By Doug Minnick
Dear TAXI,

I haven't renewed because I simply do not believe that you can realistically offer overseas members anything like the service you provide to your home-based people. This is not your fault. There are thousands of writers up and down the US who are much closer to the action. The truth is that in this business, the closer to home you are, the more chance you have of scoring. If you can get on a bus and be on the producer's doorstep in a half hour, or better still if you've had a beer or two with the guys in the studio the night before a recording session, then your chances of getting a sympathetic ear are considerably higher.

The further from the action and the more intermediaries you have to got through, the less your chances. Multiply that by the distance from a to b and you have the real odds against hitting the target.

So there you have it.

You publish all the good reviews of your business, I dare you to publish this. Let's see how confident you really are.

Best wishes,

Ken Charleson
Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland
SXSW Music Conference
Austin, Texas

Dear Ken,

One of the reasons TAXI was created was exactly to help writers who aren't in the music centers (like LA, New York, Nashville, and London) get their music to decision-makers in the business.

Take a look through this list of some of TAXI's deals and you will see how many of these deals are for people who don't live in a music center.

My informal count shows that well more than 80% of all deals are for people who are not in the same town as the company who signed them. In fact, I just got an e-mail this morning from a writer in Spain who signed two songs to an publisher in New York.

The fact is, that people in the industry are looking for great music and don't care where it comes from. There might be occasional exceptions—especially for film work that needs to be done at the last minute—but even those can be done at long distance these days, thanks to the internet.

For example, we just had a call for a last-minute shot (music had to be written, recorded, and delivered within 24 hours) at getting music in a major national ad campaign. The writers selected to write for the project were in Florida, Baltimore, and LA. The ad agency was in New York.

It is true that if you are able to live in New York, LA, etc. you are able to make your own connections and develop your career in ways that writers outside of those cities cannot,—but as far as TAXI is concerned, it doesn't matter where you live.

Dear TAXI,

I keep getting some great reviews from your folks that include some very high marks for quality of production and performance. One reviewer even commented that I was an "accomplished songwriter." I am always excited and honored by the great feedback, even when I've received a so-so review. Here's my issue: one common theme I find is that my submission is "not close enough to what the listing is asking for." Is it possible that when a reviewer spends time reviewing a song he or she thinks is excellent but not right for the listing, they could suggest some listings that might be more appropriate? Even if the listing is past, it would really help the confusion on this end when we're told it's "not right" and we scratch our heads wondering, where should we go with it?

Pete Lampron
Concord, NH

Hi Pete,

I wish it was that simple! :-)

Unfortunately, if a song is wrong for a certain opportunity or genre, it doesn't mean that it is necessarily right for a different opportunity. Just because a song doesn't quite fit in the Country market for example, doesn't mean that it IS right for Rock or R&B or anything else for that matter.

We frequently hear songs—sometimes perfectly good songs—that aren't easily marketed in today's music business environment. The narrow focus of many current radio formats does tend to exclude a lot of music that doesn't fit within their tight restrictions. And in the end, radio is what we are all up against—songwriters, artists, producers, even A&R people usually need radio to achieve commercial success.

Making music and marketing music are two different things. One can make whatever kind of music one can imagine. There are absolutely no restrictions on the kind if music you can make.

The music marketplace, though, is a different beast. We are all subject to it if we are trying to sell our music.

If you are trying to achieve commercial success (and who reading this would refuse a #1 record if a fairy godmother could grant you one?) I suggest becoming very familiar with the different radio formats and genres, and be honest with yourself about where your music fits best.

You may find that it doesn't fit anywhere right now. In which case, you need to examine where your interests (and your talents) lie and look at how you might change your approach.

For example, a writer who has a talent for writing strong visual lyrics and good stories, might think about making a more targeted approach to writing songs for the Country market. On the other hand, a writer whose strength is in writing grooves might tailor their approach to the Urban or Dance areas. Those who excel at creating emotion through instrumentals might take a closer look at the film and TV markets. And so forth.

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See How TAXI Works

"I've been to tons of music seminars put on by reputable companies. None of them have ever come close to the Road Rally."
— Stuart Ridgway,
TAXI Member

"Entrain got three songs in "Cutaway" (starring Stephen Baldwin and Tom Berenger). One of the songs, "All One," is the feature song of the movie!"
— Brian Alex (Entrain),
TAXI Member

"I received a giant BMI check from TV airplay that I probably wouldn't have earned without TAXI."
— Julie Ann Bailey,
TAXI Member

"The critiques of my submissions have been most helpful. I have learned so much during these past six months that I find it hard to believe."
— Gary Bonura,
TAXI Member