Answered by: Michael Laskow
I want to know if you accept Latin music or other genre with Spanish lyrics?

Max Rosado

Hi Max,

You'll be happy to know that we're in the process of seriously ramping up our Latin listings. We get a few, here and there, but we want to build it into a major category. Give us a few months to finish doing our legwork, and you're going to be a happy camper. :)



I write a lot of songs. Lyrics, melody, etc. The problem is that I don't play any musical instruments so most of my songs have no accompanying music. How much could this hurt my chances to be forwarded and is there a way to remedy this problem?

Sharmon

Hi Sharmon,

Having no music on your demo is a bad thing – a very bad thing.

The problem is easily solved by finding a co-writer. I'm sure there are people in your area who are quite talented musically, but don't have great lyrical talent you may have. You need to find them, and co-write with them. If you're really lucky, the person you connect with might have a home studio to record your demos as well. One of the best ways to find a co-writer is to visit Musician's Junction at the TAXI Web site: http://www.musiciansjunction.com/junction/tax/contact.html.

Another great way to meet co-writers is to post a notice on the bulletin board at several local musical instrument stores saying, "Talented lyricist looking for musical co-writer with home studio." Be patient and persistent, and eventually, you'll find your musical soulmate.



My name is Olafur and I'm a 30-year-old songwriter from Iceland. I've been a member in TAXI for two years and I want to thank you for all your good advise from the feedbacks to my songs. They have really made me a better songwriter. There is one thing that I wanted to ask you, because my ultimate dream is to write a hit Pop/Rock songs for a superstar singer. In those two years I have never seen any TAXI songwriter that has been able to do that (Pop/Rock Billboard hit). Is that true? Of course I know that this is a very hard business (music industry), but is there a chance for an unknown songwriter from Iceland to have a hit song with your help?

Olafur Vigfusson

Dear Olafur,

It really doesn't matter where you live. If the song is a hit, then that's all that matters. The biggest hit a TAXI member has ever had was "Buy Me a Rose" written by Erik Hickenlooper and Jim Funk from a small town in Utah — not exactly a hotbed of the music business. The song went to #1 on the Billboard Country charts, and three years later, got recorded again by the late R&B superstar, Luther Vandross. I think it went to #11 that time.

We recently found out about a great cut another TAXI member got on a Pop record on a major label. It's coming out in late September, so we're not allowed to talk about it yet. But it looks like it's going to be the first single from the album, and the artist is on a TV show, so the possibility of success looks better than usual. Funny enough, the writer moved away from LA, but joined TAXI to pitch his material "from a distance." I've got to think it will work just as well for you, if you're writing great songs — not good, but GREAT!



Hi,

I've never sold a song before and am wondering what to expect if I do get an offer. What kind of negotiations should we expect (who keeps copyright, performance rights, monies from different media sources, etc.) and is there an average payout for guys like me?

Thanks,


Jeff Mayo

Dear Jeff,

I don't mean this to sound harsh, and I DO realize that this column is designed to help people, but DUDE, there are a ton of books out there that cover this, and we excerpt one of the very best nearly every month in our newsletter. It's called Music, Money, and Success by Todd and Jeff Brabec. Another seminal book that covers this topic is All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman. Both of these books are great, and we've excerpted both of them dozens of times in our newsletter. Here's a link to an archive chock full of excerpts from both books: http://www.taxi.com/faq/publishing/index.html#q3

The answers you seek are too long to cover in this letter, but I will tell you that you don't "sell" a song. You license the song. You get paid about eight cents per album sold, and you make money when your song spins on radio, TV, in a movie, at a public performance, etc.

If I were trying to make it in the music business, I would concentrate my efforts on being a pro songwriter, rather than being an artist. You don't have to leave home to tour. It doesn't matter if you're unattractive and not 21, and the odds of making real money are just plain better. Please check out all the great, FREE articles we have waiting for you on just about every subject in the music business at http://www.taxi.com/faq/index.html.



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