What Does it Take to Play Paris's Biggest Stage?

Not just anyone can (legally) perform for the millions of passengers who ply Paris's mammoth subway system every day. Liz Alderman looks at the competitive process to land a highly coveted, and potentially lucrative, permit to play Paris Métro.

"With five million passengers a day, 303 stations and miles upon miles of hallways, “[the Paris Métro has] become the biggest scene in Paris for musicians,” said [Antoine Naso, Métro's artistic director], an energetic man clad in black jeans and leather boots who established a program to ensure live, quality music throughout the Métro 16 years ago."

"About 2,000 people apply annually for tryouts held in spring and autumn, judged by Mr. Naso, two Métro employees and two members of the public," explains Alderman. "Of the 300 permits awarded, about half are allocated to veteran badge holders, with the rest going to newcomers."

“'We have a high level of artists,' said Mr. Naso, who estimated that he had judged nearly 20,000 auditions since 1997, when the licensing program started. 'Producers and recording houses are scouting the Métro more and more,' he said. 'Sometimes, a star is born.'”

Full Story: Trying to Elevate the Sounds Competing With Subterranean Clatter

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