Friday, December 14, 2012

Why your GREAT song didn't get forwarded

'If my song is great, TAXI will forward it.' This has to be one of the biggest misconceptions about TAXI.

Many writers and producers know their song isn't right on for the listing, but they believe the greatness of their song will compensate for the differences in the request.

That is absolutely, 100%, unequivocally WRONG.

That mindset is detrimental to your progress, and it is frustrating for the TAXI staff.

Imagine this scenario:

Lets say you are a general contractor building a home. You've laid the foundation and now it's time for the walls to be constructed. You've got all the 2x4's and 2x6's laid out and ready to go. All you need is the right tool - the nail gun.

So you let your associates know you need the nailer, and they all go running in search of it. Some of them dig through their old tool boxes and find some hammers. Some just grab the first tool they see. Some pick up rocks and know that will work to pound in nails. Some even go to the store intending to get a new nailer, but get side-tracked by the updated and glitzy dremmel and bring that instead.

Then they all bring you their stuff. You start looking at it. You see how some of the people thought the hammer would work. It could, it's just outdated. You know those who just grabbed the first tool they saw did so in haste. The rocks baffle you, but I guess at one time it worked. But the that's curious.

You concede it's a great tool. It could work in so many applications. It's actually the right tool for so many OTHER applications. But just not this one. Not to construct walls. Not for your request.

That's what sending in songs to TAXI is like.

Some material is outdated, some is sent in haste ("shotgunned"), some are rocks, and some are dremmels. And no matter how GREAT your dremmel is, if it's not right for the request, it cannot be used for the job at hand!

When the TAXI listing says, "Uptempo, contemporary URBAN POP songs ala Usher, Chris Brown..." please do not send them a country ballad that sounds like it was recorded in '92. It's just not getting forwarded. Period.

And that makes some people angry. Very angry. But who's fault is it? Really? (Not TAXI's)

Remember, TAXI's bar is high. Very high. They're not going to forward material just to keep a member happy. Or to keep stringing them along. TAXI has no interest in collecting your money without helping you to make money in the music industry.

TAXI wants us to succeed. That's why they have the forums. And the critiques. And TAXI TV. And the Rally. And so much more.

So your song can be great. But if it's not the right fit, they can't forward it. It might be the production, performance, lyric, melody, style, arrangement, vibe, theme, hook, rhyming pattern, form, instrumentation, or more.

That's why it's crucial to read the listings carefully. Write your songs strategically. And submit them purposefully.

Then you will enjoy getting forwards and soon after, signing deals.

You can do it, so get to work!

I don't work for TAXI, but TAXI works for me!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You are TAXI

TAXI Music provides opportunities for writers, producers, artists, and industry executives. In short, TAXI serves both the original song submitter by critiquing, screening, and possibly forwarding the music. TAXI serves the listing company in the same way by only sending along material that can fill the request.

It's at that point that TAXI steps out of the process. Many a TAXI member get zealous and contact the listing company (TAXI often tells its members who/where the forwarded music is going) by googling them and calling/emailing.

TAXI asks its members NOT to do this. But some members ignore TAXI's admonition. Bad idea.

For starters, it's very unprofessional. It's pushy. And frankly, it's just awkward. The calls go something like this:

Zealot: "Umm, hi. Yeah, my song, "When you hear this great tune you'll pass out" was recently forwarded by TAXI to you guys"

Secretary: "ok"

Z: "..ok, so I'm John Hitwriter and I wanted to make sure you guys had all my info."


Z: "And, well, like I was just wondering when you guys were gonna' maybe use that song, because I don't know if you want me to keep pitching it or not?"

Secretary: "Who is this?"

Z: "Like I said, John Hitwriter."

Secretary: "Right, 'Tuan, we'll let you know"

Z: "Umm, it's John. Anyway, do you know when that project is gonna be finalized, cuz I've got other songs that TAXI returned...even better than the one you have that TAXI forwarded.. but I know they're hits because my Uncle's former common-law wife used to be a music teacher and after she heard my music, she said...

Secretary: "Thanks for calling Juan, we'll let you know.."

Z: "It's J-o-h-n, but ok; well I have a second email address. It's 'TheNextDianneWarren@...'

Z: "hello, hello??"


Z: "jerks"

Secretary: (what a jerk)

Trust me, I know how badly you want to make that call. You're (rightfully) excited. On the verge of a deal! I've been there. It's practically all you think about.

But just imagine being that secretary. She's got a job to do, too. Now imagine repeating that conversation multiple times. Do you think her opinion of TAXI goes up? Consequently, do you think her company's opinion of TAXI goes up? Does it make them want to run more or less listings with TAXI?

Therein lies a great truth about TAXI:

Every writer, producer, and artist that gets contacted by the listing company (Label, Publisher, Agency, etc.) is representing TAXI.

Sure, the company knows you're not on staff, but you're an affiliate. What does that mean?

How you carry yourself and handle your business impacts not only Michael Laskow & the TAXI staff, it also affects each TAXI member.

Your professionalism, integrity, and work ethic help define what TAXI is. The quality of your music represents the numerous musicians world wide who submitted to the same opportunity. Your ability to consistently deliver music that meets their requests reflects favorably on you and TAXI.

And because TAXI stakes its reputation on its affiliates (members), the very least we can do in return is represent TAXI well in the industry.

TAXI is what you make it, and what you want it to be. But in the end, the reality of it is this:


I don't work for TAXI, but TAXI works for me!

Monday, December 3, 2012


That one word single-handedly changed my musical career.

It's a concept that took years (literally) to sink in and accept. It's one I still grapple with. But it's also the one that helped to change everything. Let me explain:

Years ago I was in L.A. spending time with a guy who was helping me write better songs. This particular guy has written numerous hits in multiple genres, and he was taking me under his wing. We were "driving" the 409 (a/k/a stuck in bumper to bumper traffic!) and he told me to put on my latest CD. He said, "don't turn it up. Don't touch the EQ. This is how A&R guys are gonna' hear it."

Wow, ok.

So we're driving along and I'm waiting for him to come unglued. I mean, I'm thinking, 'yep - hit after hit,' or something foolish like that! On occasion he nods his head, or tilts it slightly to one side while possibly releasing what could be interpreted as a slight grin; but other than that, nothing.

CD gets done - nothing.


So we head to a taco joint and sit down to eat. And he says....

"Listen, you have diamonds. There's no doubt. Diamonds."

I'm thinking, "OMG, is he really saying this? Ferrarri's, mansions, private jets..."


(Geo's, double-wides, greyhounds...)

"You need to polish them."

Crash, bang, boom. Huh? What? But I thought I had diamonds??!!

He continued, "It's as if you pull a diamond out of the dirt, but never polish it."

Fast forward a few years...

I think I finally get what he was saying! There's the art of songwriting...pulling the song 'out of the ground.' Whether or not is a diamond is not the point here - (BTW, most are NOT!)

But the craft of writing is the polishing process. It's removing the impurities. It's making it shine! 

How does that translate to writing?
- Analyze the lyric. Does your story make sense? Are all the tenses correct? Is there tension that the chorus resolves? Does each line stand on its own? Does each line push to the hook? Is the hook original (google it)?  You get the idea.

 - Analyze the melody. Is is current? Is it fresh and original? Is it memorable? Is it easy? Does it fit the mood of the lyric? Does it fit the the mood of the music?  Is it consistent?

Analyze the music. Repeat aforementioned analysis.

Polishing is tweaking. Polishing is also re-writing. Polishing is refining. 

Polishing is GOOD!  

Some of you may be wondering, "I get the polish concept, but HOW do I pull out diamonds?'

- Learn how to dig!
- Get the right tools! (TAXI provides an extensive list of diamond mining materials)
- Put yourself in the right spot! You don't just dig anywhere!
- Start digging.
- Keep digging.
- Find others who will help you dig and dig together.

TAXI helps you with each step pf this journey.  If you're just beginning, they will guide you and teach you to become better (if you're willing to learn.) If you're established, TAXI will refine your skill set and develop your ability to regularly write good songs. Even if you're already a great writer, TAXI will make you better!

If our goal is to write songs that make it in the commercial market, songs that speak to the masses and connect with them emotionally; then we must embrace the polish.

I don't work for TAXI, but TAXI works for me!

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