TAXI – How To Make A (Great) Living Writing Music! Part Three– Getting Through and Getting Paid!

Here is a listing posted the day I completed this series…

Abbie Stancato of Rockin' God's HouseNEW LISTING — CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN SONGS with FEMALE VOCALS that would suit artists like Amy Grant, Karen Peck & New River, Mandisa, Jessica King, etc., are needed by an Independent, Nashville-based publisher, to pitch to Contemporary Christian artists and labels. They’re looking for well-crafted songs that have a radio-friendly song structure. Quoting the source: “Current and transcendent melodies would be best. Lyrics should be conversational, visual, emotional, with fresh hooks that we haven’t heard before.” Be sure your lyrics are inspirational, with a spiritual message that has crossover appeal. Vocal and instrumental performances should be strong enough to help sell the song. Choruses should be big and deliver a big pay-off. Female vocals only. Mid-to-Up tempo songs are preferred. Please submit one to three songs online or per CD, include lyrics. All submissions will be screened and critiqued by TAXI…

My personal experience with TAXI when it came to rejections for my material was that the material I submitted did not fit what TAXI was looking for… Michael replied with a very eye opening response.

“I would estimate that 75% to 80% of the music that doesn’t make it through the TAXI process is because the person who pitched it, pitched it poorly. Meaning that they didn’t read the listing well! Perhaps one word jumped out — Contemporary Christian or Male Vocals, and that was all they needed to see. They didn’t read the listing well, they didn’t listen to the reference artists, and listen for the commonality compared to their music. They figured they were close because they had one or two of the elements in listing, and sent their music anyway, even though it isn’t specifically what the client is looking for, and they blame TAXI for not getting forwarded.” Wow, I was so guilty. That was exactly what I did 90% of the time. I figured if I was close, for the cost of the submission fee, it was worth a shot, and never listened to the reference material.  Mr. Laskow stated that this eagerness for any opportunity without doing your homework costs TAXI thousands a members a year. My bad, my lesson learned!

Members place their money and music on your screeners. What are their qualifications? He responded, “For starters, my screeners don’t have any more information than what the members get. Why should they?  We want you to know everything we could possibly tell you because our goal is to help you get a deal so we ‘brag’ about it and we can get more members.

All screeners are experts in the genre they represent, and might also be experts in at least one or two other genres. Their resumes are incredible, they have to be. If we get an artist complaining about the screeners’ decision and questioning their credentials, we understand that the screeners must have a better resume that the artist or we lose credibility. They are alone in an area with only head phones, and they often listen to the same reference material the artists have to be certain their ears are fresh and on target.”

I asked about TAXI’s A&R opportunities. These are opportunities for artists to present their material for record deals, or to allow other artists to record and perform  one’s material. Michael said, “They currently have a gentleman who is one of the top A&R directors in the Christian industry, and he runs listings on TAXI on a very regular basis. “

What are they looking for? Is it someone who writes amazing songs, who has an incredible live show, who’s been working the road from the back of a van for years, built up a mailing list, and has a large fan base and is earning enough money right now? They want to take that smoldering campfire and throw some gasoline on it! This criteria is the same for Christian and Secular labels alike.

If you’re one guy, and you play all the instruments, the only shot you have is that the A&R directors may pitch your material to their artists. It’s extremely unlikely they will want to sign a studio artist.

I inquired,  “Should a member hire an attorney when he or she gets the call from a client wanting to use their song?” Michael laughed as he replied, “There are different answers for different deals. If it’s a record deal, absolutely hire an attorney. If it’s film and TV publisher, they’re not going to negotiate a different deal for every song they sign. They may have between five and 100,000 songs in their catalog. Their offer is usually, ‘Here’s the deal, take it or leave it.’ I’m not an attorney and can’t offer legal advice. Research to see if it is a reasonable deal. If you’re dealing with a Music Supervisor looking for a song for their TV show airing in a week or two, playing the waiting game may cost you the deal. Most of these guys are not trying to screw anyone, and of course their job is to negotiate the best deal. They have so little time and for so many artists wanting a shot, you’re better off taking the deal, if you don’t, the next artist on the list most likely will.”

“Concerning the A&R director who wants your song for their new or established artist, they’re not going to pay anything up front. They will ask you to sign a license to use your song. The money there is made on the back end on the publishing – How To Make A (Great) Living Writing Music! Part Two– Learn Your Trade! side of music.”

Michael also recommends you get registered with an organization like BMI, ASCAP or the like so you can collect royalty checks when your song gets airplay or exposure. Many will not even deal with you unless you already have an affiliation with one of these organizations.

TAXI is a very good company with opportunities for anyone serious about a music career. However, check them out for yourself. I was willing to bet my own hard earned cash. I have no regrets today, nor will I on the day I renew my membership.

Read the other articles posted at Rocking Gods House about Taxi…
TAXI – How To Make A (Great) Living Writing Music! Part One – The Introduction!
TAXI – How To Make A (Great) Living Writing Music! Part Two– Learn Your Trade!