Busking in the Subte


Nov 24, 2009
Hello, how's it going?

My name is Bron and I just moved here from Philadelphia. I work at a hostel here and I'm also an aspiring professional musician. I don't have high expectations for what I'll achieve here with music, but I'm using this time to live cheaply for a few years and improve my chops.

This past week I started busking on the Subte, and actually doing pretty well. However, I've faced some resistance from a couple musicians and beggars. I have, of course, done my best to be respectful and considerate of them, and try to talk to them and make a personal connection, but I've decided to keep a lower profile for the next few days until I learn more about how this works.

I've heard that in some countries there is some sort of consortium or mafia involvement with street performers and beggars, and one of my friends mentioned they had heard about that here. Does anybody know anything about this?

At first it sounded a little sensational that the mafia controlled the subway performers, but I am not going to take this lightly. Yesterday a guy confronted me and demanded 20 pesos, and said that if he didn't eat, we'd have a problem. (I gave him 2.)

I realize that I probably have a lot more to lose than the other people working down there, so I'm going to tread lightly. Any information would be greatly appreciated.



I have done that with a band to collect fund for a ONG and I have faced resistance from some beggars (not musicians).

It´s too much to speak of MAFIA, the MAFIA aims to more profitable business. Poor people sell things on the subte or ask for money, and there are some musicians as well.

Did you stay at the station´s floor or you moved from coach to coach??

They see you as a competitor but I think nobody is going to hurt you, they will only try to intimidate you and scare you because you are new to this.

I suggest you to continue and see what happends. If we don´t see you around here anymore, we will realize you got killed... (joking hehehe)
Thanks for your response - that is encouraging. I've been on the subway cars themselves. Were you in the station or on the carriages?
Hey Bron, what instruments do you play? Have u ever played in a band before? Im moving to BA in Feb and am looking for musicians to play in some songs i've written and even creating new ones. I'll look out for you. There is also a band made up expats looking for musicians. Contact them if you're interested! good luck with your subway ventures http://www.facebook.com/mosesmurphymusic
hey MatiArg. I have played in a number of bands over the years. I play bass and sing. I also play some acoustic guitar too (mostly American covers). If you want, check out my demos at myspace.com/brontennisbass. Take care,
Why aren't non-Argentinians also free to busk in the subte if they feel like it?

Getting a job isn't always super easy by the way, although the OP did mention that he IS also employed. A little extra cash never hurst anyway, and people who go busking often do it also because they enjoy playing and performing not just for money...
In this case I think you should leave it to the locals who really need those funds to feed their families. You are here by choice and coming from a very privildeged country. Seems a bit selfish to compete with people trying to survive in their own country with a gringo just killing time and hanging out. Sorry. MHO.