Posts Tagged ‘song writing’
Record labels, music publishers, production music libraries and music supervisors haven’t traditionally accepted music submissions directly from songwriters, artists and composers. Unsolicited music was unfiltered, often a waste of their time, and rarely targeted to fit their needs.
TAXI changed all that starting in 1992. It was the first company of its kind – a true game-changer for independent musicians – TAXI has been the industry leader ever since.
I just got off the phone with a Film and TV composer from Dallas, Texas who inspired me to write this. He said, “I’ve been to your website and the websites of three other companies that look like they do the same thing and I don’t see any huge differences.” Maybe I’m not doing a great job of communicating exactly how TAXI is different and better than our competitors.
Immediately after finishing the phone call with the composer, I went to TAXI.com and confirmed that he was absolutely right! Our Website doesn’t do a great job of telling you why TAXI is better and different. Blogging about those differences seems like the quickest way to get the word out. Here goes!
- TAXI offers a Money-Back Guarantee.
None of the other companies have a guarantee at ALL!
- TAXI gives you TWO FREE tickets to a Best-In-Class convention for songwriters, artists and Film & TV composers.
None of the other companies do.
- TAXI guarantees that every song you submit will be heard by a TRUE industry professional specializing in the genre of music you submit.
None of the other companies do.
- TAXI gives you detailed feedback on your music from heavy-duty music industry professionals.
Other companies do not.
- TAXI only presents you with opportunities to submit your music to top shelf, pre-qualified companies.
Other companies do not. In fact, some of the other companies split your submission fees with the company or individual running the “listing.” That could encourage them to run a “listing” just to make money from their cut of the submission fees, whether or not they actually need the music.
- TAXI has multi-decade long relationships with executives from nearly every Major Record Label, Top Music Publishers, and hundreds of Film and TV Music Supervisors and publishers who specialize in Film and TV music.
None of the other companies can say that.
- TAXI has successfully helped thousands of songwriters, artists and composers get record deals, publishing deals and Film and TV music placements since 1992.
None of the other companies can say that.
- TAXI fosters transparency by providing its members and the general public with a public forum where they can post unedited comments. We’re not afraid of the truth!
None of our competitors have a public forum. Some had them, but took them down.
- TAXI is a member in good standing with the Better Business Bureau and we’ve enjoyed an Excellent rating during our entire tenure.
None of the other companies can say that.
But let’s talk about you and your situation. If you’ve got the time and the know-how, you can often submit music to the music industry yourself.
Ten Steps to Submit Your Music to Record Companies,
Publishers and Music Supervisors.
- Identify the type of artist or songwriter you are; Rock, Pop, Country, Singer-Songwriter, Urban, etc.
- Research which companies typically sign artists or use songs in the genre you fall under.
- Identify the person (s) at the company who signs the type of artist you are or uses the genre of songs you write. Don’t waste your time pitching your material to people or companies who are not in your genre. They have no use for your music, and even if they love it, they’re not the right people for you if they don’t work with your genre.
- Find the phone number or email addresses for the people you’d like to pitch your music to. Organize a database or spreadsheet with all the contact info for the record labels, publishers and music supervisors by category. Systematically cold call or email them and request permission to submit music to them.
- When submitting your music to them, make sure to be brief and concise. They’ll be more likely to listen if you’re direct, to the point and give an accurate description of your style when you submit your music.
- Don’t just make one submission of your music and wait to hear back before you make more. Keep identifying new targets and systematically submit music every day of the week. The faster you submit your music, the more likely it is that you’ll make that one submission that gets somebody in the music industry excited.
- If Country is your genre, don’t submit your music to New York or LA record labels or publishers. If you are a Film composer, chances are you’ll do best by submitting your tracks in LA and maybe New York. In other words, use common sense when making your music submissions. It will save you lots of money and get a better result.
- Be very patient and accept reality! Most people will not give you permission to submit music to them. Most music industry executives are not sitting at their desk anxiously awaiting your submission. What is crucially important to you is just another person submitting music to them.
- Don’t pester them once you’ve submitted your music. You’ll only make them hate you. If they love your music, they’ll contact you. If they don’t love the music you submitted, you will probably never hear from them. They’ve got better things to do than tell you why they didn’t love your music and what you can do to make it better. If you do get a chance to ask them why they didn’t like it and what you can do to improve, they’re likely to refer you to TAXI.
- Write more songs and record more music. Getting a record, publishing or Film/TV placement isn’t typically a one shot effort. Most industry pros would tell you that it took them YEARS of doing exactly what I’ve spelled out in steps one through nine. Don’t give up to quickly. It’s almost always the person who hangs in the longest that gets the reward!
Real songwriters write songs. They write them as often as they can. They know that most will not make the grade, but they keep writing.
Because songwriting is a craft and like other crafts, it has to be practiced to be perfected. Could you expect to become a great golfer, painter, potter, novelist or pianist if you didn’t practice every day? You know the answer.
Some songwriters tend to wait for the muse. REAL songwriters write every day, knowing that the constant search for better, fresher, and more original ways to say, “I love you,” will only come to them if they throw away ninety-nine bad attempts and keep the best of the bunch.
This is all common sense stuff, but it needs to be repeated so it sticks. It’s easy to stray from your mission of becoming a great writer of songs. It’s hard to stick with something that doesn’t pay immediate dividends. But you’ll never see ANY dividends if you don’t stick with it!
So…. what can you do to stay motivated and on course?
1) Write at targets. Pick a current artist that you like and write a song for them. Nail their style and try to pick a subject you can imagine they’d sing about.
2) Write a hook a day. Pick a subject and just write the hook. Do it again tomorrow. Songwriters often get bogged down in the minutia of trying to finish a song. So DON’T try to finish every song! The hook is the most important part, so concentrate on writing a hook every day and nothing more. If you do it often enough, you’ll probably write a few hooks that will be great and THAT should motivate you plenty!
3) Keep a notebook of ideas. Concentrate on ideas that are universal — things that apply to most people. They don’t really care much about your life, but they care a LOT about theirs. Write about their lives. What’s going on in your friends’ lives? Write about it in the third person. Tell their story as simply but powerfully as you can. Listen to any of Don Henley’s lyrics to see how one of the true masters does it.
4) Use “Word Pictures.” Your song’s subject doesn’t just enter a house. She glides into a cold and empty house. He doesn’t just see a tractor. He sees a rusty red tractor in an overgrown field. Does it have a taste or smell? Use your senses and ask the listener to use theirs. The rusty red tractor smells like diesel fumes. The sun bleached wheat hisses as it sways.
5) At the end of each week of writing just hooks, go back and edit them to make them shorter and more concise. “I love the little town where I grew up,” becomes “This is my town.”
Don’t set goals that are so lofty that nobody could achieve them. Bite off a little bit at a time, and as you master each of them, move onto another. Once you’ve mastered a couple, tie them together and watch the smile grown on your face.
If you’re a true songwriter, then go write some songs. Just don’t repeat the same steps that have caused you to be stuck in neutral. Break from your bad habits!
Want to read a great songwriting book? Here you go: Read the reviews here.
Go write a song!
Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Every year, our members who come to the Road Rally, stop me and tell me how stoked they are that they came. They can’t wait to get home and use all the new songwriting and production tips and techniques they learned at the convention.
Their heads seem as if they are about to explode! It’s incredible to feel their energy. But I often wonder how many of them can sustain that level of energy and commitment once they get home.
For some I would bet that it wears off a week or two after the Rally. For others, it must last for a few months. But the members who amaze me, are the small percentage that make the commitment, make a plan, and stick with it for an entire year.
Those are always the people who start getting deals and begin to build their careers in music. I see them year after year, and I wish I could bottle whatever it is that makes them go home and stick with it. What makes them succeed, where others fall short?
I think that lasting change is brought about by emotion, because we require emotion to stay motivated. A soldier charging into a hail of gunfire to save his buddies is pumped by emotion and adrenaline. But that’s momentary – a transient effect. How can you keep that up for a long period of time?
Practice, practice, practice…
If you keep practicing, there is no question that you will get better. As you get better, the incremental improvements will motivate you to keep practicing. You practice more and more, and you get better and better! It becomes a virtuous cycle. Seems obvious, right?
But there’s another thing that happens with practice. Just like a golfer can train his muscles to repeat great golf swings, a songwriter can actually train him or herself to write better songs! While you brain is not technically a muscle, it is built to adopt to repetitive behaviors. They sink in over time.
Ask any songwriter who has moved to Nashville and become part of the great community of songwriters there. They don’t become better just by living in Nashville. It’s not caused by osmosis.
No, it’s because the people who are surrounded by other great songwriters who live there are motivated on an emotional level and they repeatedly write more songs. Each of them typically better than the last.
You don’t have to move to Nashville. At least not until you start to get some nibbles. There are two very concrete ways to increase your level of excellence in songwriting.
First, join TAXI and come to the Road Rally this coming November 5th-8th. It’s free for TAXI members, so you’ll save HUNDREDS of dollars compared to other music conventions. Our host hotel will soon be offering a special TAXI Road Rally rate of just $109 per night for a limited time (July 6th-20th). That’s $50 per night cheaper than what is was supposed to be, so you’re saving $200 over four nights!
But you’ll need to join TAXI in the next five days to get in under the wire on that deal.
Really Cheap Airfare!
I just found airfare (as I’m writing this) of only $239, roundtrip from New York to LA!
With the room rates and airfare so inexpensive, you could probably do the entire weekend for $800-$1,000 total. A few hundred cheaper STILL, if you join TAXI and use your guest pass and bring a friend or your spouse and split the room cost.
If you’re within driving distance of LA, this will definitely be your year to get the killer deal on coming to the Rally!
The second thing you should do is read two sections of our online forum.
Read this 1st to get motivated!
Read this 2nd to get motivated about the life changing effect the Road Rally has on the people who join us:
Remember what Aristotle said, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” You can quite literally train your brain to become excellent at songwriting. Your chances of success in the music business will go up by a factor of ten if you do that. I’ve just given you the tools.
Are you motivated? How badly do you want your music to be your income-generating career? That’s a decision only you can make.
Talk to you soon,
P.S. Remember, the killer deal on room rates will be offered July 6th-20th, so you’ll need to belong to TAXI to get those rates.