Turning the Tube into a viral music network? Undersound plans to



A group of three female digital media artists have teamed up to create Undersound, an ambitious concept that seeks to turn the London Underground into a giant social music network where music is shared and tracked around the Tube.

The concept is that passengers with mobile handsets can upload and download tunes to and from platform transfer points using Bluetooth, and then browse what music fellow passengers have on their handsets.

The concept is explained on their website:

undersound will be spatially distributed at individual stations and throughout the wider tube network. I can add music to the system at upload points in the ticket halls, and I can download tracks on the platforms.

Each track in the undersound system will be tagged with its place of origin (the station where it was uploaded) and this information is visible as the track is being played.

While in the carriages of the tube, I can browse undersound music of other people in range. Because the system will be gathering metadata on the stations where the track has been (via uploading/downloading at the transfer points) and thus its spread within the network, the time it has been in the system, the number of times it has been played, the number of people who have played it, and so on, I will be able to see this information when I look at other people’s music. I can browse through other’s tracks anonymously, but if I decide to download a song from someone else an alert will be triggered on their phone letting them know that I am grabbing one of their tracks.

It all sounds very interesting, though how exactly it’s going to work technically isn’t entirely clear. The designers have some pretty big name sponsors, though, including BT and Intel. They don’t yet have permission from London Transport to actually implement anything – this might be one of the bigger hurdles.

What do you make of the idea?

undersound web site

Andy Merrett
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