#ottmusic

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About and contact

Emerging from the 2018 council-approved Ottawa Music Strategy [2.53 MB], #ottmusic has evolved into an initiative that brings together City-led programs, opportunities and information for musicians and residents.

In 2020, the City launched three core #ottmusic programs

  • Music on Hold,
  • O-Buskers, and
  • City Sounds.

This is a great opportunity for local musicians to share their music with Ottawa residents and beyond! An Ottawa artist has been defined as one who resides within 150 kilometres of the City centre.

Please check back regularly as more content will be added. For more information contact MOH_MA@ottawa.ca 

For further updates on this unique initiative, follow the City of Ottawa on TwitterInstagram, or like on Facebook.

How to apply

Applications for #ottmusic are closed and will reopen Winter 2024.  

For more information contact MOH_MA@ottawa.ca 

Music on Hold

Image of a record player with telephone handset. Text reading "ottmusic" with hashtag.

Music on Hold is a program that brings local music to the City of Ottawa's phone system. When a caller has to wait on the phone, we want them to hear your music! Your music will also be featured on this page, so if a caller likes what they hear, they can connect with you directly.

The City of Ottawa is furthering its commitment to providing new opportunities to Ottawa's cultural community, while offering residents an enhanced experience when calling the City. The City wants to help musicians reach a broader audience and to show musicians our appreciation.

Applications for Music on Hold are closed and will reopen in winter 2024.

Interested in applying next year? Here is what you’ll need to know: 

Rules

  1. Applicants must live within 150 km of the City of Ottawa.
  2. Submissions must not include profanity, violent or discriminatory language.
  3. Must be original music owned by the applicant.
  4. Only one submission per applicant or group.
  5. Applicants must be aged 18+

All submissions will be reviewed by a committee of musicians and industry professionals from the Ottawa area who will recommend up to 25 songs for use on the City of Ottawa phone system. Recommendations will be based on artistic merit, diversity, artistic practice and community involvement, and content. Each successful applicant will receive a $200 licensing fee for use of up to 1 minute of the song during a 12-month period.

For more information, please contact MOH_MA@ottawa.ca.

Music on Hold Playlist 2023

The City of Ottawa is very proud to introduce 35 tracks selected for the Music on Hold playlist!

A committee of musicians and industry professionals from the Ottawa area selected each track for the Music on Hold playlist. Themes, points of view or comments conveyed in each track are those of the artist and do not represent those of the City of Ottawa.

O-Buskers

Image of the OC Transpo "O" logo with text reading "ottmusic" and hashtag.

Starting in Spring 2023, OC Transpo's O-Buskers program will help to bring local musical entertainment, vibrancy and a sense of community to O-Train Line 1 stations

The program falls under the City’s #ottmusic initiative and will help to expand City-led music programming.

Applications for O-Buskers 2023 have now closed.  

Please check back for program result announcements. 

Interested in applying next year? Here is what you’ll need to know:

General information

  • Applicants must live within 150 km of the City of Ottawa.
  • Submissions must not include profanity, violent or discriminatory language. 
  • Only one submission per applicant or group.  
  • For performers requiring electrical power: 
    • Electrical connections are not available at every station. 
  • For groups larger than two members: 
    • Each station varies in the size of performance space available. 
  • Volume levels: 
    • Given the nature of these public spaces, decibel limitations should be considered. Our goal is to provide a positive experience for transit users. 

All submissions will be reviewed by a committee of musicians and industry professionals from the Ottawa area who will recommend up to 50 spots in O-Buskers (the number of spots will be monitored and adjusted as needed). Recommendations will be based on artistic merit, artistic practice and community involvement, diversity, and content. 

For more information about the program, please contact obuskers@ottawa.ca. For more information about the #ottmusic application process, please contact MOH_MA@ottawa.ca

O-Buskers Rules and Regulations 

  1. Buskers must apply annually for a busking permit through an application and selection committee process.
  2. Buskers must be aged 18+. 
  3. Buskers may sign-up to perform at designated busking locations. 
  4. Buskers can only perform in the designated busking locations during the day, time and location they signed up for.  
  5. Busker permits cost $25 annually. This fee will help recoup administrative costs.  
  6. Buskers will be issued a photo permit ID and must have this ID on their person when performing. The permit ID is subject to inspection by OC Transpo’s Special Constable Unit. 
  7. Buskers can sign-up for time slots ahead of time – this will ensure the daily busker schedule is made available to all applicable stakeholders.  
  8. Buskers can only perform content and use instrumentation/amplification consistent with the details submitted in their application. Certain designated busking locations may limit the number of performers per act due to site constraints. Certain designated busking locations may not permit or be able to support all types of instruments and amplification devices due to site constraints. These details will be provided to buskers when signing up for their location. 
  9. Buskers can only perform at approved sound levels – this will ensure station announcements and customer comfort take priority.  
  10. Buskers may collect monetary tips. Collection methods must not impede passenger flow or create trip hazards.  
  11. Buskers must comply with the Transit Bylaw, and review and agree to follow the O-Buskers Program Rules and Regulations – buskers who breach the rules and regulations may be subject to fines and penalties and a revoked busking permit. 

City Sounds

Image of the pause and play symbols in a circle and text reading "ottmusic" with hashtag.

Discover the strength and diversity of Ottawa's music scene through City Sounds, an annual streamable playlist featuring local musicians.

The goal of this program is to showcase musicians who live in the Ottawa region!

Applications for City Sounds 2023 have now closed.  

Please check back for program result announcements.

Interested in applying next year? Here is what you’ll need to know:

Rules

  1. This opportunity is free and voluntary to applicants who live within 150 km of the City of Ottawa.
  2. Submissions must not include profanity, violent or discriminatory language.
  3. Must be original music owned by the applicant.
  4. Only one submission per applicant.
  5. Review and indicate your consent to the terms and conditions of the License Agreement.
  6. Applicants must be aged 18+

All submissions will be reviewed for profanity, violent or discriminatory language.

For more information, please contact MOH_MA@ottawa.ca.

City Sounds License Agreement

Please review the terms and conditions of the following License Agreement if you would like your song to be considered for inclusion in the City Sounds playlist.

  1. I (the Artist) have submitted a sound recording to the City of Ottawa (the City) that is an original musical work that I created and own. I have not granted exclusive rights to this sound recording to any other person or entity.
  2. The City will use my sound recording to promote my work to the public through inclusion in a streamable playlist of local musicians on ottawa.ca. I agree this is valuable and sufficient consideration.
  3. I hereby grant to the City a non-exclusive worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license at no cost to the City, to copy, use, reproduce, adapt, distribute, transmit and make available to the public in all media and formats now known or hereafter devised including a digital copy to be made available for streaming on the City of Ottawa website.
  4. I warrant and represent that the sound recording is my original work and I have the necessary ownership rights. I warrant and represent that the sound recording does not violate the proprietary rights of others. I further warrant and represent that the sound recording does not contain explicit lyrics or matter which is defamatory, an invasion of privacy, or an unlawful appropriation of name and likeness.
  5. I understand and agree that the City of Ottawa may, at its sole discretion, determine whether to accept and use any part of my sound recording, and may select a sound recording of up to the full song recording. The City may, at its sole discretion, determine the length of time it uses and re-uses the sound recording and may discontinue its use of the sound recordings at any time without notice to me.
  6. The City of Ottawa assumes no liability for any damages or costs arising from this License Agreement or arising from its use of my sound recording.
  7. This Agreement will take effect at the date and time my sound recording is submitted to City.
  8. I may terminate this Agreement for convenience upon thirty days written notice to the City. Terminating this Agreement will result in my sound recording being removed from the playlist following the notice period. Written notice may be provided to MOH_MA@ottawa.ca.
  9. The City may terminate this Agreement for convenience at any time without notice.

City Sounds Playlist 2023

The City of Ottawa is very proud to introduce 78 tracks submitted for the City Sounds playlist!

Themes, points of view or comments conveyed in each track are those of the artist and do not represent those of the City of Ottawa.

Ottawa Rocks! Reunion Tour

crowd at rock and roll concert
November 8, 2023 to September 3, 2025

The Rock history of Ottawa is varied, rich, and constantly evolving. Visitors to Ottawa Rocks! exhibit at Ottawa City Hall will have the opportunity to learn, engage with and reminisce about the many Rock musicians who have played in this city from 1950 to 2012. The exhibit was originally presented in 2013 for a three-month period at Gallery 112, City of Ottawa Archives. Ottawa Rocks! Reunion Tour is now reimagined for visitors at City Hall.

The City of Ottawa Archives holds primary material related to the history of rock n’ roll in Ottawa covering all aspects of rock n’ roll including musicians, promoters, prominent figures, clubs, venues, festivals, radio stations, and memorable and infamous moments.

Ready to rock? Explore Ottawa’s Rock ‘n Roll history, the bands, the local haunts, the memorable moments, and the people that made it happen.

Barbara Ann Scott Gallery 
Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West 
613-580-2857
TTY: 613-580-2401