Taxi.com - can they really get you signed?
In a recent article on how much TV composers get paid, one reader commented thus (you can read the complete comment on the article page)...
"I have looked at Taxi.com and have the feeling that their pitch sounds like a lot of modeling agencies. I do not have a clue if one could achieve successful results through them."
Actually I do have some experience of Taxi. A few years ago when I was looking for new composers for my production music library, I ran a listing with them. This service is free to labels and publishers, so there wasn't any outlay or risk for me.
I can't remember the wording of the listing, but I would have asked for a sample of music that could potentially be used as background music for TV. Composers were invited to send their demo into Taxi for screening.
The screening process is important. Many people send out demos that are as remote from professional quality as Antarctica is from being a tropical vacation paradise. Industry professionals need these to be 'weeded' out. It may seem harsh, but honestly it's essential.
I don't know how many composers submitted. But eventually I received a large package from Taxi. It contained fifty-seven demo CDs and cassettes that Taxi had felt reached the required standard. Some more came later.
I was astonished at this quantity. It shows how competitive the industry is. Anyway, I sifted through them and picked the composers whose work fitted best with my requirements.
What I can say from this experience is that Taxi.com works. The composers I picked are now earning money from my library. Not a fortune, but I regularly write checks for hundreds of pounds/dollars.
So what can you expect from Taxi?
Well I would imagine that it goes like this...
- You pay Taxi's membership fee, which is $299.95 for a year.
- You read the listings of music required and you see a project that you think you could take on, or perhaps you have something already that might suit.
- You send in your CD together with the submission fee, which if I remember correctly is five dollars.
- Someone at Taxi HQ will listen to it. They will select a small number from all that are submitted and send them on.
- The label or publisher will listen to the CDs sent by Taxi and pick the one that they want. (Note 'the one' - I was in the probably rare situation of seeking multiple composers.)
- The screener gives you brief feedback on the suitability of your music for the listing.
You can see from this that the likelihood is that your work is not going to end up on a record, or in a TV program. You would have to be the best out of a lot of very strong competition - and it is strong.
But this doesn't mean that Taxi isn't worthwhile. On the contrary, even if you spent a whole year sending music in and you didn't see one success, or not even had one song get through screening, then you would learn a massive amount in the process.
I know that Taxi's feedback is brief. And I have heard it said that some people doubt the industry experience of the screeners.
However, having someone listen to your music is a valuable experience in itself. It's easy to record something and put the CD in a cupboard. You never have to question whether it's any good or not. But if you are giving it to someone else to judge professionally, it's a whole different perspective.
And the feedback, whether it is good or not, will help you make your own judgment on how to move forward.
And of course, there is always the chance that your music will hit the mark and lead to success.
So my feeling is that I am in favor of Taxi. I think that if anyone felt they didn't get good value from their subscription and submission fees, it's because they didn't take it seriously enough, and work hard enough at getting through the screening process.
Any comments from Taxi users would be very welcome.