TAXI A&R is a service that helps musicians shop their music to libraries and record labels in hopes of getting some kind of deal.
Back in the day, it seems like the primary purpose was to help people get record deals. As the industry shifted, and record deals seemed less and less appealing to regular musicians, the focus has shifted more toward licensing type deals. That is, getting music placed in movies and TV shows, etc.
But being that the music industry as a whole is chock-full of shady characters who exist solely to separate working musicians from their money with the promise of fame, fortune and whatever else musicians pine for, TAXI often gets lumped in with these people.
A quick Google search for “Taxi Music Scam” brings back 4,950,000 results. Most of us musicians have had our money taken by someone sometime along the way, and anything that sounds too good is going to draw our skepticism.
But I’m going to tell you why I think TAXI is the real deal.
But first, two disclaimers:
- I am a member of TAXI. I have been for a couple of years. I’ve been to a Road Rally (their annual convention) and worked with other TAXI members.
- I haven’t made any money with TAXI. Embarrassing? Sure, but I want you to know that my opinion is not colored by my outrageous level of success. In fact, I haven’t had any success to speak of. The most I can lay claim to is having a co-written tune accepted to a major library (thanks to the help of a writer with much better connections!)
So, without further ado here are the reasons I think TAXI is worth your consideration…
1) The founder, Michael Laskow, puts himself out there every week.
Just about every single week, you can tune into TAXI TV live on Ustream. I’ve watched quite a few of those episodes and they often have amazing information and guests. And further, the guy who runs the whole deal hosts every time. He doesn’t hide out in some giant corporate headquarters, counting his money. No, he’s there on camera talking about stuff that is important to musicians.
He’s also involved in other events for songwriters like the Hawaii Songwriting Festival. He’s out there in the world, interacting with regular songwriters.
These are not things that scammers do. They would not be likely to show their face on camera, or get out amongst the people they were scamming. Not for this long anyway.
Which leads me to point #2…
2) TAXI has been around for quite a while now.
According to Wikipedia (source of all accurate info in the universe), TAXI was founded in 1992.
So they’re going on 25 years now. Other than the government, how many other organizations that are pure scams are still in existence? How many of them have a sole founder who is still out in the public eye all the time?
Not many (if at all).
Now, longevity certainly doesn’t mean that an organization is perfect, but I can believe it means they are actually providing a service (except for the government).
This longevity is due in part to reason #3…
3) TAXI has changed as the industry has shifted.
I mentioned this in the intro, but TAXI has shifted their focus as the industry changed. Going from record deals to licensing deals. Laskow also regularly advises members on how to best focus their efforts in order to meet their goals.
For example, he admits that while singer/songwriter tunes with lyrics do get placements, that’s much more difficult and a much smaller market than the market for instrumental cues.
I don’t like this advice all the time, but it’s hard to argue that it’s true.
So they don’t sell the fantasy that they’ll help you make millions with your crappy, amateur love song.
Which leads me to point #4…
4) TAXI doesn’t just sell “the dream”.
Now don’t get me wrong. In a way, they do sell the dream. The dream of being able to make a living with music.
They don’t try to misrepresent it as something it’s not. They don’t just trot out the one guy in 25 years who wrote a song, got a record deal and became a superstar (I don’t even know if that guy exists). That’s not what it’s about.
They sell you on the idea of a 5 YEAR PLAN! Not overnight success. At no point do they promise you that it will be easy.
They trot out guys who are making six figures a year because they have THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of pieces of music out there in the world, each making just a little bit of money on their own but cumulatively earning the writer a living.
Which leads me to point #5…
5) They have lots of legitimately successful members.
Classic example of persuasion with social proof, I know, but it’s true.
I have personally written songs with a guy here in my area that has had placements in an international ad, as well as several TV shows on major networks.
And of course they have the guys I mentioned above who make their living entirely from music placements on TV, movies, etc.
Of course these guys all have built relationships with libraries now, but you’ll find that in many cases TAXI was a springboard for them to get started.
And these members are usually not at all shy about helping bring other along, like in point #6…
6) They have a free convention every year where they actively try to help you succeed.
Free for members anyway, but members also get to bring a guest for free.
I went to this in 2105, it was great. It was motivating, inspiring and the teaching and information was top notch.
And it’s different every year, because they are trying to be sure they give attendees the info necessary to succeed.
From high-profile members to the people screening and critiquing your songs, you get it all. For free.
So there are 6 reasons I believe that TAXI is the real deal. And this is coming from a member with no placements, just someone working on being better.
So take this for whatever it’s worth to you. Is TAXI for everyone? Certainly not.
If you already know how to get your music licensed or have contacts at libraries, maybe you don’t need the help. But if you’re a musician looking for another potential stream of income AND you’re willing to work for it, check them out. It may give you leg up that you need.
I’ll be renewing my membership when it comes up in the next few months, and looking to work harder to do better.
So what about you? Have you tried TAXI? Loved it? Hated it?
Share your story in the comments below. Thanks for reading!