day.
Does that mean the song I perform has to be from the Universal Music Canada catalogue?
Not at all! Like the city of Toronto, we’re expecting song choices to be pretty diverse. If you’re performing a cover, you won’t be limited to just one label.
I’m not a songwriter — what happens if I win the Grand Prize?
No problem! You can record a cover song if you like, as long as you don’t change the lyrics, of course.
How will the Grand Prize winner be selected?
After the voting phase closes, 10 of the top vote-getters will be invited to perform in front of a panel of music experts and industry insiders on a date still to be determined, where they will be judged on musical talent, entertainment value, and stage presence. Click here for a sample of the scorecard the judges will be using.
There’s only one Grand Prize. What do the runners up get?
In addition to a chance at having their song professionally record and released, the TTC will be awarding 89 Subway Musicians licenses to performers, including all the runners up.
If I win a TTC Subway Musicians License, which stations will I be allowed to play at?
Musicians will perform on a rotating schedule at one of 28 subway stations across the TTC, with stops on across lines 1, 2, and 4.