Answered by Michael Laskow, CEO, TAXI, and TAXI Members
Dear Readers,

This letter is a compilation of sentiments sent to me by dozens of members every month. I just wanted to make it obvious that I compiled their thoughts into this concise letter.

— ML

Dear TAXI,

I'm frustrated that the music industry seems to be growing smaller in my genre. I do Jazz (Blues, Cajun, etc., etc, etc.) and there just aren't that many labels that put out what I do or stations that play the kind of music I make.

I know I could go the Indie artist route, but there aren't any clubs in my area that hire artists that play original music. I spent a small fortune recording my CD, but I haven't sold very many copies.

Do you have any suggestions?


— Thanks,

Bob, Sue, Dick, Jane, and all the rest…


Dear Bob, Sue, Dick, Jane, et al,

Do you own a TV? Do you ever go to the movies? Have you noticed that the niche genres OFTEN get used in movies and TV shows? I'm going to say it for the millionth time—film and TV placements are the record deal of the new millennium!

The energy and time it takes to market your own product is immense and very few people pull it off. I heartily congratulate those of you who do. It takes intense focus and tons of time. You can earn a real living selling CDs and downloads of nearly any genre of music, but it takes work.

Very few products fly off the shelves on their own.

It's easy to assume that because you, your friends and your family love your music that everybody else will too. But there's a flaw in that thinking. If the pubic doesn't hear it, they can't love it. And that's the problem; most musicians don't have the time, the skills or the financial means to get their music heard, therefore, no sales.

You've got a MySpace page. So does everybody else. And the public has already figured out that most of the music (by percentage) isn't as good as what the major labels used to put out, so they quit looking for more.

Any good marketing book will tell you that if you can sell one to two percent of ANYTHING, you're doing really well. How many people saw your page last month? What's two percent of that number?

Not getting rich? Neither are the majority of the other three million artists on social networking sites. Like I said, a small percentage WILL succeed, but they'll have worked hard to do it.

Pretty grim. I know! I hear ya. But it's reality, so you've got to find a better plan. If you're doing the same thing over and over, and the result you're getting sucks over and over, then change your plan!

I've begged you to do this before, and I'm going to beg you one more time! LISTEN to your TV. You'll be shocked at how many times you'll hear music that could have been yours.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'll risk it for your sake. TV shows and movies use a much broader range of music than record labels will sign or can sell. They also love to use music that's in lock step with what's on the radio. Got something contemporary? Knock 'em dead!

Got something quirky? So did Feist, and it ended up in an Apple commercial.

All you need to do is LISTEN and take action. Most people get stuck at step number two. I don't want to see you end up in a job you hate for the rest of your life. Do something now!

— Warm regards,

Michael




Here's a commonly asked question on our Forum at taxi.com, and some answers from this gent's fellow members.

— ML

Hi everyone...

Just feeling a little down...was looking at my submission history...six different forwards over the last three months...but no calls...I'm not whining...or slowing down...just need a little cheering up...


— TerryB

Terry,

It was 11 months after my first forward before I ever heard anything. I WAS getting a little anxious, no doubt; but I've seen SO many stories on here about it taking two years to hear back from a forward... TWO YEARS!!... that I'd have to say my turn-around time was fairly quick, by comparison.

Waiting for that call is NEVER easy and often a little maddening. The only real advice I can offer (and this is NOT what you're going to want to hear) is...

Fugedaboudit.

Keep writing and working on new stuff and building up a backlog of additional forwards to be excited about.

(More from the "probably-not-what-you're-wanting-to-hear" file...) And an added reason to fugedaboudit is because I'd have to say that most forwards do NOT pan out into deals. Ugly, but true. My personal goal for my first year of TAXI membership was 2 forwards. By the grace of the gods, I got 8. But I was 2 months into my second year before I heard back on anything. So your best bet is to rack up as many forwards as possible to keep increasing your chances of getting THE call.

Just thought hearing my personal version of what you're feeling and going through might help you feel less like you're standing at the edge all by yourself.

— HTH,

Ted


Hi terryb,

I was a member for 15 months with over 30 forwards before I got my first contact. That was in January of this year, and I've placed 14 songs in that library now, and have been contacted by another company from a different forward now.

From my early experiences here, and the stories of successful people on these forums, it takes a few years to get the ball rolling, so keep at it. If you're getting forwards and writing more material, you're headed in the right direction!

—Peace

djdeweese


And this addendum from Michael:

If there were one thing I wish I could snap my fingers and magically change, it would be the timeline from when a member's music is forwarded by TAXI to a company and when the member hears back (which typically only happens when they want to sign it). Sometimes it's quickly, but that's rarely the case.

Our Forum is loaded with stories about members getting a contract offer a year or more later! What's confounding to me is that it's common for members to sit by the phone waiting for the call. The smarter route to take is to do exactly what the experienced members above are recommending – keep producing more tracks and get them in the pipeline.

The overall objective with film and TV tracks in the production music library business is to get as many tracks signed into as many libraries as you can over a number of years. If you're prolific and well targeted, you can and will get better at this with each passing year.

Somewhere in the third, fourth, or fifth year, your disciplined submissions and subsequent forwards will very likely begin to earn you thousands of dollars per year. Two other things often happen as a result of TAXI forwarding your music to these companies.

1) The companies you "meet" through TAXI will allow you (or ask you!) to submit other material you may have.

2) You will often build relationships with the companies you get paired with by TAXI, and that could lead to you becoming a "go-to" person for them, where they will reach out to you for specific projects and needs, especially if you get well-known for being a home run hitter for them in a specific genre or two.

Going back to my favorite analogy, golf—you wouldn't expect that winning a few rounds of golf per year would land you a slot at the Masters. But, if you keep winning round after round, year after year, you COULD begin to expect a real payoff down the road.

That's what the film and TV music business is like. Stick with it, learn what the market is looking for, create that kind of music, keep pitching it, and down the road you just might have created a surprising income from it. Very few great things come from little effort over little time. But I've got to say, making music for TV and movies is more realistic and somewhat easier than trying to land a record deal and sell millions of CDs. Slow and steady wins the race!

—Talk to you soon,

Michael




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