After I finished writing my article about how to get your music licensed I realized that I forgot to mention another service that helps artists get licensing deals for their music. The service is called Taxi, and the reason I forgot to mention it was because I was a member of Taxi for two years and never got a single placement through them. Even though my experience with Taxi was unfruitful, I’d like to review what they offer and how they operate.
What is Taxi?
Taxi is a service that connects artists (composers, bands, songwriters, etc) and the industry (record labels, publishers, music supervisors, etc). Last I read, Taxi has about 11,000 members. To be a member one has to pay $300 for the first year and $200 each year after that.
Members get access to a pool of opportunities in the form of a newsletter that is released twice a month. The opportunities range from record labels who are looking to sign new artists, to publishers who are looking to add more music to their catalog, and much more. Members can submit their music to any opportunity. It costs $5 per song to apply and most opportunities suggest applying with 2-3 songs.
How Does Taxi Work?
Taxi has a team of experts who screen all of the submissions for each opportunity. They listen to every song and write a report about it. They rate the main aspects of the music, such as, musicianship, lyrics, marketability, production, and more. They determine if a submission is on target or not and they write a few lines of their personal review. And finally they decide whether or not to forward the submission to the “Industry”. The artist receives a notification about the status of his submission and access to view the report.
For example, Jesse McCartney needs new material for his upcoming record. His manager will contact Taxi to place an ad, something like this: “Young male artist is looking for the next hot pop song”. Taxi will review hundreds of submissions and will forward only the best of them back to Jesse’s manager. (Apparently, two Taxi members actually scored a publishing deal with Jesse McCartney as a result of their Taxi submissions).
A Taxi That Goes Nowhere
On the surface, Taxi’s service sounds great. One can live in the middle of nowhere, submit his/her music and score deals with major players in the music industry. However, the truth is quite different. There are major flaws in the model which Taxi offers to its members.
The biggest flaw is the fact that once the guys at Taxi finish reviewing the material and forward their submissions, their job is done. There is a very good chance that at this point your song is collecting dust on the table of a busy music industry professional who either forgot about it, or simply is too busy to go through all of the material he received. If there’s one thing I learned about this business it is the importance of following up. It’s almost standard in the industry to ignore someone until the third time you hear from him. Maybe it’s a proven way to see how determined the person is about pushing his music forward. Without follow up many opportunities will be lost.
Also, Taxi does not show details about who posted an opportunity. As a member, you can only hope that the opportunity is a legit one, worth your $10-$15 submission fee, but you have no way to verify if it is.
Further, Taxi doesn’t specialize in a particular area of the industry; it offers a wide range of opportunities, but it doesn’t have many opportunities in each area. So for example, if you are an orchestral composer don’t expect to find more than 2-3 opportunities per month that your music will be a good fit for.
The licensing business usually operates on a last minute model. We need music and we need it right now! I get an average of 5-10 opportunities a week for licensing through my personal connections. As I mentioned earlier, the opportunities on Taxi are updated only twice a month and it takes a long time for Taxi to process all of the submissions. While Taxi places pressure on you to get your music in right away, it’s been my experience that it can take months from the time an opportunity is posted on Taxi until the submissions reach the hands of an industry professional.
My Ride With Taxi
I was a Taxi member for 2 years. Which means I spent $500 just in membership fees. I submitted 79 songs at $5 a piece, $395 total. My total spending was $895. 32 of my songs were forwarded, which is 40%. What did I get in return? Nothing. I haven’t gotten any work through Taxi.
You may assume that my music is just not good enough. But at the same period of time I was making a living writing and producing music for TV, film, and commercials through connections I made on my own. To see examples, visit my website, www.yotamrosenbaum.com.
My final conclusion is that Taxi might work for some people but I have a strong feeling that the percentage of people who make a positive return of their investment with Taxi is very small. This tiny percentage is very well advertised by Taxi and makes their service look very appealing. Unfortunately, I really can’t recommend using them.
EVP of Music, earbits.com