I live in New York City, which is the subway musician capital of the world (probably), and there’s nothing that ruins my ride more than when you see one of them preparing to enter your car. I usually have headphones in, and all their terrible playing does is drown out the music that I actually enjoy listening to.
Whenever I see someone give them money I want to shake him or her and yell “DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE DONE?!” These “generous” people are only enabling the musicians to continue their aural assault. I wish we had the option to tip them before they play, hush money of sorts. I would be so much more likely to give them a buck if it ensured that they just stood there silently.
It’d be one thing if someone came into the subway with a guitar and started shredding “Santa Monica” by Everclear; I’d be all about that. Instead, you’re usually treated to “Insufferable Nonsense in F Minor” on an Ocarina made out of a discarded Chipotle top.
I think I might need to move to Colombia. They know how to deal with these nuisances. In Colombia, it’s illegal to put on these little performances in the subway. I think it is here in NYC too, it’s just never really enforced. As you’ll see below, Colombians treat subway musicians like hardened criminals trying to sell drugs to babies. We could learn a thing or two from them.