Pete Swanson has been involved in music since the age of ten when he
first heard a record by Elton John. Though Pete is a keyboardist who
also plays bass, he readily admits to "playing computer the best." Like
everyone else, Pete had his share of local bands but soon came to the
realization that he didn't want to be loading out equipment at three
in the morning. He gave it an honest to goodness shot, always thinking
that he was pursuing his music career on a serious note. But when it
got time to decide between a college career and continuing to chase
the gold ring, Pete opted for an education.
Then a strange
thing happened. Pretty soon, Pete understood how much a part his music
played in his everyday life. "I knew music was a passion that would
never go away," he explained, "so I just kept writing. I always kept
some keyboards around all throughout college and early in my career
as a mediator. Then, in 1992, I came to the realization that I needed
to test myself and my music by trying to make a business out of it.
I took out a business loan and really beefed up the home studio that
was about to take one giant step toward becoming a professional in the
music business. Was he scared? You bet. Did that turn him off? No way!
Here's what happened: "I was determined to challenge myself to pay back
the business loan through generating work in my spare time over a three
year period. What I discovered was that I was able to do that. So I
then decided to push it further along by making it a full-time business.
My goal was to earn enough money in the studio as I earned at my day
job." At this time, that goal is well within reach.
So, from his
basement recording studio, Pete solicits work, much of which has come
because of his membership with TAXI and the many forwards his tapes have
received. Swanson recently made a deal to do custom work with video helper,
a New York-based music library that works with all of the TV networks.
Like most musicians and studio owners, Pete first became aware of TAXI
thorough the company's ads in music magazines and was skeptical about
a company that looked too good to be true. "I joined TAXI and, after a
period of time when a few of my songs were forwarded, I realized that
they were telling the truth. It is exactly what it says--a TAXI that gets
you to your business appointments."
It may have taken
Pete Swanson a little longer, but he finally realized that "to get anywhere
in the music business, the key was developing relationships. The politics
of this business is no different in Washington, D. C., than it is in Los
Angeles or Nashville. So I went out and paid a visit to the folks at TAXI.
I was so impressed with what they had done and the integrity with which
they approached their work, that I thought I'd visit them on my trip to
L.A. I was incredibly impressed with the entire operation and the people
attached to it."
that he has a 50% rate of tapes submitted to tapes being forwarded. Indeed
an excellent average. And he also makes good use of the critiques he receives
should his songs be sent back. "I find the critiques very valuable--especially
when they show me something about my songs that I haven't thought of.
Most of the time, they tell me what my intuition was already telling me
if I had just listened to it in the first place."
One of the most
valuable lessons Pete learned from TAXI is that maintaining a relationship
through personal visits and contact is vital toward sustaining any kind
of career in this business. Swanson concludes on a very positive note:
"For me, TAXI is my connection to the industry. They deliver you to the
industry because you couldn't do it yourself. And, they give you hope
of one day being able to work on your music full-time. You need to take
it seriously when people tell you this is a business. Treat it that way.
Raw talent doesn't win out that many times compared to a savvy business
sense in helping to get the talent exposed. The final thing I want to
say is that nothing gives me more satisfaction in the world than coming
home to a message telling me that someone liked my song or wants to hear
more music from me. And that wouldn't have happened without TAXI."