The Track Toronto project has collected and mapped songs inspired by places in Toronto and made them available to pedestrians through QR codes posted on street corners. The goal is for listeners to be able to explore Toronto while listening to music related to the sites they visit.
The city recently installed bright yellow road signs in the Parkdale neighbourhood with QR codes that let users listen to songs that are linked to each code. Pedestrians can scan the code and instantly listen to the song, while the lyrics are printed right on the sign itself. There are currently eight signs in place. When users encounter markers located all around the city, they simply use their smartphones to hear songs related to that very spot.
As Jonathan Tyrrell, the project designer explains: “Whether the song mentions a particular landmark, captures the character of a neighbourhood, or was part of a legendary live show there – the markers alert listeners to a notable site for Toronto music.”
A total of 131 songs are already in the inventory and are accessible on the project’s website. When the full version of the project is launched users will be able to navigate an online map locating all of the songs in the collection, paired with text and/or images explaining the connection between song and site. A set of physical markers and QR codes will be installed in key locations throughout the city, directing wanderers to the online map and alerting them to site-specific songs in that area.
Toronto – a music hub
The idea for the project came, in part, last year during the NXNE festival, where organizer Jonathan Tyrrell attended a roundtable discussion on branding Toronto a music hub.
“It’s been an overall positive response since day one. There’s a lot of buzz about Toronto’s music scene and it’s the right time for the project so that’s why people really identify with it,” he said. “We’d like to make it a very subtle experience where a smartphone can guide you through a ‘song walk’ in Toronto.”
Jonathan Tyrrell is already thinking of new ways to use the system to bring even more music to the city. “Imagine being able to get an audio preview of who’s playing tonight at all the venues you pass on your way home, or imagine your neighborhood turned into a pop-up video, filled with layers of rich musical history and new bands to discover.”