Answered by: Michael Laskow
I am considering becoming a member of TAXI. After browsing through the site, there are a few questions that still remain.

I wasn't aware of the fact that TAXI members would write for, let's say, "Famous Band A." I always assumed the artists ("Famous Band A") themselves wrote material and/or wouldn't want to receive any input from TAXI members.

I am a songwriter myself, but do not sing. However, the music I write isn't instrumental. I have someone (for instance, Gwen Stefani) in mind to sing it that would be especially right for the part.

So my question is as follows: As a TAXI member, is it feasible to accommodate requests to write or co-write with a famous artist, if my material is excellent? Also, what genre listing should I submit it to? Which category does it fall under?

Thanks in advance,


Dear Alex,

TAXI is unique in that we bring the needs of record labels and the artists they represent to your front door. If Gwen Stefani is soliciting material for her next album, her label could very well call us up and ask us to run a listing to find songs for her. However, we don't put the shoe on the other foot and take your song(s) and go knocking on door after door after door after door. In my opinion, that's an outmoded method that's highly inefficient and extremely unlikely to produce the results you are looking for.

When the TAXI system works, the end result could be that an artist like Gwen Stefani might find you to be such a desirable writer that she could request that you co-write with her. It's probably a 1 in 10,000 chance, but it's one more chance than you've got right now and that's the beauty of TAXI. If you don't buy a lottery ticket, it's impossible to win.

As to your question about which genre you might find Gwen Stefani's listings under, I think it would be a safe bet she would fall under Modern Rock or Pop, depending on her most recent work. After all ... it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind. ;)

My band is currently working on a three-song demo, which—obviously—we hope will be picked up. It is a melodic rock ensemble, with piano/keyboard, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals. However, currently my friend and I are the only "band members." Our current plan is to either perform each of the instrument parts for recording the demo ourselves, or hire musicians who aren't necessarily members of the band.

My question is twofold:

1. How important is it to an A&R rep to see a fully formed band, versus two guys who use studio musicians? I think our music is very good... but is the A&R rep's stance "You can always get band members, but there is no substitute for good songwriting?" Or is there a certain marketability in a fully formed band—a marketability that could make or break a demo?

2. We toyed with the idea of using our Yamaha Motif to create the "drum" tracks, instead of using real drums. Personally, I would lean more toward hiring a drummer for the studio work, but what is your take? Surely an A&R rep would be able to tell the difference, but how much does it matter nowadays? Would an A&R rep typically overlook that detail and be more concerned with the songwriting?

Best Regards,

Erich M. Brown

Hi Erich,

It can be important for an A&R person to see a fully formed band, but you're right in thinking that hit songs are the most important thing. They can and will form a band around you if they think you've got hits, but if you had a working band that had built a fan base and sold a few thousand CDs on your own, they'd be even more apt to want to sign you.

As to using a real drummer or not... hmmm, well, again, the songs are the most important thing. I think it's a safe bet that no A&R person would say, "Gee, I really love the songs and the guy's voice/artistry, and I'd like to sign these guys if only they had used a real drummer on their demo." It always has been, and always will be about hit songs first and foremost.

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