My name is Meagan Perry and in a regular week I split my time between work as the executive director of podcasts for rabble.ca and creating podcasts for non-profits, First Nations, and labour clients. Basically, I produce a lot of material that people listen to on headphones.
When I moved back to Toronto after 6 years in the Yukon, I was reminded of how great the subway system here can be. I also noticed how almost everyone was turning the communal experience of riding the subway into the individual experience of riding the subway listening to x, y, or z on headphones.
I know I am not the only person curious about what music people choose to accompany their commutes. So I started out on The Stationary Groove: Toronto Subway Playlist Project. Whenever I had a few hours to spare, I descended into the subway with low-tech tools – a pen and paper – approaching people in headphones to ask what they were listening to at that moment. What I found was this: TTC platforms are home to an inaudible cacophony of music and culture. If we could hear it all at once, what a noise it would be!
From K-Pop to the Qur’an, from Tamil music to heavy metal and hip-hop to children’s music, I found it on the subway. Many contributors blushed and said, “busted!” before sharing their song with me. 30-somethings admitted they were listening to children’s music, or teenybopper hits from 15 years ago. I learned about new-to-me artists from places on the other side of the world. Headphone listeners shared their musical knowledge and encouraged me to search out other songs by the same artist. Reactions ranged from mystified looks about this strange project to pleasure at the chance to share a tune. I took the songs commuters shared with me, made playlists at itunes, and linked those lists to the Stationary Groove subway map.
Some of the songs commuters shared with me were rare, independent or simply unavailable in iTunes, which is the tool I used to create the final lists. I don’t think that being unavailable at iTunes should stop us from hearing those songs, so I’ll be posting their videos or links to them on facebook, on twitter( @MAPpodcasting ), and at this site.
The Stationary Groove: Toronto Subway Playlist Project will continue with new playlists over time. If you want to be a participant, please do! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, use the submission button above, or tweet with your location and your song #stationarygroove. I’d love to have your help turning up the volume on the music we each add to the mix.
You’re welcome to participate anytime. If you want to tell me what you’re listening to, and what station you’re at, I’ll update these lists periodically. I can’t wait to hear from you.