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Topic: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

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  1. #1
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    Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    During college, when I lived in New York City, I used to busk in the subways to earn a few extra dollars. I would just bring my harp and play. The pay was pretty good for a college student.

    Today I learned that you need to audition to play in the subways. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority program holds competitive auditions for musicians, some of whom have even played Carnegie Hall. The best will get two-week permits to perform at prime spots on the subway platforms.

    An audition to play in the subway? (there could be a whole new series of "Subway Idol").

    Is it common in other cities to apply for a license or audition to busk?

  2. #2

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    I used to live in Virginia Beach, and it was the same thing to play on Atlantic Avenue for the most part. At least there you could plug amps in and stuff, so it was a little different.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    What did they have to do make a pastrami on rye?
    Styxx

  4. #4

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    i believe you have to apply and audition for a license in Bournemouth, England to busk, and that place isnt special in anyway...

  5. #5

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    I spent many years busking in Scotland. It was hit or miss when it came to being allowed to play in various locations, if the police didn't like Irish music (make of that what you will), then I'd get moved on.

    Some towns required street traders licenses which I ignored on the principle of just keep doing something until someone tells you to stop.

    Busking was lucrative back in the 80's, I was on a better hourly rate than a consultant surgeon

    Busking meant I was rehearsing during the day and getting paid for it and gigging in the evenings, I was making a very good living.

    Side benefits included getting spotted by other musicians which led to recording sessions, being offered a place in a band, TV, radio & newspaper exposure (lots of stories there). There are probably thousands of photographs of me all over the world taken by tourists usually with their children standing beside me.

    If I thought it was worthwhile I'd be out there doing it again but these days I'd likely just get mugged or draw the attention of the tax man (same thing really).

  6. #6
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    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    When I was younger, (so much younger than today) I played the streets in Manhattan, but I would never play the subways... They were too noisy... However, I played the village and Central Park and those places did very well... This was in another era, when the world was a completely different planet...

    I've seen these guys playing on the subway regularly and I guess after you establish yourself, then you're allowed to play there indefinitely... There's a guy that plays nylon string guitar, and he has the banner for the MTA which means he's legit... He's been doing this for 10 years... There's another guy that plays mostly the weekends and he's a 1 man band, playing the drums with his feet and strumming the guitar....

    The sad thing is that these guys are making more money than guys playing clubs here in New York City... The clubs don't pay anything, because there are these young people coming from all parts of the country who are willing to play for free... So, you get a very nice restaurant or something that is paying the musicians like $10 for the night or nothing at all... And some of the musicians I know that do this are very experienced and capable... I guess they just feel it's better to play out than not play out at all... Don't ask me how they're making a living...

  7. #7

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City



    "Subway Idol"



    ----Great concept! Now that's a show I might watch with interest, instead of the intolerable junk show on now!

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    Only in New York ...

  9. #9
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    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    I think it's the same here in Montreal. Subway musicians need a permit and I think they need to audition in order to obtain it.

    I noticed the quality of musicianship went up quite a few notches these past couple of years so I guess that's why.

    NDEE

  10. #10

    Re: Subway Musicians have to Audition in New York City

    London Underground - or at least used to - had the same system.....

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