Welcome buskers! Interested in knowing how to get involved in the NYC busking scene? Know Your rights. I try to keep these links and information updated as best I can. Disclaimer: I am a resource not an official site representing NYC or MTA.
Browse the following links and read your rights:
section 1050.6 Use Of The Transit System of MTA rules:
Follow this link click on Authorization and Purpose scroll to read 1050.6 c
the important section in the 1,188 word document of non transit uses permitted, is this phrase. artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations;
Memorize it. sing it. and get a copy of the Rules of Conduct pamphlet to carry with you. (BuskNY is happy to send them to you). But also realize it isn't just that simple either. You can't impede traffic, you can't amplify. And be respectful of the surroundings anytime you perform in a public space.
here's the section below: words highlighted in bold are mine for emphasis:
c) Except as expressly permitted in this subdivision, no person shall engage in any nontransit uses upon any facility or conveyance. Nontransit uses are noncommercial activities that are not directly related to the use of a facility or conveyance for transportation. The following nontransit uses are permitted by the Authority, provided they do not impede transit activities and they are conducted in accordance with these rules: public speaking; campaigning; leafletting or distribution of written noncommercial materials; activities intended to encourage and facilitate voter registration; artistic performances, including the acceptance of donations;
equally important in MTA Rules of Conduct is 1050.7 Disorderly conduct which in section e states that you can not:
e) create any sound through the use of any sound production device, except as specifically authorized by 1050.6(c) of these rules. Use of radios and other devices listened to solely by headphones or earphones and inaudible to others is permitted;
and here is what is written directly on the NY.GOV website MTA Rules of performing:
The Rule which regulates the provision of entertainment on the subway is Section 1050.6 (c). Some features of this Rule are listed below. This description should NOT be considered a full explanation of all aspects of this rule, but only a brief and general summary. All persons who are interested in performing on the subway and who wish to avoid violating the law are strongly advised to contact New York City Transit beforehand to get a copy of the Rules of Conduct, as well as a more complete explanation of their requirements.
Some general rules for performing on the subway include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Artistic performances on transit facilities are permitted, but only if they are in accordance with the following rules AND if they do not impede transit activities, including access to the trains and stations and the free movement of passengers. All artistic performances which violate these rules OR which impede transit activities are forbidden.
articles 2-13 read on for the rest of the rules of conduct
Many people ask about what rights there are regarding filming in the subway, and in parks, see below for useful links and info:
Authorization and Purpose Section 1050.9 of MTA rules Photography, filming or video recording: Restricted areas and activities section C
3. Photography, filming or video recording in any facility or conveyance is permitted except that ancillary equipment such as lights, reflectors or tripods may not be used. Members of the press holding valid identification issued by the New York City Police Department are hereby authorized to use necessary ancillary equipment. All photographic activity must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
link to full document of all mta rules
Music Under New York (MUNY, #MTAMusic) application to audition for the program is held only once a year.
The auditions are held in Grand Central terminal's Vanderbilt Hall in May.
MTA Music Under New York
Download the Call for Performers Application and submission guidelines.
Here's my busker video gallery of artists I've filmed
Music Under NY Blog videos + postings
MUNY Performance Locations if you ever wanted to know where the actual spots are.
Links to other Buskers sites With or without the Music Under NY program there is so much talent out there to enjoy! Performers-if that's you, send me your links and I'll be happy to post here- just send me your link (contact nycsubwaygirl)
Below is from The Official Website of the City of New York:
Musician or Performer Permit
- The City requires you to have a permit for some public performances.
- You must have a permit to use a sound device such as a loudspeaker, megaphone, or stereo in a street performance. Sound Device Permits are available at local police precincts during business hours. The fee is $45. You do not need a permit for street performances without a sound device.
- You must have a permit to perform in or next to a park. A permit is also required to host a special event, distribute fliers, or perform at the Staten Island Ferry terminals. Performance activities are not allowed on ferry boats.
- The City coordinates subway performances through the Music Under New York (MUNY) program. MUNY selects performers by audition.
- Apply to perform in a Staten Island Ferry terminal.
- Apply to perform in a park.
- Find your local police precinct to apply for a Sound Device Permit.
- Audition to be a Music Under New York (MUNY) subway performer.
- Is it legal to play music on the street?
- Also Found In:
- Transportation Getting Around Buses & Subways
- Business Business Assistance Licenses, Permits & Inspections
- Culture & Recreation Arts & Culture Permits