Who Else Does Taxi?

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  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    Anyone else out there pursuing professional music and using Taxi as a way to place your music?

    I've been involved with Taxi actively since 2012 and it's been quite awesome for me on a professional level. (Even though I am a full-time teacher, husband, and dad).

    Taxi, in many ways, felt like FAWM in the community aspect. Lots of cool people willing to help, offer feedback, and commiserate.


    I made a video last summer about my love of both Taxi and FAWM.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHRB7...

    FAWM is for sure, FOR EVERYONE (or like, it's made to be for everyone).
    Taxi is NOT for everyone, but if you are wanting to pursue music more professionally, it's an amazing education source. Costs about the same as taking 5-7 units at a community college. (approx $200 a year).

  • @spunky4455 Feb 26

    That's interesting. I hear both pros and cons. I have been considering joining NSAI. They are recognized by ASCAP and the people I spoke to on the phone there seem professional and knowledgeable. I look forward to hearing the other comments on this topic.

  • @tesla3090  Feb 26

    I signed up for a year, but wasn't very happy with the posting variety. It seemed like the majority of opportunities were for singer-songwriter or rock music. There was almost no calls for electronic music.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 26

    way way back in about 2000-ish? (well before there even was a fawm) I was a member of TAXI for one year- in retrospect, I probably wasn't "ready" for it- and never got a 'forward' and very little meaningful feedback. the little bit of feedback I did get did seem to indicate to me that my approach was so 'non-commercial' that it just wasn't going to be successful for anything they were looking for- that being said, I think I'm a much better writer now then I was back then. That being said, i don't know whether i'm still too 'quirky' for that kind of stuff... curious SWG, how many 'forwards' you've had , etc>?

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    @mikeskliar Quite a few forwards. Also an equal number of NOT forwards. πŸ˜€

    That said, my FIRST experience with Taxi was very similar to yours: I tried to take my existing recordings and pitch them and they never seem to go anywhere.

    It wasn't until years and year later I joined up again and decided to do the whole "write to the listing" thing that I finally started to get some forwards.

    Now, through Taxi and the people I've met at the Rally and in the forums, I have music in many music libraries all over the world. And I really believe that FAWM prepared me for that. Writing a lot of different styles and quickly was one of the keys to pulling it off.

    I honestly don't submit directly to Taxi much anymore, but I DO still submit to several libraries that I have a good relationship with BECAUSE of Taxi. So, Taxi and FAWM for the win. πŸ˜€

    It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but I love 'em both.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    @tesla3090 Boy, I'll tell you what, they want SO MUCH MORE EDM now that it's crazy. I wish I could do it better. You should just go the website and look at the listings and see if there are enough on the site to justify joining. I realize the joining price is steep, but if you go to the rally in LA during November, it's WELL worth the price, imho. Just for meeting lots of other composers.

  • @mikeskliar  Feb 26

    @stevenwesleyguiles thanks--- and yeah, FAWM has made us all such better songwriters, and so much more responsive to 'write to the prompt' that it'd be interesting to see what would happen now with it. In terms of having music in music libraries, I imagine they want 'real' production, and my not so great equipment and production skills might not be up to that task, but its interesting to think about, and it'd be nice to actually have some music out there in 'the world' ! πŸ˜€

  • @cactusjoe Feb 26

    broadjam is good too, for licensing placements...their specialty. more personable and human than taxi, imho. still need the quality goods though.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    May have already been mentioned but Taxi is looking for top-notch writing AND top-notch production. You won't get very far against the amazing talent there unless you are able to produce at the highest levels. Last time I checked there were people writing awesome songs and then investing big bucks to have them performed and produced professionally.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 26

    It was TAXI put the professional polish on me. What @johnstaples just said re the AND. I got a reasonable number of forwards, though nothing landed, and eventually sank back into the ranks of non-actives (still there but not submitting) because opera took over my life, I'm hugely grateful to the TAXI screenrs for the pains they took with my education, and the wonderful top guns who selflessly help via the forums. But people, it's a serious ego bruise to begin with, because talent and technical ability and inventiveness is not enough! You need the highest quality production too. And TAXI screeners are great tutors in that, too. But if you let your edginess be knocked off (ouch) and learn your craft, it's the best postgraduate school I ever met.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    @timfatchen Yeah. For sure you have to be willing to have your ego slapped around...a LOT. But I felt like FAWM prepared me for some of that by not caring so much and writing MORE music if the original music didn't work out.

    @johnstaples For sure they ARE looking for top notch stuff, BUT, I have seen people at ALL levels of skill (and in many different genres) find success* on some level. *Definitions of success vary from user to user. πŸ˜€

    I found quite a bit of success collaborating. And THAT I really learned here on FAWM first.

    @cactusjoe I found that after going to the Road Rally in November, Taxi felt like all kinds of personable real humans to me. Because I got to interact with so many different people. It really was encouraging. And the CLASSES. @johnstaples I learned a lot in the classes they offered and on Taxi TV (which is free for anyone to watch). Lots of great advice and over a period of several years I really started to figure out what "Broadcast Quality" mean

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    I am a TAXI member, and I can honestly say it is the best music 'education' I could have had. And you can get a lot of that for free, via Taxi TV and the forums (taxiforums.com I think).

    Yes I have had forwards, and yes I have had deals. But most of all they have mean't I met many amazing cowriters and music library owners etc, who have furthered my career as a lyricist. People such as @stevenwesleyguiles πŸ˜€

  • @helenseviltwin  Feb 26

    I signed up recently. I'm still debating whether this was a little foolish or not. I fully intended to write to spec, but so far, have only put in a few songs which I already had recorded. I think, if I'm honest, I'm a little scared of failing utterly. I know that it's very unlikely that I will get placements quickly, if at all, but I really need to knuckle down and do stuff and prepare for rejection if I'm ever to get anywhere at all.

    I think I need to write for the ones that offer proper feedback, rather than just the yes/no basis, and see what that brings, but, yeah, also need to engage in taxi tv and in the forums more to get into it.

  • @julesbf Feb 26

    Great video @stevenwesleyguiles thank you, I will take a look at taxi

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    @helenseviltwin Yeah. My already recorded songs got mostly rejected too. 😞

    It was very disappointing at the time. I also had to do a little process of still creating things just for the sake of it. Just pure art. But then I also created music for listings. And I've also found a way to do BOTH art and commercial and feel good about what I'm doing.

    And honestly, I'm not making tons of money. It's more money that supports my music habit, allows me to run my studio, and enables me to put a little aside for a rainy day.

    But I can totally trace my royalty increases from when I joined Taxi. It's a marathon. There's definitely NO quick way to "success". And again, it depends what you define success as in this case.

    For me, I was very excited when my first song got placed AND I got paid. And, a lot of times the payment happens half a year to a year later. So, it really is a marathon. As long as I adjusted my expectations, it was much more fun and not disappointing.

    And

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 26

    LOL. Got cut off.
    All to say...Taxi and the PEOPLE (the members) have taught me so many things about music licensing and the "business" side of things.
    It really has been a great learning experience.

  • @helenseviltwin  Feb 26

    @stevenwesleyguiles - yeah, I figured writing to spec would be more successful. My current plan is to write a whole load of two minute instrumentals, partly to have a bit of a library for when listings come up (there seem to be a lot of similar ones) and partly so that they come to me more easily. It's interesting and useful seeing someone else's experience.

    I'm not intending music to be something that I make a full living out of, so much as one of many things that I can make pocket money from which, along with saving while I'm earning a full time wage, will allow me to do less of my day job in future.

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    @stevenwesleyguiles are you saying rough demos have a shot at getting all the way through the process to where the money is? My understanding is it goes fast and furious with only songs that are quite well produced making it through the process.

    I'm not talking about education or experience or networking, all of which have value (even if sometimes it is intangible.) I'm talking about submissions that get reviewed and forwarded as-is that are then accepted resulting in a real financial transaction that can be used to pay bills! πŸ˜€

    My understanding is Taxi doesn't forward songs with unrealized potential. Am I wrong? I would think that if 10 songs are submitted for an opportunity and they are all pretty close to the mark but one is lo-fi it would be culled almost immediately. Maybe you are saying there are genres where there is not a lot of competition? Or the competition is also lo-fi?

  • @coffeeinthesink  Feb 26

    I'm really glad I came across this thread (and FAWM for that matter!). I've just recently considered joining Taxi after learning about them a lot of years ago. FAWM has given me the idea that I'm actually capable of putting a song together in a few days. I'm in the middle of a solo project but I don't see why I couldn't put something together for listings throughout the year. Really enjoyed your video @stevenwesleyguiles regarding being an artist who also submits for placement opportunities.

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    @johnstaples and @helenseviltwin
    Steven (@stevenwesleyguiles ) and I write a LOT for Taxi and libraries in general. You can hear some of the songs on our FAWM pages. They are ALL are recorded and produced in Steven's home studio (apart from one which a third cowriter produced/mixed), and are all of broadcast quality. You can achieve broadcast quality suitable for tv and film/other media use, with a home studio set up, if you learn your craft, and use the forums to get feedback on the production from the more successful members.
    Radio hits are another step up the ladder (usually) .

    We both still create art - all the Future Kings Of Denmark songs are art. I wrote all of the lyrics as art, and then crafted them to improve them, as we all do. Steven is the same. The thing is, once you have written to spec so many times, written and learnt about universal lyrics so many times, you will find that your art and your craft eventually combine, so you can write 'artisically', and at the

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    part 2
    and at the same time create songs suitable to tv etc, which are universal lyric wise and production wise.

    And yes, Taxi will only forward songs or instrumentals that are of broadcast quality. 'Rough' demos won't get forwarded. Having said that, there are a few listings now and then for artist pitches which state that acoustic demos are fine, as long as they are really good and the song is brilliant ! But that isn't very often.

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    By the way, more often than not, if you want a song to be used loads on tv, not only does it need universal lyrics, but the production and structure are often different too. No massive loud chorus, no big cymbal bashes, nothing that would take the viewers attention away from the scene etc πŸ˜€

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    @ajna1960 thanks for sharing your thoughts! You are confirming what I have observed listening to songs in the Taxi forums. There were plenty of songs rejected that were incredible both in writing and production! If you are considering Taxi you should understand that, without excellent productions your benefit is mainly going to be educational and networking because rough productions will not be forwarded. My advice would be to go check out lots of songs on the Taxi forums including those that were NOT forwarded to get an idea of the level of quality required.

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    @johnstaples exactly πŸ˜€

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    I hope some day soon to have some serious time to dedicate to writing and production and when that day comes I'll likely give Taxi a try! I have had some minor success in writing and producing instrumental tracks for royalty-free sites but the competition is fierce there as well!

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    @ajna1960 just a few minutes ago I sold this one http://reccentric.com/JohnStaplesMusi... to a Public Broadcasting Station in Knoxville, Tennessee! But because it is licensed as a royalty-free track they can use it as much as they wish and I only make $10 on the license!! I would love to explore some day whether Taxi could help me get better deals on this type of instrumental track!

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    @johnstaples $10 is ok depending on how much it will be used and how many people will hear it and so on. For instance, on Spotify I think it's about 0.004 per full 30 second stream ? Or something similar. So equate 1 stream = 1 person listening to that track on the radio. That's a hell of a lot of streams to make $10.
    Another aspect: say 10 seconds of an instrumental is used on a reality tv show on a low level cable tv channel.. not a major channel or anything. There are rarely up front payments, and the ensuing royalties are tiny for each time it airs, as in 10 cents for example (some a lot more some less - all depends on channel and use etc). I've had 1c royalties from some uses lol
    The way the most successful in the business of tv music earn big money, is through having a huge number of tracks out there in libraries working for them. The pennies add up as they say πŸ˜€
    Of course every now and then there are placements on major networks, which may have a decent sync

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    Also @johnstaples there are other avenues to do alongside TAXI. I am always happy to voice chat if I can help, anytime.

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    arrgghh it cut me off grrr
    I was saying that the really high paying deals are not the bread and butter of composers etc in this business, but the multitude of small deals that all add up over time πŸ˜€

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    Many eggs in many different baskets, and being careful where you sell πŸ˜€

  • @johnstaples  Feb 26

    Thanks @ajna1960 ! I guess my $10 is not so bad and this will be used in a fairly small market. I get paid up front every time someone purchases a license and it varies from $10-$152 depending on the use (and more often than not it is the $10 use!) And I currently only have 26 tracks offered for license.

    In these royalty-free markets there are dozens of authors who make 6 and even 7 figure yearly incomes but 1) they are top-notch and 2) they got in on the ground floor! But most folks are making a lot less of course!

  • @ajna1960  Feb 26

    @johnstaples they also have a lot more than 26 tracks on offer I bet !
    I am also a Songtradr pro member - they are an excellent, relatively new company. I have managed to garner 52 blanket licenses in the last 6 months. I too don't have many songs listed there as yet.
    I haven't tried the RF sites as of yet.

  • @rustyp  Feb 26

    I'm glad to have stumbled on to this thread.
    I have looked a little at Taxi, but didn't think my songwriting was good enouh. FAWM has helped me out a lot.
    I do want to give this commercial songwriting thing a chance so I'm reading with great interest,.

  • @krayzie003  Feb 27

    I just started working on writing for licensing in January. I still have a lot of work to do and don't feel like joining TAXI is worth my money at the moment, but I will probably join some day. I think the road rally spunds very interesting and if I could ever find the time and money to go to California I would be interested in going to it.

    I have started watching the TAXI TV episodes and I find them very informative. I probably need to join the TAXI forum and see what is going on there as well.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 27

    Hey @johnstaples. I wasn't ignoring you. Busy day. πŸ˜€
    I think @ajna1960 said it all. You're right, the majority of stuff you submit to Taxi needs to be high quality or it just is going to get buried in the tidal wave of other great sounding stuff.

    THAT SAID - you can start small (and @helenseviltwin was mentioning this) and do short 2 minute instrumentals (that's the typical length needed).

    The instrumentals are used a lot in reality tv and a majority of placements and you really only need to create a song that has an A section and a B section. Sometimes not even that. Sometimes you just need one piece that keeps the same mood and builds.

    Most companies want to feel a build happening in the arrangement so that it hits it's biggest point at the end.

    Like sex. πŸ˜€

  • @jcooper  Feb 27

    Interesting thread. Thanks. @ajna1960 i have also been actively submitting on songtradr for the last year. I have had quite a few of the β€œmusic wanted” submitted for final selection. Have had 28 accepted for the various deals they offer but have yet to see any $ in my account. Has anybody else has success on songtradr?

  • @johnstaples  Feb 27

    @stevenwesleyguiles, yeah the instrumental tracks I sell on RF sites are almost always just a tad over 2 minutes (because that tends to be a price break point where I get more $!) BUT, those 2 minutes must be absolute top-quality in writing and production. The RF sites that actually provide sales have an extremely high bar for quality! You must either be a pro, become one or hire one to realize any success in the RF markets. And the point I was making earlier is that the same applies to Taxi. If you are not producing broadcast-quality or better tracks you need to know Taxi will not help you sell any of them! They may provide a framework within which you can learn, network, grow, etc. But you are still gonna need to have a writing and production game to see any cash!

  • @cowex  Feb 27

    Thanks for discussing this. TAXI has always been a curiosity to me, though I don't think I'm ready for it. I always saw it as a $300 black box experience - I didn't realize that you can actually look at listings and forums to get a taste before jumping in. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • @vikkiflawith Feb 27

    😁 I'm a member of TAXI and absolutely credit "TAXI U" and the incredible community for taking me from someone who wrote 6-minute long meandering folk songs to 2-minute instrumental cues that got forwarded, signed and placed. Over the years I've been doing FAWM and 50-90 several of the tracks that I have done for the challenges have been signed, either through TAXI forwards, or to libraries I have a relationship with because of TAXI forwards or collabs with TAXI members. It was a long haul for me because I knew zero about producing or mixing when I started. The thing TAXI is, you don't have to pay a cent, you can watch TAXI TV - they tell you exactly what to do and answer so many questions - for free, the TAXI forum is there for free... join it and read, listen, ask questions. If you know a member of TAXI you might even be able to ask them for their guest ticket for the Rally and just pay for your trip & hotel room. It's the Rally that shows you how earnest TAXI is.

  • @vikkiflawith Feb 27

    There's so much you can learn without spending a penny.

    And, don't think you have to choose between 'the market' and 'being creative'. The brief is a challenge to your creativity, 'be yourself in this frame'. But if that still feels 'less creative' to you, you write some stuff for yourself and some stuff for the market.

  • @helenseviltwin  Feb 27

    @ajna1960 - that's an interesting point, which should have been obvious, but that I completely failed to think of, that it's kind of a long game where you're going to get trickles of money, increasing as you have more music in libraries. Thanks to you and @stevenwesleyguiles for some excellent advice. Honestly, I suspect I'm not ready for taxi, but I already paid the fee, so going to try to put aside some time to make the best of it.

  • @rustyp  Feb 27

    Hey folks,
    All the talk of production makes me wonder if I'm even close.
    @ajna1960
    @stevenwesleyguilesΒ 
    @jcooperΒ 

    Could you good folks please check out one or more of these songs and either here, or on my soundboard let me know if I'm even near the mark as far as production level or lyrics goes?

    I recognize there are some issues, but ..... considering these are quick work, am I fooling myself? πŸ˜€

    Thanks! πŸ˜€

    http://fawm.org/songs/87227/

    http://fawm.org/songs/80161/

    http://fawm.org/songs/83032/

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  Feb 27

    @rustyp

    Let me challenge you to do something that we do at Taxi: we have what's called an "ALA". I forget what it stands for, but when I say "ala" I am referring to the artists that are similar or even the SONG that you are trying to write in the style of.

    I know this can go against everyone's artistic sensibility, but I think it's essential in growing in the production world. I almost ALWAYS listen to a track I'm aiming for sonically.

    Now, "Here To Stay" is GOLD to my ears. Great feel. Great instrumentation. The whistle part is great too. Love the handclaps and the fact that you just have captured a mood in your song. So, I think for sure instrumentally you could add a few elements to build it up (glockenspiel or other percussion or simple piano) and you'd have a cue that you could send to a music library.

    In Taxi they talk a lot about our "wheelhouse": the area we feel most comfortable and capable. This sounds like your wheelhouse. πŸ˜€

  • @rustyp  Feb 28

    Hey @stevenwesleyguiles Thanks so much for your response.

    Thanks for the challenge. I'll certainly do that. Yes,we chafe at sounding like the rest, but there are so many big artists that people like so why not capitalize a little on that. πŸ˜€
    I have one more song to write so my task is set πŸ˜€

    Also, thanks for your kind comments on "Here to stay." It was fun to write and produce. Not my favorite type of music necessarily, but I felt realy god about it. πŸ˜€

  • @ajna1960  Feb 28

    @rustyp
    I really don't think you are fooling yourself at all. You have all the basics in place, and as @stevenwesleyguiles said, it just needs a few tweeks to make things contemporary and so on.
    I'm more of a lyrics person, more than production, but I do agree with Steven's comments in that area. Listening to LOTS of contemporary music in your genre is essential. Decide on your genre, and then use the appropriate instrumentation πŸ˜€
    Re lyrics
    Love the themes etc. If you want to aim for tv&film etc, you could bring in more emotion, as tv music is simply only used to enhance the emotions that the viewer is feeling. It's not a story, but an emotional ride, so to speak.
    I'd be more than happy to chat in more detail about the lyrics with you. You can either find me on facebook (Amanda West - and I live in Ireland), or email me (email addy on my profile).
    So yes, you are defo not fooling yourself.

  • @sbs2018 Feb 28

    I’ve been peeking in for some time but after my first FAWM, I decided to move forward with joining TAXI today instead of renewing NSAI.

  • @chrishope  Mar 24

    @sbs2018 ..3 week Taxi member update?? ..please

  • @pcob1993  Mar 26

    Wow guys and gals, thank you so much for this info. (And I thought taxi was something New Yorkers shouted in heavy rain, before I discovered Smirnoff). I'll defo look into this end of the music... how exciting.
    May Fawmers rock and roll forever...
    😍πŸ’₯πŸ₯ŠπŸŽΉπŸ‘€

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