Answered by Michael Laskow, TAXI CEO
For which song genres is it more appropriate/acceptable to depart from conventional lyric structures (e.g. verse/chorus/verse/chorus or verse/verse/bridge/verse)?

— Many thanks, Brent St. John

I think Rap and Hip-Hop are certainly genres that don't follow traditional form, and I'm sure there are plenty of other genres that depart from traditional song forms. But, I think that you'll find that the genres that appear most often on radio are the more traditional genres. ASCAP Nashville, VP Ralph Murphy has done studies in conjunction with Belmont University, and his results clearly point out that the largest percentage of Country and Pop hits are done in the Verse – Chorus, Verse – Chorus, Bridge – Chorus and out form.

Here's an excerpt from one of Ralph's articles on the subject:

"The lion's share of #1s were written in drive time's best friends 3rd Form and 4th Form. 3rd Form at its most basic is Verse-(Verse Optional)-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Instrumental-Chorus.

4th Form is Verse-Lift-Chorus-Verse-Lift-Chorus-(Bridge Optional)-Instrumental-(Lift Optional)-Chorus. Just to illustrate, the most pristine examples of these forms are 'I Breathe In, I Breathe Out'-Cagle/Robbin (3rd Form) and 'Living And Living Well'-Martin/Nesler/Shapiro (4th Form)."

Here's a link to Ralph's article. Check it out. Statistics don't lie!

— Thanks for the question, Michael

I have been composing music for some time and I use the term 'composing' very loosely as I am not a great musician, but I play a number of instruments well enough to create my ideas.

Recently, however, I have been using royalty-free loops to create backing tracks to add my own pieces to, be it either vocals of solo instruments. Anyway, I have also composed entire songs using loop material. How common is that in today's music, as far as someone creating a CD that is comprised of 80 to 100 percent loop material?

— Stacey

I've got to say, I don't know the answer to that question, but my educated guess is that outside of Rap and Hip-Hop, probably not a lot. Then again, I do know that Howie Day has done some incredible things using stomp boxes that loop his voice and acoustic guitar, and the effect sounds like a full band, even though it's just him on stage.

Wish I could give you a real percentage, but if I did, I'd be lying. Hmmmm, maybe that would qualify me to work in the music business. ;-) Cheap shot, I know.

— All the best, Michael

Is there any chance you could upload examples of songs that have been forwarded on, along with the listings to which they were submitted? That would give writers some actual case examples and would show us what you're looking for in terms of genre, style, production quality, etc.

— Bob

We get that question quite often, but there's a reason that we've never been able to do it: A pretty large percentage of the people whose songs we forward, don't want to expose their songs to the public for fear of other people borrowing ideas. I'm not sure if that fear is well-founded, but I can see that it's certainly possible. I know that a lot of my musician friends seemed somewhat concerned about putting their songs up for sale on MySpace for that reason as well.

Another reason we gave up on the idea is that it's soooooooo hard to get people to call us back when we leave this message: "Hi, it's Michael from TAXI. We'd like to put your song, 'I Love You Mary' up on our Web site so hundreds of your fellow members can check it out to see why you got forwarded."

When you consider the number of forwards we send out every month and the people who wrote them, we would have to chase hundreds of people down, and in most cases, they'd be reluctant – as we've seen from past attempts to do this.

The good news is that we do often get permission to post a song or two in the articles that profile members. That's one way you can check to see where the bar is set.

— Warm regards, Michael

People don't actually SELL songs, they LICENSE them to another artist, and yes, you could certainly do that. You do need to make demos of your songs, and it's not uncommon to have a demo singer do the vocals.

I've been working on some songs. I like to write, but I can't sing and don't have an 8 track. Can my songs be sold maybe for an artist to have or sing? How would I go about that?

People don't actually SELL songs, they LICENSE them to another artist, and yes, you could certainly do that. You do need to make demos of your songs, and it's not uncommon to have a demo singer do the vocals.

It sounds like you need a multi instrumentalist/producer/arranger/engineer person who can translate your guitar/vocal or keyboard/vocal demos in to something a little more produced. It's also worth mentioning that for song pitches, you don't need to do SUCH a full-blown production as you might for an artist pitch.

A good friend of mine recently turned me on to a very cool service called, You send them your scratch track (eg., guitar/vocal demo), and they record some heavy-weight studio players and send you back the individual tracks to dump in to your Pro Tools rig, or a finished mix of your completed song. I referred another friend of mine to them for some drum tracks, and he was delighted with their service AND the reasonable price! Check them out at

— Hope this helps, Michael

Please address questions to:

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

"Business is business, but TAXI has a heart. I wanted to send my praise to you for creating this "family" of members."
— Tom Johnson,
TAXI Member

"My only regret is that I didn't join TAXI years ago — but it's never too late to make up for lost time."
— Richard Scotti,
TAXI Member

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

"Thanks so much for forwarding "Sheree" to Dawson's Creek. It's been selected for the show!"
— Fran Lucci,
TAXI Member

"Getting all these critques in the mail is encouraging and instructive as well. Thanks for your help!"
— Lisa Knouse,
TAXI Member