Answered by Michael Laskow, TAXI CEO
For many years, I was a huge TAXI skeptic. Although the idea for your company seemed like a great idea, it also sounded much too good to be true. I've been on your e-mail list for nearly 12 years, and have always thought your advice was right on target, and you seemed like an honest guy.

But like most musicians, I am wary of all the people who prey on musicians.

Two friends of mine joined TAXI last year, and both of them signed publishing deals as a result. One has already had two of his songs in TV shows from his deal. Long story short, my skepticism faded, and I finally decided to take the leap of faith as well. My only regret is that I didn't take the time to check you out more thoroughly a long time ago. I am now a big supporter of TAXI's and realize that I totally wasted 12 years of progress because I didn't do my homework.

Thanks for a great service!


— Your fan,

Lloyd Tripodi


I can't blame people for being suspicious. Prior to TAXI, I don't think there WAS a service that did what we do in any sort of legitimate way. I'm sure you're not alone in your fear, but I'm really glad to see that you now know what we've known all along. ;-)

— All the best,

Michael




I've been seeing your magazine ads about TAXI member Jenna Drey getting a huge Indie label deal through you guys for a few years now. I began to doubt TAXI's credibility when I saw blurbs about her getting her deal on two other Web sites, [name withheld] and [name withheld].

From the way they worded their blurbs, it sounded like THEY were responsible for getting her the deal. I clicked a link to Drey's own Web site and read HER bio, in which she CLEARLY states that it was in fact TAXI that forwarded her music to the label that signed her.

Why do you guys let these other companies get away with this by making it seem that they got the deal when they really didn't? Isn't that grounds for a lawsuit or something?

At the very least, it tells me what kind of companies that they are, or aren't! What's REALLY surprising is that you sent all of your members to one of those companies for music hosting for many years. Didn't they realize they were sticking a knife in your back?


— Concerned,

Rodney Fricke


Thanks for your concern, I truly appreciate it. This smarmy practice has been going on since I started TAXI 15 years ago, and no matter how many threatening phone calls I make or letters I send, these false claims still pop up all the time. And it's not just limited to the two sites that you've mentioned. Many others have also engaged in this practice.

It really irks me when these companies try to make it look like they were responsible for something we did, but I can only guess that it's because they don't have enough successes of their own to talk about.

I think it's something that we'll always have to live with here at TAXI, but it's pretty easy to spot the fakes. All you need to do is read the ads that we run in national magazines. Those ads are from the horse's mouth and every word approved before the ad goes to print, and therefore truthful.

— Thanks for your concern,

Michael




I found [your] article ["Don't Make the Mistake THIS Songwriter Did"] especially amusing, since I was that woman about five years ago. Well, you know... the male version. I passionately devoted endless hours to recording 11 songs for my first "release." It took months off my life and was enormously exciting. But I was driven by my desire and by this notion that "if you build it, they will come." Damn you, Kevin Costner! So anyway, I finished the recording, had the jacket professionally designed, and shelled out for a 12-page booklet and shrinkwrap (Ooooh ... shrinkwrap! He MUST be good!). About a month later, after much eager anticipation, a UPS truck pulls up to my house with 10 boxes of my CD! How exciting! "I'm on my way now!" I couldn't contain myself! It wasn't until about three years later that I realized what I had done: I had bought 1,000 copies of my own work. Ahh, to live and learn.

Fortunately the CD was good and got some terrific reviews and I was able to sell some copies at shows and occasionally online. And the pride of having completed such a project should not be overlooked. But it was not the ace in the hole I had expected. It certainly lent the illusion of success to the uninformed onlooker, but that doesn't get you on the "Late Show with David Letterman." The punch line is that I just gave the last 400 copies of that 1,000-unit batch to a friend that works for Easter Seals to GIVE AWAY as part of a customer appreciation package. FREE!!! Somewhere around CD #300 I went from thinking this CD would launch my career to understanding that it was a really nice calling card. I abandoned all thoughts of earning any money from it. It was now a promotional tool. That's not to say I don't believe it has a future, but the first 1,000 copies that I produced on blind faith with no strategy or marketing tools went from being my ticket to the big game to being a really expensive business card.


— Be well, and take care,

Todd Royce Morton




In the newsletter I just received, Marianne Vetrus described how the TAXI screeners made her second CD better by critiquing her songs before she recorded them. According to my understanding of most of your listings, they demand "broadcast quality" material with "awesome vocals," etc. I have hundreds of voice/guitar demos of my songs, which I'd love to be critiqued before recording them with a band, but submitting them would seem to run counter to the listings' demands. Yet I also recall Michael Anderson, at last year's Road Rally, giving out his screener number and saying he prefers to receive voice/guitar demos over finished recordings. (I don't see how we can tell, from the listings, who the screener is.) This is all very confusing to me. Could you please elucidate? Thank you.

— Name Withheld

I think Marianne was talking about submitting her songs for custom critiques to get them fine-tuned before doing full demos, not submitting them for listings.

Also, just to be clear...a recording can ABSOLUTELY be broadcast quality, even though it's only guitar/vocal. It just has to be cleanly recorded, and well-balanced in the mix. Many people erroneously think that they've got to have 24 tracks of digital recording to be broadcast quality—not so. RECORD quality from the major label perspective might hold to that standard, but for film and TV, they're just talking about well-performed, in tune, with clean and clear recordings.

Imagine a scene with a brokenhearted lover sitting on a country bridge, skipping rocks... you could most certainly use nothing but a simple acoustic guitar track recorded in mono for that!

Too many members over think this stuff, when all they really need to do is just turn up the volume on their TV sets and study what kind of music gets used on which shows. Far more people have broadcast quality recordings than they are aware of. I may be one of the few people who actually recommends watching more TV. ;-)

— Warm regards,

Michael




Please address questions to:

TAXI
5010 N. Parkway Calabasas #200,
Calabasas, CA 91302

or e-mail to:



All letters submitted become the property of TAXI and can be edited for length, spelling, grammar and sentence syntax. Basically, we can do whatever we want!











See How TAXI Works






















"I've tried others, but they're nowhere near as good as TAXI."
— Firoz Sanullah,
TAXI Member





"With help from you guys, the music is pouring out and I'm having such fun! Thanks!"
— Willie McCulloch,
TAXI Member

"I can't thank you guys enough for everything you do."
— Peter Elakis,
TAXI Member



"The dedication you have to your members is apparent."
— Tom Kovacs,
TAXI Member

"TAXI provides opportunities to people who otherwise would have no access to the music industry."
— Tom Wasinger,
TAXI Member





"You are making an incredible difference in the lives of musicians and artists trying to break into the business!"
— Rob Khurana,
TAXI Member

"I talk TAXI up to my songwriting musician friends."
— Roger Yeardley,
TAXI Member


"TAXI costs a fraction of a songplugging company."
— Jimmy Clark,
TAXI Member