Composer-Songwriter Matt Hirt Generates $26,345 Using TAXI and Simple Home Studio

By Kenny Kerner and Doug Minnick
Matt Hirt Home Studio
Listen to Matt Hirt's Songs:

"Great Wall Sunrise"
"Moon Over Bangkok"

Swiss native Matt Hirt, a TAXI member since 1996, has built a lucrative musical career out of his house using TAXI and a relatively simple home recording set-up. His Taxi placements and deals have netted him over $26,345 so far ($14,200 of it has come in this year alone), with more in the pipeline.

Several years ago, Matt chanced to meet with and Michael Laskow (TAXI Founder/CEO) and Doug Minnick (TAXI VP). At the time, TAXI was only a few years young but their concept seemed intriguing to Matt, so he joined. "I thought they seemed like very honest guys with a great idea. I joined and started submitting songs but what opened my eyes was when I started getting all of these listings from them. It made me think that maybe I should start writing in many different genres for the many different listings. The TAXI listings gave me both the idea and the opportunity to write in different styles. Almost immediately I started getting good responses from the screeners."

Taking to heart what the screeners had to say and continuing to push his creative envelope, Matt Hirt has made many, many deals through TAXI that involve some 70 of his original songs, to date. With songs in Spin City, (ABC), Judging Amy (CBS) and Passions (NBC), he has also been contracted by several music libraries to create new music for their catalogs. Matt has composed everything from "comedy" pieces (which are currently producing royalties) to an entire CD's worth of Louisiana music -- from Cajun to Zydeco and Mardi Gras to Jazz Funeral music. "I just got my advance check and started working on it this week," enthuses Matt.

"I'm also getting ready to start on another CD for the same company, I did a project for another library in early July, and now I'm going to do at least one (and possibly two) more for them." writes Matt. "So basically, I have (paying!! music!!) work lined up until about March of next year, and it all came through TAXI!"

Matt also learned a lot about how this business works: "TAXI helps me with everything. They give me new ideas about what to write and then give me feedback on the writing. They help me make money. But it's more than that. For someone like myself who is not good at self-promotion, and not good at schmoozing, TAXI is the difference between having success and not having success. Without TAXI I'd have to be out there constantly trying to hustle-up connections. And I'm not very good at that."

One thing Matt is good at, is making recordings that are suitable for film and TV usage. People ask us all the time how good their recordings need to be for film and TV so we asked Matt to tell us about his home studio set up, and we've included two examples of his work.

"When I first began placing tunes with music libraries and in Film and TV about 6 years ago, my equipment was very modest, to say the least: a then 10-year-old Atari computer with 1Meg of RAM (!), an Ensoniq EPS sampler, and two general purpose MIDI sound modules. I also had an old 16-track machine and mixing board I had bought used from a recording school.

"About 3 years ago I bought a Pentium III PC with some of the money I made, and I've been using that, running Cubase VST, for recording and also for the majority of sounds via software samplers and synths. Still a modest setup, really, and far from being cutting edge.

"If I had to give advice to starving musicians on how to produce broadcast quality recordings, I'd have to say don't worry about buying the latest and greatest gear, but instead just spend a lot of time learning how to get the most out of the stuff you already have. The crummier your equipment, the better your writing, arranging, producing and engineering chops have to be.

"It's definitely possible to get broadcast quality results with any hard disk or minidisc based portastudio, or an ADAT, or using inexpensive software running on a PC you probably already have, as long as you're willing to spend the time to acquire the necessary skills. Luckily, becoming a more skilled recording musician is essentially free, and everything you learn will translate perfectly to all the mega buck equipment you may buy when those royalty checks start rolling in_._._.

" 'Great Wall Sunrise' was done on my old setup about 7 years ago, has been featured on 'Passions' and 'Judging Amy,' among other things, and has earned me about $ 5500 to date.

" 'Moon Over Bangkok' is a new piece I finished recently, on my current setup. (I chose a piece in a similar style for easy comparison.)

"Thank you to everybody at TAXI! I'm really excited about all the great opportunities and successes that have come my way as a result of being a member of the finest musician's service on the globe! You are the best! You are helping to make peoples' dreams become a reality!"

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