12 Years With Taxi

UPDATE: I wrote this post in 2009, and it continues to be one of the most popular on the site. I’m quickly approaching 12 years without Taxi! From what I can tell, the service hasn’t significantly changed, and my advice still holds. But don’t just take my word for it! You’ll notice there are a ton of comments, many of them recent, including several from CEO Michael Laskow himself. Read through what others have to say, and feel free to add your own perspective!

Taxi is an independent A&R company, connecting musicians with labels, publishers, and music supervisors. On the 1st and 15th of every month, they provide a list of industry opportunities for members to submit songs to. Screeners forward the most suitable material for each listing to the person who requested it. I’ve been a member since 1997.

Recently, two of my songs were featured on a large cable network, and I signed an exclusive publishing deal. All thanks to Taxi? Nope. The music supervisor found me on thesixtyone and I connected with the publisher through Sonicbids.

Over the course of twelve years and 100+ forwarded submissions, with $3525 spent on membership and submission fees alone, I haven’t made a single deal through Taxi. In fact, I haven’t received so much as a phone call or e-mail from an interested party (cue the crickets).

The obvious counterargument is that my music simply sucks. Perhaps it does, but it still managed to get forwarded many, many times. They thought it was good enough.

In the course of promoting my new album, I asked a handful of publishers and music supervisors about Taxi. Their impressions were lukewarm to negative. Two described it as “worthless.” They had both used the service and felt that the quality of submissions was lacking. The overall consensus among those I spoke with was that Taxi is for amateurs.

Before I go any further, let me emphatically state that Taxi is not a scam. Michael Laskow and his team work tirelessly on behalf of their members. I’ve seen it firsthand at the conventions. They are good people running an honest business, and this article is not meant to disparage them or the company in any way. Their track record is impressive, and they deliver what they promise. They can get your songs into the decision-maker’s hands, but they don’t make the decision.

I suspect that many of you are in the same boat as I am. You want to pursue every possible opportunity for the songs you’ve already recorded, but you aren’t willing to record new material targeted at a specific listing, or even rewrite or re-record a song to make it a better fit. You simply want to get as much mileage as you can out of what you’ve already got. If that’s the case, maybe Taxi isn’t for you.

You might consider joining Taxi if:

  1. You want to sign with a label. If you’re young and attractive with a radio-friendly sound, a large following, verifiable sales, and touring experience, Taxi might be able to hook you up with a label. But with all that going for you, do you need one?
  2. You write songs solely to pitch to other artists. Taxi provides opportunities you won’t find on other “tip sheets,” and they seem particularly well-connected in the country music industry.
  3. You want to earn a living through film and TV placements. If you’re disciplined enough to write cues to spec, day in and day out, and treat it as a job, you can make a lot of money after a few years. Check out their video series on the topic. You’ll want to sign up for Taxi’s Dispatch service to receive daily last-minute requests from music supervisors.
  4. You want to get better. The cost of membership might be justified purely as an educational expense. The conventions, called Road Rallies in keeping with the automotive theme, are top notch. Song critiques are a mixed bag. I’ve had the same song get 9’s and 10’s on one critique, and 5’s and 6’s on another. That’s the subjective nature of music. I don’t take any particular criticism seriously until I see it more than once.

If you’re thinking about signing up, be sure to check the listings first to make sure the industry wants what you’ve got.


  1. This isn’t worthy of the body of the article, but I have to share my favorite Taxi critique. “Stare Out the Window” is about acting on your dreams rather than watching life pass you by. The chorus is:

    I don’t want to stare out the window
    I don’t want to stare all of my life
    Don’t want to be afraid to remember
    What I might have dared
    What could be mine
    I don’t want to stare out the window
    I don’t want to stare all of my life
    All of my life…

    The screener rejected the song because, “I think I would like to be told (as a listener) what is out the window.”

    1. Brian, I have a similar example of a specific critique that was confusing and or contradictory and is frustrating because we cannot communicate back and ask a question of the screener on their comments. First, the custom critiques have MADE ME A MUCH BETTER SONGWRITER as I was making some major structural mistakes and even if I never make a dime from my submissions it’s worth at least a years membership to improve my songwriting, but one thing that gets said over and over, on many lines is: that’s been said that way hundreds of times.” We as songwriters have to find a different way to say the same thing. “Great idea! I write these lines:

      If you could have seen her face
      when she found the ring I bought her…..

      the hook being ” but that was before… she changed her mind
      that was another…another place and time
      back when she wanted..she wanted to be mine
      that was before..she changed her mind…

      critique: why did she find the ring? don’t most men hand the girl the ring?
      well yeah they do..but aren’t we trying to say something original and not the way it’s been said a hundred times before?.or write a line that millions of men have done it “just that way?”…yes she found the ring because I hid it in a big box..but it has nothing to do with the main idea of..”She changed her mind” She doesn’t love me would be a six minute song explaining I hid the ring in a big box..then one smaller and then another smaller one as she opened the boxes till she found the little box with the ring in it..but she doesn’t love me doesn’t matter how she got the ring in her my some critiques are contradictory..” try to say it like no one has before”..then “don’t most men HAND the girl the ring?..but you can’t have a back and forth on issues like that. For every frustration like that, there have been 5 constructive suggestions that have really helped me..So I’ll just say that at a minimum TAXI is worth it if only for the custom critiques and use the suggestions you agree with to become a better songwriter and go with your gut on the ones you don’t……………………

      1. Post script to my previous post..When a songwriter has been carrying around a song for 10 to 15 years and singing it one way, and someone critiques a line negatively..sometimes it can make you defensive..because the song is your when a song I wrote about a broken engagement titled “before she changed her mind” two lines were:

        “If you could have seen her face
        when she found the ring I bought her”

        Taxi critique: why did she find the ring?..”don’t most men hand the girl the ring” blood pressure rose as I thought..yeah I could have said ” when I got down on one knee” or when I handed her that little box” or many other cliches’…but as I thought about it over a couple days..I decided to give it an honest try: and after much thought here’s what I came up with.

        “I can still remember that moment”
        “and the joy in her expression”
        “the tears in her big blue eyes”
        “when I asked that girl the question”

        My song may never go anywhere..but it is a part of me..and making that big of a change wasn’t easy..but the critique was right..I like it better now..maybe others won’t like it..doesn’t matter..I write for me..and if someone else likes it one day, it’s just a bonus..Taxi has the job of telling people something they may not want to hear and no they are not always right on a needed change to a song..but most of the time, I’ve found their suggestions have merit..and so I have a new perspective…and like I said if I never make a dime on my songs..I will work to become better and Taxi can be a part of becoming better…

        1. I’m fine with it the first way! Sure, most guys hand the girl the ring, but I like that she found it herself.

          I’d argue that you’re not actually saying the same thing a different way – you’re saying a different thing. But it’s an interesting twist!

          Regardless, it’s wise of you to attempt a rewrite. Can’t hurt, right? I know my immediate reaction is to be defensive, but once I let the criticism sink in, I realize there’s usually something to it.

        2. I loved this exchange. I have heard over-and-over and over….”find a new way to say things”. So, I do. Often, when I first write a song, I look at the first set of lyrics as “guides”.

          I take those “guide lines” and beat the hell out of them and come up with a new visual or phrasing. The problem is when you do it and submit it for review….you often get some thin and veiled critique. Anyway, I am very thick skinned and work my lyrics with love, caring and an open mind.

          I sparked to respond to this blog exchange when I read the “diamond ring presentation idea”.

          I faced a similar conundrum when writing a song…..and here is MY offering to the Gods Of Lyrics:

          “At a baseball game
          Out in the bleachers
          He pulled a diamond from out of his shirt
          And asked if she could love him forever
          She said, “I’ll need some time”
          Then she turned away
          But she spun around and smiled
          And he heard her say, “That’s all the time I need”
          Twenty years ago”…..

          The song is entitled, “Twenty Years Ago”…… you can hear it at my site (….or on Pandora….or Spotify….etc…..

          Bottom line, as my buddies Jeffrey Steele, Gary baker and Walt Aldridge once chimed in…. “Work diligently, do it with heart and soul….finish the song…..and go write another one”….

          Best to all….

    2. Love this article for its informativeness and even-handedness (enough ‘nesses already!). That comment that you received about “Staring out the Window” is frightening – I hope that person has either immersed themselves in songwriting books since then, or they have moved on. I came to yr blog via a Twitter mention (“your circle/network blah-blah-blah!”), and am greatly enjoying your pieces here. Am just finishing four songs myself, and wondering whether to contact “musicpromotoday” or a UK outfit that I found. All the best.

      1. Thanks for the kind words George! I’m sure that particular reviewer has moved on by now. One would hope!

        I’ve never heard of musicpromotoday, so I can’t help you there. If you try them, let me know how it goes!

    3. Couldn’t agree more. I just let my membership slide. Almost 100% forward rate, but I’ve never had a placement through Taxi. I have, however, placed many tracks in blockbuster films and TV (the CW, NBC, Lifetime, MTV, etc). I guess I had already made contact with a lot of Taxi contacts independently before I joined (Crucial, Rescue Records, etc). So in my experience you are better off if you just do your homework. My review of Taxi? 10/10 for effort (not so much for results).

      1. I’ve heard good things about Crucial, but they rejected me years ago when I approached them. Congratulations on all your success outside of Taxi! And inside too – that’s a remarkable forward rate.

    4. Ok I was with them one year as a self employed person the first thing you don’t do is throw money at something that won’t produce a return.. Now I don’t care if its the “music biz ” does not matter !! If your throwing money at a lawn service business and not getting a return its time to do something else or go about it another way.. PERIOD ! Some people could buy time with a top producer / mixer and learn first hand with the money they spend with that place.. Im sorry that’s dumb. And there are people on Youtube. Who are VERY successful in the TV / FILM. Business who actually show you how , what , when and where Tell you how they do it for FREE !! Why people pay some out of work Ex A@R. rep or some person who wrote a hit song and now they know everything or (act like they do )is beyond me I guess some just don’t know better. And what happens when one of those screeners have a fight with there spouse that morning before they hear your song and are just not in the mood ? Or they’re ears are burnt from listing to all the submissions? The music business is notorious for playing on people’s desperation and taking their rent money.. Stop paying those people ! There are so many ways to learn now and there are actually libraries that don’t do that to you. TAXI will nickel and dime you to death people and if your really good at what you do you can get noticed other ways without spending your hard earned money. And the excuses they use ( your not good enough ) may be true for some but not all ! Not to mention that’s really an insult when your paying them money . I hate companies like this i don’t care what they ” try to do ” or how well intentioned they are it is manipulation. Plain and simple . They take money from people who don’t know any better if someone is not good enough then rejected them and stop charging them . it should be a crime what they do and Im serious.

      1. Bravo, when its the first thing that pops up and has all this over glorified web sight after typing “how do i get my songs published” on a search engine, then you gotta know it’s a big scam. Just copyright your song for 45 bucks, stick it on YouTube and other like streamings and just let the world take over

  2. Hi Brian,

    I’ve got to say, 12 years of us forwarding your music and no deals yet… wow! Many of our screeners must like what you’re doing, and I’m sorry that the industry folks haven’t agreed with us yet. We hear about deals that take a long time to happen pretty frequently, but you certainly set some sort of record. Keep swinging and read these for inspiration. Your time will come.

  3. Hi Brian,

    Got your e-mail– how did you get mine? You must have some great tracks to get so many forwards, and I get your frustrations with not getting as many deals as you’d like. That’s such a common feeling among independent artists– you’re certainly not alone! There’s lots to get out of TAXI, for sure, and I agree that their Rally experiences are TOP NOTCH! I’ve watched some pretty incredible things happen there for us independent musicians (I’ve personally maintained several Rally connections over the years and landed a few deals as a result). Keep up the writing! Whatever your goal is, you will find your way to succeed, as it sounds like you’ve got some decent material!

  4. Hi Brian;
    Sorry your experience with Taxi hasn’t yet been as fruitful as you would have liked. I’ve been with Taxi for three years, and have had hundreds of placements and deals as a result, in addition to having forged wonderful friendships with creative collaborators across the world, which to me is the cornerstone of what I love about Taxi. I think everyone’s got to find their particular way to get their work out there in the world; here’s wishing you a success in finding what works best for you. 🙂 Best regards,

  5. Hey Brian,

    It’s good to know you haven’t given up yet, Brian! I sense a lot of positivity in your post despite the challenges you have faced in this tough business. Good for you! I’m a Taxi member and I’m very happy. Like you said, Taxi isn’t a scam, and they are passionate about getting our music out there! Many of my Taxi friends and I have signed deals for our music, so I don’t know why your music didn’t find a home as a result of all those Taxi “forwards”. Seasoned members like yourself know that the key to music success is to take charge of your promotional activities and Taxi is only one of many ways to connect with industry pros. My contacts in the industry are happy to return to Taxi again and again for high quality music that fits their needs and the music is getting better all the time! Your “handful of publishers and music supervisors” might not be giving you a clear picture of the value Taxi brings to their table. Your unique journey seems different from my experience, but I wish you all the luck in the world getting your music in good hands! Keep up the good work! BTW: success is hard work, isn’t it? 😉

  6. Thanks for sharing your experiences! It’s always nice to hear from people who’ve had success in this difficult business.

    I’ve had perhaps more than my fair share of luck this year, just not with Taxi. The John Lennon Songwriting Contest, thesixtyone, ReverbNation, Pandora, Jango, OurStage, and even Sonicbids (though I have mixed feelings on it) have had a substantial positive impact on my career.

    So the question is, where do we devote what little time and energy we have for promotion? That’s been the mission of this blog from the beginning. Hopefully our stories will provide prospective members some basis to make an informed decision in regard to Taxi.

  7. Brian,

    Great article! I agree with you 100%. For me, if it wasn’t for Taxi Dispatch, I wouldn’t be using their service at all. But, Dispatch has more opportunities than I have hours in the day. I haven’t landed anything yet, but have been close (according to the one way communication I get), and believe I will if I just keep improving my craft and focus on submissions where my strengths will shine.


  8. I was part of TAXI for a year with my band and it didn’t do anything for me. However, my friend got a lot of soap opera and television placements. Actually, this person was more of someone who was helping my band and she got us some really high profile gigs. She was somehow a part of putting together The Grammys . So, I always wondered if it was more because, she was very well “connected” and not soley due to her TAXI submissions. Not to say that her music wasn’t good by any means (they were very good). Oh, and I had the same experience with the critiques for the same song. Some would be quite bad and other were excellent. hmm…

  9. Oh, and another thing Brian. 🙂 In my experience, the Taxi forum is a great place to learn how to focus your attention on music that sells. You’ll meet great supportive people all in the same boat. Some are more successful than others, and after sharing experiences and music for some time you learn where you stand in the business. People who can give you honest feedback *and* be supportive… what can be better than that?

    Too often an artist thinks “I’m my own person, I am unique, I don’t need advice, I can go it alone”. To me, that’s the fastest way to no-where. The road to success doesn’t need to be re-invented. Isn’t it faster to discover it instead?

  10. Monty, I’m sure you’ll land something eventually, since you have the discipline to approach your composition and orchestration as a job.

    I agree Allen, Taxi members are a supportive bunch! I’ve spent some time in the forums on and off over the years.

  11. Brian –

    Thank God you wrote this blog when you did! I was literally about to sign up with Taxi….now I’m not sure if it’s the right thing for me. I think I’ll have to re-think what I’m thinking and think about whether it’s the right thing to do…..I think!

    – Matt

  12. Brian, great post. Despite your experience, I think I might still give Taxi a shot. The sad truth is that there are very few ways to get music in front of people who can make a difference, and Taxi is one of them. The service preys on this fact, actually, given the way they write their promo materials! When I finally sign up, I’ll post about my experience on my blog at


  13. Go for it Jeff! I agree – there’s no better alternative. Sure, there are tip sheets, but only Taxi provides the guidance and education to turn your misses into hits.

  14. Over the three years or so I’ve used it, we’ve gotten enough deals with Taxi to break even approximately. I think we’ve gotten a lot of other value out of it as well, so I consider it quite worthwhile. I have learned, over time, to be more selective about what I submit to and our forward rate is relatively high.

    It is not up to date, but you can see our submission history at:

  15. Great job Michael! I’m impressed. I’m pretty sure that Taxi doesn’t want you posting the names of the companies they deal with though. You might want to remove those from your submission history.

  16. I just feel sad reading this and the comments– some obviously not real. Taxi is a scam. Nobody legit in the music business deals with Taxi. Putting their “companies they deal with” up on the blog would be refreshing because everyone is curious who uses them. Give me a break. Sonicbids — maybe … that is if you don’t live in any of the major cities and won’t hear about these opportunities otherwise. But Taxi is very close to a scam– not saying that every once in awhile someone doesn’t get “something” but definitely not worth what you are putting into it. You’d get more out of contacting your Ascap rep and making a relationship with him/her. Spending that much money to submit on stuff you never had a chance on. I’m just horrified, sad, and embarrassed. They are running a business alright- and doing very well at it.

  17. Why be sad? Taxi simply is what it is: a stepping stone… a doorway, but the best way to succeed in this business is to pound away at it from every angle. Even Taxi says that here:

    You ask about the companies Taxi deals with. Here ya go:

    I have a unique perspective on who succeeds with Taxi and who doesn’t. On this page on the Taxi website there are several people mentioned who I happen to know. They aren’t just advertisement copy to me… They are my friends: people who are talented, driven, and knowledgeable:

    The Taxi members who never make the list of success stories often are people who need to learn something important before they can hit the sweet spot with the industry. Others are people who are competing in the high bar parts of the music business and that’s rough!!! Other members who aren’t getting a monetary return from their membership just need to wake up and be more informed and serious about the business of music because the music industry is as much about business as it is about music.

    I am truly sorry if I sound like I’m preaching here, but the word “scam” doesn’t go with the name “Taxi”. Michael Laskow is very sincere about what his company does.

    It’s important to remember that Taxi just does what it does and it’s up to the artists to do the rest, AND THERE’S A LOT TO DO!!!!!!!! People who criticize Taxi can cite many interesting reasons for their opinions, but much of the negativity just boils down to the extra initiative, extraordinary talent, intelligence, attitude, and savvy that is required to get ahead in the music business. The rest of the bad blood can come from not being in the right place at the right time with the right stuff.

    Personally, I wasn’t getting far with Taxi until I met the right people at the annual Taxi Rally last year. Now I have more opportunities to get my music out there than I can possibly manage. Several of my other Taxi friends have different stories such as how they managed to hear their songs in films and TV, but we share one thing in common: we are learning, adapting, changing, improving, and refocusing ourselves all the time. Without that, Taxi can’t help much, and I suspect that desribes a large percentage of the musicians in this country who just want to be successful as they are today with the music they have already written.

    I sincerely hope this helps. Really I do!


    1. then Allen, sounds like people just need to pay a one time fee and go to the Rally and stop the 5 buck tom foolery, right? right.

    2. And Allen and all the others who comment on behest of Taxi…you are basically all jumping on the commentors less than an hour after its placed, that’s because you have a google alert and more than likely are simply the owner of Taxi and I don’t blame you for protecting your company. But the people you are working for are just telemarketers who happen to pre listen to songs in a bad or good mood, or high, drunk, jealous etc. Subject to who sh*t in their corn flakes like every other government official or parking meter maid.

  18. Hi Kylie
    How would you like to come to the RAXI Road Rally in LA from Nov 5-8th as my guest (no charge to you)? Then you could see for yourself what’s possible with this organization. (And no, I don’t get paid for saying this– I’m just a regular member there.) But I do know that TAXI is legit.

    So how about it? Want to come to their Rally this year on me? I think you’d be surprised at the number of opportunities that you’ll find for your music at just one of these events. (Read more about the Rally here: I went to a Rally years ago (I was also a skeptic), and I then decided to give TAXI a try. I’m glad I did. (I would have written to you at your website, but you didn’t list any, and your link went to a dead page.) Good luck to you!

  19. dude, I am soooo trying out taxi when I have money again! I looked into them years ago but was too poor then too! still, Ive tried all sorts of self promo and gotten little gain. Hope to sign up soon!

    1. a fool and his money are soon parted. Can you read the advice of others or is it you just work for taxi.

  20. Note to Taxi:

    Your defense is spirited, but it rings false because it was clearly written at your behest by a professional copywriter. You should not do this! If you truly want to defend your business, honesty is the best policy. As a copywriter myself, I know the temptation to deliver just the right words in just the right way, but you have to be careful. And when your back is against the wall, as it is here, speak from the heart, not from your agency or pool of freelance writers. Oh, if you do call in the pros, say so! One last thing: this comment of yours reads exactly like all the ads you run and emails you send and while this approach might be working for you, it no longer works for me. Just my two cents, nothing against you guys.


  21. Thanks for the compliments, Jeff. I know several of the posters here, and they will be complimented too. Check out the links to our websites (click on our name), and you can see what we really do in our lives.

  22. I like Taxi and I don’t think it’s a scam. After being a member for a year and getting a few forwards I asked the question. “What percentage of Taxi members actually get a deal?”

    I hear a lot of the success stories but I thought it was a pertinent question and the answer would help me make a decision about renewing. Nobody ever got back to me with an answer.

    I’ve been a professional musician for many years and have made a few deals through other means and see the value of a company like Taxi. But, perhaps it’s not for everyone. It very much depends upon what genre you are writing for and how good you are at producing a professional sounding recording. Demo quality in general doesn’t work.

    1. blah blah blah on ‘HOW GOOD’ the demo is an all that. Hey man, the blame is not on the artist…a good song can get signed with a Sh*tty singer and a terrible demo, its all about Hooks. Taxi makes promises it can’t even dare try to deliver. Its not a taxi service and it may very well be a SONG stealing service

  23. Taxi is a waste of money. I have signed a few hundred songs just from emailing companies and asking to submit material. Why would I go through Taxi to license music?

    Honestly, most music libraries themselves do not know how to effectively pitch their catalogs. Most libraries, whether non-exclusive or exclusive, will help most composers make over a few hundred dollars.

    Giving up the publishers share for placements is a thing of the past. A mediocre artist with 100 or more songs and a good hustle can market their own catalog directly to TV stations and film companies. Making 100% of the money is better than 50%. Most people don’t even get half anymore.

    Follow the money. The rest is easy.

  24. Thanks for the info. I was with Taxi 4 years ago with alot of money put in and no deal. I resigned again with them to see if anything has changed last month for 2 years. Hope it works this time. Who are you with now though?

  25. The only placements I've gotten were on MTV shows through Bunim-Murray, who found me. Still, I submit tracks occasionally to Tracks and Fields, Music Dealers, and a couple others.

  26. Thanks for a great post, Brian. Having been a member for almost two years now, I've had a very similar experience. TAXI seems like a great venue for TV composers, not so much for songwriters and producers trying to get songs placed (outside of the country industry). The Road Rally I've been to (2010) was really informative and fun, but I doubt I'll renew my subscription just for that – and the critiques, as you said, are by nature very subjective. Overall, your post reaffirmed what I was thinking. Thanks!

  27. I'm a member with six months in. No I haven't gotten any forwards as of yet, but they have a page whee people who get forwarded can boast it up, as well as people who get deals, and they typically get at least a few entires a week, so people are getting forwarded and getting deals. I have personally learned a lot in the time I have been with them and have had the pleasure of chatting with several industry rofessionals through their forums. so no it isn't a scam. How well this works out for getting a deal with me personally remains to be seen. If you are that serious about getting yourself a deal, you would be oursuing other ways of submitting music, because if you are looking at making a significant income off Taxi submissions, I pretty much knew fro the get go that was not going to happen given their (published)success rate. A lot of people continue to use it to get from feedback from forum members and to use it as a professional networking community, and bcause they enjoy the comraderie of other composers. Whether that alone is worth the price of membership is a subjective question. Looking for feedback here from other people who left Taxi and found a lot of success with the same stuff elsewhere.

  28. And I've read on other sites the stuff submitted and forwarded through Taxi is of low quality. I have listened to a lot of the stuff that gets forwarded, and the majority of it is top notch. Many of the members have had dozens if not hundreds of placements on TV and Film. That much I suspect is true inasmuch as TAXI placing mainly TV and film based material.

  29. I wish I'd read that before I just resigned. I know this article is old, but somehow still feels very current, which is worrying.., a thing that still "gets me" with Taxi is: How do they get away with having such a rubbish website? It feels so dated, old fashioned, lost of info on pages is not current / referts to antique web usage behaviour etc. It just doesn't put you at ease. I know that a flashy website doesn;t guarantee a good service either, but with them you have to wonder if they are still moving with the times. Anyway, I did rejoin recently. I only did one year with them and despite a few forwards I did not get anywhere (had more luck with sonicbids). anyway, let's see..

  30. I know what you mean about the tech. It took them forever to transition to online submissions! I certainly don't hear much about Taxi these days, for what it's worth.

  31. Cheer Brian, so who do you hear the most of the days then? (in terms of genuine opportunities with publishers, TV & Film). It seems a lot of websites now offer "opportunities". If you have to concentrate your time and money on 3 of them, what would it be in your experience?

  32. This article echos my long time thoughts on the benefits of joining TAXI.

    I would say that if you are extremely close to being able to write.
    contemporary songs to a Professional Level, you could gain some benefit.

    But glowing comments from peers and those on Songwriting Forums.
    will count for nothing in the Real World.

  33. If Your songs are great, take the best three or four and put them on You Tube
    Maybe disable the punters comments or read them before you post them.
    Just make sure the demo quality is above average , and the vocals are out front.
    There are many T.V. channels accepting New Songs from unknowns or Indie Acts
    especially in the Contemporary Country genre.
    Start small and hang on to your royalties,
    If your songs are great you will start a Buzz, forget the likes of I Tunes and Taxi,
    you dont need them if you are a great writer. if you are still learning that's another matter. Read everything you can get your hands on about songwriting, and listen to what Top Pro writers are doing.

  34. I’m glad I’m not the only one! I was a TAXI disciple for 5 years, and I am letting my membership expire today. I’ve had more than 80 forwards in that time, and one tune in particular has earned close to 30 forwards alone. The critiques of my music are always glowing, and I often score 10s. And ask any TAXI member: forwards are NOT easy to get! The boss himself praised my music on his webshow, and he phoned me one time to praise my good attitude and dedication

    But so far, no deals, no calls, no word from anyone. And when I started asking annoying questions about legitimacy and transparency, I was slammed by some members and even the boss himself. Primarily, I wanted to know where my $3,000 invested went, who has really heard my music, why should I renew, why all the wonderful forwards, and why is the whole process a mystery. No, it’s definitely not a scam, but with 10,000 hopeful (and naive) members, with only a fraction of a percent of them earning anything back (directly from TAXI), the efficacy of their service is definitely questionable.

    If I posted here the screener reviews of my music, you would think I was the next best thing! I don’t think they’re exaggerating or playing me; I think the screeners are honest and do a great job. But their efforts seem to be thrown into the wind: How many other TAXI members have been forwarded to the same opportunity? Multiply that by the number of other companies the music supervisor has listed the same spot with. What are the chances your track will be heard at all, let alone picked? How many placements will you require before you recoup your investment in TAXI? You probably don’t want to know the answers. Like someone above said: Better to track down supervisors, directors, libraries, publishers, and label execs yourself. I’ve actually started to do that on my own, and I’ve already had more leads than during my 5 years at TAXI. And I haven’t spent a dime!

    1. Sounds like our experiences are identical! Good on you for taking the initiative to start making the necessary contacts yourself. That will surely pay off in the long run.

      Thanks for the VERY helpful comment!

    2. I am so happy to read your comment. I am new to Taxi. I signed up this year as part of my new year’s resolution to be more proactive about marketing my music. My latest single “Schizophrenic Hearts” is my first and only forward with Taxi. I was curious to know what comes next. Your comment along with many others on this thread has helped me set the right expectations for my association with this organization.
      Thank you for sharing…

  35. Brian,

    So funny! I had just written back to an industry vet who recommended Taxi and used the same word you used – “crickets” – to describe over the past 12+ years the response from every music biz pro I’ve asked about Taxi. Some of them have indeed recommended Taxi. Yet when I’ve asked if they know of ANY ONE who’s had any success or placements via Taxi?
    That said, I agree that it must be helping SOMEONE out there, or it would cease to exist in due course. We all know it’s SO subjective. And that includes the ears of the people we really want to reach. One of them may love what we do, another not at all. But it’s reaching those ears that’s so daunting, isn’t it? One person advises to just go straight to the music licensing gatekeepers with your songs (just make sure they’re professionally recorded, or sound like it if you did it at home, which is possible now.) Another says don’t annoy them. They’re stressed and bombarded – you’ll only be shooting yourself in the foot – so go through Taxi or a similar service.
    Someone else advises something else.
    In the end, different things work for different people and everyone swears by what worked for them. It’s a lot like that parable about the eight blind musicians and the elephant, isn’t it? Anyway, I really liked what you wrote about Taxi. Fair, even-handed and has the ring of truth, from this “blind musicians” perch anyway. I just subscribed to your blog. I see you invite people to send you stuff and you review it. Is that for real? Do you still do this? I applaud your insights and your perseverance! Keep going and good luck!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words David! I’m with you completely on your assessment.

      I don’t even bother submitting stuff to “gatekeepers” anymore. It’s all direct-to-fan for me now. Maybe it’s not the best move for my career, but I feel like it works for my sanity. Perhaps “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” after all.

      As for reviewing stuff, yes I do! The thing is, I get asked dozens of times a day to “check out my track.” Rather than ignoring the requests or saying no, I refer people to my profile on Fluence. If they are willing to pay a few bucks for my time (a fraction of my normal hourly rate), I listen, comment, and often share on Twitter.

      Feel free to take a look!

      1. Brian, much obliged! “Direct-to-fan” has a lot of merit and certainly allows you more control of one’s own destiny, seems to me.

        Good to know about your fluence profile. I know the site. Will absolutely take a look and consider doing this ASAP.

        Thanks again. Happy New Year!

  36. I was a member for a couple years and got very little out of it, aside from some really copy/paste sounding critiques and a couple of forwards that didn’t go anywhere. Was really careful about the submissions I sent in and honestly can’t say I got a good vibe from the folks in charge over there when I wrote them about my concerns. They certainly do not offer a satisfaction guarantee for their service. I have a couple good friends that resulted from the Road Rally. I sure wish my experience was better.. I had hopes it would be helpful! I’d be open to attending the Rally again. Maybe I just didn’t meet the right people.

  37. just a note, check the dates and times of the comments. Ridiculous.
    It seems to me no sooner is a comment made than is a hurried Taxi Fan comment rushing in to save the day

  38. the music biz is ugly and an oxymoron. You can’t get a company like Taxi to be pretty in an ugly biz. No can do.

  39. Hi everyone. I’m considering Taxi and, upon research, came across this article. I manage and develop a young band in south Florida. They self released an album and I’m trying to get them a deal. $300 plus submission fees seems like a lot. Not sure it’s worth the money with so many stories of “nothing happened.” Suggestions? Should I sign the boys up? If not, do you recommend other companies with whom you’ve had more success? Three of these boys are seniors in high school. When the band first started 3 years ago, the deal was, “go to college locally if there’s something promising on the horizon.” We have about 6 months to find something promising or the multi year project will end. Thanks!


    1. I assume you’re hoping to pitch the band’s pre-existing material, rather than creating new material to fit the listings. If so, probably not a great fit.

      Maybe try Music Dealers or Tracks and Fields?

  40. Great article Brian, thank you. Are you still with Taxi and have there been placements? do you produce to spec for the songs and instrumental opportunities or do submit generally submit songs from your Color Theory project when there seems to be a fit? I am researching the topic and see people following different strategies and I wondered about yours. Tks

  41. Brian,
    I only read the first part of your article because by the time I had read that much, you had already summed up my experience with TAXI. I believe that TAXI is very selective and is more concerned with maintaining a relationship with the labels (etc) than with finding non-commercial independent artist (even though they claim otherwise). In my case, however, I received feedback on my submissions that were contradictory. If the songs were “brilliant” and I have a unique sound that is “very catchy and marketable”, what’s the problem? As it turns out, some of the lyrics were, in the words of the critique, a bit too abstract. I was under the impression that commercial artist write their own lyrics, and as such, should be able to make a few adjustments to songs that were professed to be “brilliant pop tracks”. Nope. This misconception was brought to light when I submitted instrumentals, per request, as well.

    I submitted twelve tracks and uploaded twenty to my account. I did not renew my membership (2014). Needless to say, I decided to go back to TAXI today and check my account, just for the hell of it. I discovered that there were only three tracks out of the twenty I uploaded in my account. All of the tracks that were labeled “brilliant” but one were missing. Another strange thing was that a critique I had not paid for appeared in my account as well.

    Number four on your list is what how I viewed my experience with TAXI. That being that the experience was educational and made me push harder than I ever had and that those critiques are purely subjective. But I would also like to add that the more “brilliant”, innovative and catchy a person is, the more likely their music becomes ‘inspiration’ for artist. producers,and songwriters who are burned out or creatively running on empty. Thanks for the article, it just reinforced the truth that TAXI isn’t necessary, and that with today’s social media internet power, you can do much better on your own!

    1. While it’s disappointing to hear that things haven’t changed in the past six years, I suppose it’s nice that my article is still relevant!

      About your account, perhaps they only keep the ones that were forwarded, and only for a certain length of time? Since it can take a long time for deals to go through, that would ensure potential candidates aren’t there one day and gone the next.

      Thanks for the brilliant comment!

  42. I’ve just started watching the Taxi A&R TV channel on YouTube and even though I’m not a member (but considering becoming one at some point), I’m finding those over an hour long shows with Mr. Laskow informative and good to watch as I put in my daily hour on my elliptical anyway.

    I’ve heard various things about Taxi over the years, including the thought that they’re for amateurs – something which I would think even goes without saying for the most part. But I definitely don’t believe they are a scam. There’s plenty of truly talented people with tons of potential out there. But there’s an equal and probably even a larger number pursuing, say, songwriting, and have little to no talent, but tons of passion and ambition nonetheless, and I imagine it’s that mixed bag who Taxi gladly caters to. I guess I’m thinking out loud with this post, but as a songwriter seeking a “career” or even an on the side thing in TV and Film placements, you are a business and that means risk, research, trying things, spending money and probably losing some money, if not a lot of money. Looking at it along them lines, I’m wondering if $500 (plus the cost of well thought out submissions) for a two year subscription to Taxi is a worthwhile investment in yourself. I mean most people don’t do much with their lives that’s cool, fun and interesting (and sure, maybe even heartbreaking), but if you’re going to pursue something like this you’re going to have to break some eggs and maybe screw up some omelets. You may never make an omelet that someone other than you wants to eat. You may never profit from your investment, let alone break even, or it may take longer. But I’m considering if it’s at least worth two years to get whatever I can out of it even if it ultimately turns out to be nothing more than some critiques, forum camaraderie, and maybe a friendship or few that could turn into great collaborations and/or other opportunities down the line and maybe a rally appearance. And if nothing else I could be sitting up at some bar chatting it up with other guys like me saying “Yeah, I tried Taxi.. tough racket..” (*knocks one back*). But like another post further up said, you must attack this from every angle, not just Taxi.

    But 12 years and nothing? You’re a soldier. Glad you found results elsewhere though. How is your career doing now? Are you making a successful living from music only via placements or otherwise?

    Also, I know you from somewhere. I’ve heard of Color Theory and I’m a big Depeche Mode fan too. Maybe I saw you many years ago on some audio forum somewhere. I can’t seem to place it, but you seem very familiar from some years ago. Do you have a very deep speaking voice? Do you live in Seattle by any chance? There was a Depeche Mode tribute band in Seattle called Black Celebration at one point.. hmm. Anyway hope you’re doing well.

    1. First off, big kudos to you for putting an hour in on the elliptical every day! I’d much rather run outside!

      You’re right that $500 isn’t a huge investment in the grand scheme of things. If you’re going to put in the hours to improve and submit regularly, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of growth.

      And yeah, it’s a great community. But is it the best community? Depends on your goal. If I were producing house, for example, I think I’d be better off with a community like Indaba or Splice, where I can learn the tricks of the trade. There are tons of great communities on Reddit for every musical slant, for free.

      As for me, most of my income comes from mastering, followed by mixing and mix consultation. I’m lucky to make a few hundred bucks a year from placements, and maybe a couple grand from sales.

      I’m a tenor living in Southern California, so that probably wasn’t me! I’ve never been in a tribute band. There’s one closer to LA called Sweetest Perfection!

  43. Wow, this article is gold and the comment section is filled with diamonds as well! Thank you, Brian and everyone who has shared their story!

    I’m curious if you, Brian, or any other readers found the “Industry Listings” that Taxi displays twice a month to be actually legitimate opportunities? Reading around online, it seems like some people question whether those opportunities are even real at all and thus jump straight to the “this whole thing is a scam” statement while others indicate that they have reason to believe the opportunities are very real and legitimate, they just aren’t experiencing the kind of success they were led to believe they could expect.

    For what I do, these briefs, even if very broad and vague, could be extremely helpful. I’m primarily a hip hop beat maker so when I see 2 listings in just the last 5 days asking for specific styles of hip hop instrumentals that I’ve either already made or could create in a short amount of time, I wonder if Taxi could be worth it to someone like me who is essentially creating music in the vacuum that is my spare bedroom? 😉

    1. Thanks for the kind words Justin!

      I haven’t looked at the listings for years, but I’m not remotely suspicious. You know, you could even just scan the listings to see what people are looking for, then pitch those type of tracks through alternate means. That said, if you’ve got what they’re looking for on a regular basis, maybe it’s worth a shot!

      1. Thanks so much for the reply, Brian! Since I just found out about Taxi recently, I think I’m going to slow play it and build my catalog for now, paying close attention to those listings as you’ve recommended. If I decide to join up in a year and start getting placements/forwards right away or something, I’ll come back and share my experience!

  44. A Letter I wrote 09/20/16 to the Head Screener at Taxi:

    I was prompted to write the letter because over the course of 9 months during 2016, I submitted Music for my genre Rap, 32 times $5.00, and 21 of those times, my music was reviewed by the same screener, 309.

    I will admit that out of the 21 reviews by this particular screener, I did receive 1 forward, but it did not result in a deal, so it’s nothing to brag about.

    One screener reviewing the majority of my work, is hardly a diverse pool of Industry Professionals, and more like a lack of screeners for my genre.

    The remaining 11 songs were divided unevenly between 3 different screeners resulting in 2 additional forwards, but again resulting in no deal so nothing to brag about.

    My Letter:

    Hello A,

    This critique from screener 398 is both encouraging, and helpful in narrowing down where I should be focusing the track entitled Na, na, na, na, na. Keep in mind, this is the kind of critique I think someone who is paying for your service has a right to expect.


    Screener 398: U160908HR – Song Title 012. Na, na, na, na,na:

    Thanks for the submission B. Nice track! Though, this is more 90’s retro rap than what the listing calls for. We’re looking for a really current sound.


    I actually appreciate that critique, it has information in it that I can use in the future to help me pitch more accurately.

    Now, here is a critique from screener 309…


    Screener 309: U160906RP – Song Title 019. Pass Da Panties (You Got It Tonight):

    I’m not hearing any Pop influences in the direction or style of your song.


    Well what do you hear 309, WTF do you hear? I’m convinced that 309 loves to do that, he has no intention of giving me feedback that could help me get a placement, because he’s an asshole!!

    If he would at least tell me what he hears in the song like screener 398 did, I could keep it in mind for my next pitch, then my $5.00 would not be completely wasted…

    If this were baseball, my next pitch would be directly at 309’s BIG ASS HEAD.


    Here is a paragraph from your recommended reading:

    Music is an extremely subjective medium. You may get critiques of a given song that seem to conflict. Our critiques are intended to provide you with the honest reaction of an industry professional. – Different people notice different things good and bad – about any given song. Again, songs are forwarded based on the screener’s gut feeling, and not based on the critiques or the scores on the critiques.

    The bottom line. We give a damn. You might want to disregard the opinion of one of our screeners, but if the same opinion is expressed by a couple of them or more, it could be extremely valuable feedback that you probably couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.


    I Agree with that, but guess what?

    I don’t get much extremely valuable feedback from Taxi, because 95 percent of the time screener 309 is the one screening my songs,


    I don’t get to benefit from the opinion expressed by a couple of screeners or more, so I’m not getting extremely valuable feedback, I’m only getting THE OPINION OF ONE OF YOUR SCREENERS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, WHICH YOU SAY IN YOUR OWN RECOMMENDED READING THAT I MIGHT WANT TO DISCARD!!!

    It doesn’t matter how much the listing agency loves him, I pay Taxi for a fair assessment of my music, and I AM NOT GETTING THAT BECAUSE YOU ONLY USE ONE SCREENER FOR MY SONGS.


    After 309 has heard 9 or 10 of my songs WHICH HE HAS, I believe it is completely impossible for him to be unbiased towards my music, in fact, I believe he can now spot my music blind folded because he hears it so much, practically every time I send something in, and I am TRAPPED BY WHAT HE AND HE ALONE THINKS OF IT.

    I don’t benefit from different opinions about my music from various Taxi Screeners, because I only hear ONE OPINION FROM TAXI ABOUT MY MUSIC, and that’s the opinion of screener 309.

    If Taxi only has ONE RAP MUSIC EXPERT, then how can Taxi claim that The TAXI A&R staff is really biased toward forwarding my material, The only Taxi Staff Member that really listens to my music, IS SCREENER 309.

    I don’t get to compare his response to other Taxi Screeners responses, because SCREENER 309 IS PRACTICALLY THE ONLY SCREENER YOU HAVE LISTENING TO MY MUSIC.

    YOU NEED MORE RAP SCREENERS, BECAUSE AT LEAST THEN I COULD BENEFIT FROM MULTIPLE OPINIONS, at least then I could have someone like screener 398 give me a heads up.


    And you can tell him I said it….

    I’ll even come to your Road Rally and tell him in person if he wants me to, I don’t care who he is…
    He, Them, whoever…


      1. I just received a critic back, that at 1st was a punch, but then it was harsh but honest, which I appreciate. After complementing the song said “it sounds like a bad mix of a bad recording” Recorded it in Nashville with top flight production I researched my files and found that I had uploaded a scratch track. It was rejected because it was stylistically off of the target, that it was more southern rock then rock with country infused. I recorded it when New Country was all the rave, which is pretty much 70’s rock with a taste of country. infused with Country
        The hardest thing for me in submitting is though they give so much info, what does it really mean and I am throwing a dart at it. Most recently was a listing for an ad; commercial of a Mother rough time with teen getting into the car, My New Name, a song about the child giving her a new name being born to her and reflection as she is in the car driving away could be a scenerio. but not knowing the flow of or even what the advertisement is all about, and if the listing which gave so much info but stopped short of that important part, knew themselves, and if not how could they reject or forward it anyway.
        Thank you for this great site. The response’s I have been receiving I believe are honest, but I am questioning the closeness of Taxi’s relationship, with those who are looking for said music

        1. Mike Mousso,

          “I am questioning the closeness of Taxi’s relationship, with those who are looking for said music.” If the relationships weren’t 100% real, would these success story posts in our members’ own words exist?

          Also, if the relationships weren’t rock solid, do you think we’d be able to get nearly 100 industry professionals to speak, teach, and mentor our members at our convention for the last 22 years?

          Spend 15 minutes just looking at the panels in the main ballroom:

          How about some photos from the 2017 Rally?

          The reason we don’t tell you what the product is for the TV commercial listing (and many others) is that we are not allowed to disclose things like that because the ad agency and their client (the product) don’t want their competitors knowing what their advertising strategy and commercials are going to be before they come out.

          I’m really troubled by your statement, “I am questioning the closeness of Taxi’s relationship, with those who are looking for said music.” Because you haven’t done any homework to know better, your statement is out there now for others to read, and it casts doubt on the veracity of our listings.

          Michael Laskow, CEO, TAXI

        2. Hello Bryon, I really appreciate your openness and sincerity. You were really addressing how I was feeling and questioning Taxi.
          I am re posting because I didn’t say Hello to you and how good it was coming across your forum here
          I was continuing in your forum and I came across Taxi’s owner Mr Laskow post. At first I got excited to see a 2018 post and continue reading. His response was troubling. I was feeling good about my renewed Taxi membership, I let it lapsed for 7 years. I was impressed with Taxi’s customer service call, they listened to my concerns, and encouraged me to submit to only listing I felt hit it 100%. I was even more impressed that they had my account still on hand, that I could pick up right where I left off. All of my library was there and remarkably all my old submissions, forwards, critiques from 2008 even. What I again am not impressed with is Mr Laskow handling of criticism, jumping all over you like that was and even responding to your DATED entries like that was very unsettling. He like before hurts his product like that. I was experiencing that the service was different than before, how can it not be we all grow with maturity learn from our mistakes and building blocks with relationships that are fruitful and pruning ones that were not for Taxi. But maybe what is different is me and the quality of my growth as a person as well as a publisher. I met Mr Laskow in Nashville. And yes I think my $300 membership and $120 submissions this October was / is worth it. Un fortunately I am back to my first concern, not only questioning legitimacy but but more important to me is Integrity. I was raised you don’t talk politics, religion, you never ask or tell someone how much money you make. Good for you Bryon for being that secure in yourself and the grace in which you responded.
          Keep up the Good Fight, and may your battles bring you more Wisdom

        3. Hello Bryon, it has been brought to my attention how part of my last post on Taxi was wrong to write. I want to retract my comment questioning the legitimacy and integrity of Taxi and Mr Laskow.
          You yourself had not done that, and I am not either. The service Taxi provides has been well worth my time, effort and investment, I would not hesitate to give them a positive, which most of my posting was meant to be. I have learned so much with so much more to learn. One being pushing post before actually being ready to.
          My apologies

  45. Bryon, I’ve been with Taxi two years, have probably submitted a couple of dozen times at $5 a pop, but haven’t had even one forward, so I don’t think I’ll renew for a third year. Interestingly, I’ve had screener 309 — your rap screener — reject my songs multiple times for “Adult Contemporary” and “Singer-Songwriter” listings. In Taxi’s defence, my music is hard to place because it’s a somewhat unique breed of traditional pop, but the critiques I’ve received have been inconsistent and what’s really annoyed me about Taxi is that when there has been a listing that perfectly suited my music, the screeners have still come up with BS reasons not to forward my songs. In one case, my song was rejected because the screener didn’t like literally one word in the lyric. The music business is hard, but I think I prefer to use services (and my own initiative) where I can pitch directly to the artists/producers/supervisors etc. At least then you’re in the game, whereas when you don’t get Taxi forwards, you’re paying Taxi not to play.

    1. Hard to believe it’s been 7 years since I wrote this article! The only time I hear about Taxi is through blog comments.

      I respect your decision to move on. If you’re not receiving at least useful criticism, I suppose there’s no point.

      That said, pitching directly is a monumental pain, and rather humbling. But if you’re willing to put in the time, it’s worth a shot!

  46. Interesting read. I’m thinking of giving Taxi a try. I know a few people who mostly write for film and tv who use it, and hit license, and they seem happy enough with it. I’ve been writing songs for a while, but they’re mostly obscure arty songs that no one wants to listen to. But I quite like a good pop song, so I’m going to try writing for the opportunities where they’re looking for songs for an artist. There seem to be quite a few at the moment. Going to write ‘specially for them, and see how it goes. I’m far too anti-social to use any other option, so I might as well.

    Reading your blog it might actually fit my needs at this point in time, though I’m not expecting much. But it’ll be interesting trying it. I feel with songwriting that you need to practice, practice, practice. It’s the demo creating bit I find hard, but it’ll push me to get the songs beyond lyrics on a piece of paper into something to be heard. Which from my perspective is a good thing.

  47. “Thanks for the resources Michael!”

    I think those might be better than “resources” Brian. Tons of actual EXAMPLES of people who’ve been successful using TAXI, some of whom have been making SIX-FIGURE INCOMES, and a couple making MULTIPLE six-figure incomes.

    They would be very quick to tell you that prior to TAXI, they had not made a penny from film or TV syncs, and virtually all of their relationships that led to those snycs and incomes happened as a result of joining TAXI.

    They submitted their music to the same company, and ostensibly got heard by the same TAXI screeners (and probably for many of the same opportunities) during the same time period during which you were a member.

    I’m grateful for your even-handed approach in your article, but I am also curious. Since you left TAXI 9 years ago, how much income have you averaged per year from sync placements you got post TAXI? I’m not asking that in a snide way… I’m genuinely curious?

    TAXI doesn’t work well for everybody, but we have noticed remarkable similarities in our successful members:

    1) They generally write to the listings rather than pitching old material

    2) They watch our weekly TAXI TV episodes:

    3) They are active on our forums and collaborate with other members they meet there

    4) They mostly pitch at requests for instrumentals because an hour long drama uses 2 or 3 songs. An hour long reality show uses about 100 instrumental cues.

    5) They come to the free convention we put on for our members every year, the Road Rally.

    As to you remarking that, “I’m sure things have changed quite a bit since I wrote this post nine years ago,” actually not that much. While I’m sure we have become even better at what we do over time, may of the successful members in those videos and on our forum, and on our website became successful during the same time period that you and many of the people who have commented here were members of TAXI.

    I wouldn’t want people to have the impression that we used to suck but got better after you left 😉

    Again, I’m not trying to be an a-hole, and I think you’re probably a very nice guy. But your article says that TAXI DID its job… we forwarded your music to the companies that requested it. We can’t force them to offer you or anybody else a deal. But our successes that happened during the same time period that you were a member shows that our connections did bear fruit. So, what were the variables?

    Again, I am seriously interested in knowing how much sync income you’ve averaged per year since leaving TAXI. I think that’s a fair question.

    Michael Laskow
    Founder/CEO, TAXI

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply on this Michael! Your comment got stuck in limbo and for some reason the site didn’t send me an email notification.

      Your comments echo the points I made in the post. Like you said, Taxi doesn’t work for everybody, but if you’re willing to put in the work and write to the listings, your chances of success go way up.

      If, like me, you’re just hoping to get more mileage out of your artist material, maybe its not the best fit.

      I even went so far as to say it could be worth it just for the educational value of the critiques and Road Rally.

      Was there anything I said in the article that struck you as inaccurate or unfair?

      In the years since Taxi, I more or less gave up on sync placements. I decided to work with Marmoset and Music Dealers and let them do the pitching. But I’m happy to answer your question anyway!

      I made maybe $5K through my contact at Bunim-Murray, $1500 through Marmoset, and nothing through Music Dealers. I guess I’ve made a few hundred from Getty from submissions years ago when they were Pump Audio, even though I long since cancelled.

      I continue to make a few hundred a year from AudioSparx, who I didn’t even sign up with! Someone posted my music there without permission, and since it was actually making money on their in-store radio service, they let me take over the account. I’ve been meaning to at least upload some instrumentals since they made me a featured artist.

      So… maybe $1K a year? That’s without spending a dime, or devoting any time beyond signing up and updating Marmoset and AudioSparx with new releases (I gave up on Music Dealers).

  48. And by the way, I’d like to personally thank Chuck Mott for posting this:

    “Chuck Mott
    October 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    And I’ve read on other sites the stuff submitted and forwarded through Taxi is of low quality. I have listened to a lot of the stuff that gets forwarded, and the majority of it is top notch. Many of the members have had dozens if not hundreds of placements on TV and Film. That much I suspect is true inasmuch as TAXI placing mainly TV and film based material.”

    Well said Chuck, thank you.

  49. Taxi is for people who can write and produce good songs quickly. For me personally, it is great for exploring my limitations, I find it humbling but informative. You will improve as a songwriter if you apply yourself but it is rough sailing if your efforts never seem good enough. Not Taxi’s problem, more a dose of reality from the music business for someone who’s never really tried to write commercially. I would have to dedicate considerable energy learning the craft to be successful but you do get something out of it by trying to write a new song every week or two.

    1. songu is better as a learning to songwrite tool. one of the problems with taxi is lack of sensible feedback. I was a taxi member for years and never got a single forward. it’s cookie cutter. I write what I like to write rather than on cue in a few days. to me real creativity comes with hard work and lots and lots of iterations on the same piece. me making quickly built stuff comes out cookie-cutter and basically junk

  50. I joined Taxi back in the late 90’s and was a member on & off up until 4 years ago. As much as I love the company and have the highest respect for Michael and the staff, I think their business model specifically for the film & TV licensing is a bit outdated since now days you can pretty much get the library & music supervisor information online.

    Even though Taxi might still be able to get you connected with some of the more “hard to get” decision makers, I see more & more writers getting deals on their own simply by doing some online homework.

    Taxi is a great resource for beginners who need to understand the finer points of songwriting and music licensing. I know they were an essential for me. The community is also one of the best. And of course the conference alone is worth the membership fee. But I see too many people who join Taxi just for the listings and not take advantage of the other resources they have, When they don’t get any deals or forwards they end up dumping on Taxi.

    Like I said Taxi is a great company, but in today’s world they might need to change things up a bit so that folks better understand that the listings are only icing on the cake to all the other resources they offer.

  51. Hi Gus,

    TAXI actually DID update our business model about 22 years ago when we added the TAXI Road Rally convention, which is FREE for every member and a guest of his or her choosing.

    • We also started doing weekly, 90-minute episodes of TAXI TV about 9 years ago, and our viewers tell us it’s better than going to college for music and music industry education.

    • We have what people say is the best online forum for music and music industry education.

    • We have a monthly newsletter with tons of substantive information about creating music and navigating the music industry.

    The problem is that the majority of people don’t take advantage of much of this incredible information because it feels like too much work. But, do you know who DOES come to the convention? Our most successful members!

    They realize that TAXI is much more than just the 1,200 opportunities ( ) to pitch their music every year.

    The people who really want to become successful take advantage of all the education we give them so they can pitch the RIGHT music to the right opportunities, so they can know if the deal they’re being offered is a good deal for them, and so they can learn to create music that people need and can USE!

    If you’re reading this and you don’t know the difference between and instrumental and an instrumental CUE, then you should join TAXI.

    • If you don’t know what a button or stinger ending is, then you should join TAXI.

    • If you don’t know what an “arc” is, then you should join TAXI.

    • If you don’t know what a universal lyric is, then you should join TAXI.

    • If you don’t know the difference between an exclusive deal, a non-exclusive deal, and a royalty free deal is, then you should join TAXI.

    • If you don’t know the difference between a song arrangement and an instrumental cue arrangement is, then you should join TAXI.

    • If your mom told you that your pretty little instrumental sounds like it should be in a movie and you believed her, you should join TAXI.

    TAXI’s model is 50% education and 50% industry access/pitching your music. We get you ready TO pitch your music, and the RIGHT music at that! We also teach you the music industry etiquette you need to keep those clients coming back to you for more music!

    As to the average Joe being able to find music libraries he can pitch to online – true! But TAXI offers connections to (as you mentioned) higher-end companies, music supervisors, and record labels. If you already know everything there is to know about the music industry and you like having your music in a few lower-quality libraries, then TAXI might not be a good fit for you.

    If, however, you’d rather know what the industry needs every day of the year and prefer to have your music in vetted, high-end catalogs, and pitch directly to music supervisors for TV, feature films, and big TV commercials, then TAXI is probably a great fit for you!

    As you mentioned Gus, the community that TAXI has created on our forum, on TAXI TV’s live chat, and especially at our convention, is unparalleled anywhere else in the industry. The collaborators and industry pros that our members meet BECAUSE of that community, has resulted in THOUSANDS of deals and placements!

    So, in the end TAXI’s model and services have expanded and become MUCH more than just pitching music. Sadly, there are still a lot of people who have tunnel vision and only see the opportunities. Many of them aren’t willing to take advantage of all the education and career building benefits TAXI offers because they are so “horny” to sign a deal.

    Those who DO take advantage of the education and community are quietly making tens of thousands of dollars a year (and even MULTI-SIX-FIGURE incomes).

    I had dinner two nights ago with two TAXI members that BOTH earn multi-six-figure incomes. As we were hanging out before we left for dinner, one of them said, “You bought me this condo.” He was gesturing to his gorgeous Hollywood condo, and he meant that the income he’s earned because of his TAXI membership for the last 20 years has paid for that home.

    The other long-time member chimed in, “Yeah, basically every connection I have came through TAXI. My entire career probably exists because of your company.”

    Both of those guys make what I like to call, “Doctor/Lawyer income.”

    And finally, nothing makes me happier than getting emails like this from the people and companies that use TAXI to find new music.

    From a film/TV music publisher:

    “BTW…I know I’m terrible at remembering to tell you this…but I need to let you know, that we’re doing a TON of business with the TAXI writers that we’ve signed music with.

    And…if/when ANY of the writers ever talk or complain about the TAXI membership fees, etc… I tell them to please stay the course…because it definitely works…it’s win win business…for you, for me, and for absolutely for them!

    Looking forward to seeing you again my brother!

    All my best,

    Thanks for reading,
    Michael Laskow, founder, TAXI

  52. Hi Brian,

    Having joined Taxi back in April 2017, I am almost at 250 forwards. About 90% of my material is made up of film, television, ambient music, and piano instrumentals. Unfortunately, I haven’t had any contact or calls from prospective music industry reps. I know there isn’t a set formula to be considered for a possible deal, but for now I’m thinking that once I reach 300-400 forwards that maybe a publisher or music library might possibly reach out to me? On the other hand maybe I should think in terms of years instead of the number of forwards?

    I just agreed to have Taxi include me in their next monthly edition of, “Taxi Favorites,” which I hope might bring more exposure? I really think highly of Taxi, but I don’t think I should solely depend upon them or any one company for potential success? What else has worked for you, and do you have any recommendations of which record companies/publishers/music libraries I might contact?

    My SoundCloud page link is: ‪‬. My website link is: ‪‬

    Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated!


    Carl Lord

    1. 250 forwards in a little over a year and a half is beyond impressive Carl! And unlike me, it sounds like you’re actually producing types of music that stand a chance of landing deals.

      Unless your forwards are going to the same publisher or music library, and your stuff grows on them over time, I don’t see the number of forwards as being a useful metric. One great forward could change your career, and a thousand useless forwards will do exactly nothing.

      I’ve made very little effort in this area over the past few years, so I’m definitely not the best one to ask, but I’m working with AudioSparx and Marmoset. I’d wager the former could really work out for you if you’re willing to put in the time to properly tag everything. It is a monumental pain in the ass though.

  53. Thank you Brian for the quick response. I also failed to mention that the majority of my submissions are written for specific Taxi listings. I find that I’m more productive when I have a deadline to meet. I also appreciate the info about AudioSparx and Marmoset. I will certainly investigate each of them.

  54. This forum has been extremely helpful. Thank you to Brian and everyone.

    If Taxi is now largely focused on TV / film / Ad licensing of instrumental tracks, what are the best ways to submit songs (with singing and lyrics) to country artists and others who might want to record them?

  55. Like many other posters here, I did my stint with Taxi. They were always nice, always seemed professional, but after 2+ years and hundreds of dollars spent on dues and forward submissions I got zero money-producing offers. None. I also tried the likes of Music X-Ray, MusicGorilla, Music Gateway, pretty much all the main players in the pay-for-play/listen category. Zero results. But my music was strong and studio-recorded with outstanding players. So I shifted my focus to a different generation of licensing sites. I joined SongTradr in 2017 and in 2 years I have over 50 song licenses (overhead media, apps, etc.). At that time it was $7.99 a month to go “Pro” but I chose the $39.99 per year option and no additional fees. Last year I joined Pond5 (FREE version) and in 8 months I have 6 licenses — actually making more money than the higher tally on SongTradr.

    Now that it’s 2019 I’m brand new to MusicSupervisor (less than a week) and hopefully soon with Marmoset (waiting to hear back). I write across a variety of genres and have WAV files of full vocal tracks, instrumental versions and edits, so I take these recent successes as PROOF that my music is plenty good enough. Just not on the pay-everytime-you-might-qualify-oops-probably-not-but-thanks-for-trying sites.

    Here’s a SoundCloud link to show the quality I’ve submitted to ALL of the above. I’m very proud of my new EP Music Man Tonight and those 4 tracks are near the top.

    1. These are some solid leads Bob — thanks!

      I’m worried that Marmoset won’t allow the tracks on SongTradr, as they don’t want to compete with cheap libraries like Rumblefish, Getty, etc.

      Your stuff sounds solid to me! Well produced with great vocals.

  56. I’m a former Taxi member. I met a lot of great people on Taxi. Their forum was a great place to meet other writers. As far as placements, I never had any luck with them. I did much better reaching out to well known publishers and signed some songs with them. I write mainly country, and Taxi may have contacts in country, but in their entire existence they have had very few country cuts. Nashville has an unwritten rule which everyone follows. NO OUTSIDE CUTS! You can spend money pitching to them, pay for critiquing, even win major songwriting contests, but no cuts! They dangle the carrot and make excuses to keep the money flowing in. You will get an outstanding demo of your songs for sure. I would recommend moving there if you’re serious and pitch to TV film, but spare a fortune making artist pitches. Just my opinion.

  57. OMG this owner and his post alone are making me really hate him as a person period. like i get it you have a business that you need to run but either run a well run business OR STFU on blogs trying to persuade people in a nasty ass tone that you are worth the $$. If the writer sees the benefit in using you that’s great but if you come across like a major arse, I’ll remember Taxi for that reason alone. FOH

  58. Funny…..all this talk of song critiques – lyrics, etc. And then you listen to the top 20 records being played on every station in the country, most of which are jive shit songs anyway…

  59. I have a pretty awkward and relevant experience to share…

    Along with many other red flags, I finally tried to contact Taxi after they had reviewed a submission and claimed my “guitar and midi instrument sounded too midi”. They were an Mbira and a Kora. Both very well known African instruments. I was given the run around, so finally posted a complaint to the BBB. I wasn’t suing, I wasn’t complaining to a government agency, I was just writing a critique of my own that I had doubts about their actualy effectiveness and ethics.

    Not even 24 hours after I complained to the BBB, the owner of took my phone number from the BBB and called me. He kept me on the phone for two hours, claiming that he was trying to “answer my questions”. During this call, he threatened several times that if I did not remove my review, he would be forced to eviscerate me in his rebuttal to the BBB. If this business is so professional and prominent, why did my one little review threaten him so much?

    The rest of the call was a sad sales pitch. Not one of my concerns was addressed professionally. I asked him about the screeners and he touted “If you saw their resumes, you would take back every word you have said and be in my office crying”. Then stated that in the past, he had flown a “young lady” in to his office to do just that. I immediately wondered if I was a man, would he have so immediately pegged me as a young, blubbering mess rather than a professional musician and engineer with more than 30 years of experience? Incidentally, I was never shown a resume of a music screener, but was instead invited to pay $75 to have one of his screeners further critique my music.

    Then I asked the owner of Taxi why, after 20 years of their helping artists like myself, I had never read a success story about the service from a source other than his site. He told me it was because “Artists don’t give services like credit for their successes”. I almost spit out my coffee. He meant to tell me that of the large number of successes he claims to have created, not one artist ever gave his company credit? Also, did he seriously just mansplain musicians to me, as if I hadn’t been a musician for 30 years of my life? Next, I asked him about the negative customer reviews, since they far exceeded the number of positive ones. He explained to me that those reviews were most likely written by his competitors and not real artists. That’s right, every single musician who negatively reviewed him was a competing company catfishing the public.

    This self-proclaimed professional then continued to further back pedal and tell me that I “fit a profile” of artists who complain and that us complainers just haven’t used the taxi site enough. We haven’t seen his video clips that explain why his business is the best. We haven’t indoctrinated ourselves in the taxi forum (where I’ve actually read posts from members stating “We’re not supposed to say bad things about Taxi here”). Then he went on to tell me that at least they’re not Broadjam, which posts fake listings and steals members’ submission fees. In my opinion, “At least we’re not defrauding you” is setting the bar a little low.

    I’m done wasting my time on this unprofessional sh*t show.

    1. Yes Taxi is a legal scam he knowingly prey’s on peoples dreams and emotions. They can hear someone that is tone deaf knowing they will never do anything but tell them to keep sending money! Just ask yourself if all those music biz professionals are so knowledgeable and hot why do they need to be employed by Taxi ? Its run the same as an investment scam REALLY it is they use the same tactics. Don’t question them , its always your fault if your not seeing a return oh and gotta have the pep rally ! To keep you excited and investing in your future with them. Lol. Millions of dollars flow into that company but very little flows out. But they will send glossy pictures and success stories of the less than 1% . Gotta have some success or there not legit Right lol. Its a scam and the CEO knows it .

  60. Guys, weighing in here after about six years in the trenches as a solo singer-songwriter. I’ve been following Brian Hazard since 2014. Good man. I’ve been aware of Taxi since I had a going-concern band (touring, recording, making money) in the 90’s. Thought Taxi was a scam then. Still do.
    BUT here’s the qualifier that applies somewhat to Taxi and in varying degrees to other promotional/pr/artist facilitating entities. I’m including “360” outfits that, as their name implies, are full-service outfits that provide promotion, pr, marketing, playlisting, synch licensing, etc. for their roster artists/clients, and the many outfits promising help getting TV and film placements. Also including labels and top-tier playlisters, like Alex Rainbird and Gorilla.
    I can only speak to my situation, but I think it applies to a lot of us. I will leave it to each of you reading this to take a hard look in the mirror and soul-search to see if this applies to you. I believe in my songs. I think I’m a decent songwriter, but my vocals are not the best and I have to say I’m probably in a territory most would call “mediocre.” Hurts, but I have to own it. This has nothing to do with whether one believes in oneself. I do. But after six years of no traction and no prospects, I have to face realities. I’m also older and don’t sound “young and contemporary.” That makes a difference. My fans are out there somewhere, but it would take a huge budget – hundreds of thousands of dollars, wisely spent – to reach them. Relentless touring is another option, but not now.
    So, hear me out.
    I hired a great PR firm to help me, which eventually included working with an industry veteran to pitch my songs to music supervisors. I spent thousands of dollars. They believed in me, musically, or wouldn’t have taken me on as a client in the first place. More on that dynamic in a moment.
    But try as they might, they couldn’t get any traction with my songs, and I have hundreds of ’em, with any music supes. Now, that, in of itself, might not be a hopeless sign. It is, after all, a marathon and can take months and months to get a placement, to break in.
    BUT here’s the thing.
    While I was striking out, every single other artist they were working with, including some relative beginners, were getting placements galore. After more than a year, we all agreed to part ways. Frankly, they were starting to feel guilty taking my money and it was probably hurting their credibility, which leads me to that “dynamic” I hinted at earlier: whether a company or individual agent is going to take you on as a client to begin with! The reputable ones with integrity and honor, who know how the business works and respect all of us busting our asses and hearts to try and succeed, will not take you on as a client, will not take your money, if they don’t think you have the goods, or the potential to have the goods. They have to hear “something.” Yes, it’s subjective, but they also know the marketplace and what their “customers/audience” – Music Supervisors, Playlisters, Tastemakers, Journalists – are looking for, need, like, want. Either you’re already kickin’ it or you’re a diamond in the rough. I’ve applied to three different concerns that offer programs that develop artists with a goal of getting them on playlists, placements in TV, film, commercials, video games, etc., college bookings, other gigs, etc. I had to “audition,” as it were. Not perform, but submit my songs and my website and social media so they could see if I was “serious” about music.
    I didn’t make the grade. Rejected.
    None of these programs are cheap, so I’m glad I didn’t shell out the thousands of dollars. “Waste” would be the more accurate word. They knew I had no chance, not even a chance to be developed in their program. Yeah. That’s some serious suckage reality. Not even potential. Of course, their rep and cred is also in play. They don’t want to deal with mediocre, out-of-touch artists who have nothing to offer for their clients/audience. Yes, in a way, these are the new “record labels.” We know labels passed, and still pass, on some true talent. But not much. Mostly, they do sign, and develop, actual talent.
    While I was disappointed – and there have been many other rejections over the years – I was appreciative they didn’t take my money.
    NOW, that’s not the case with scammers like Taxi AND others.
    Recently, I was invited to sign-up for a program – not cheap – that doesn’t audition/vet its prospective students. They’ll take anyone! When I asked them why they don’t at least make sure someone is even remotely viable, their response: they didn’t want to rule someone out because they had a very rough, lo-fi, non-professional recording, maybe something they did on their phone. PLUS, they clamed they didn’t have “the time” to screen everyone. They also, in all their presentations, tout lots of testimonials and success stories and claim that their students have a “very strong chance” for placements. They absolutely give the impression you have a very real shot. BUT of course they STRESS they can’t “guarantee” anything. Of course…
    I ain’t buying it and for all the reasons I outlined above. I’ve been there. A bunch. They are very likely not going to find anything for me. Not defeatist. Realist. I’m certainly not going to pour another $2K down the drain to find out…
    So, my advice is: don’t sign up for ANY concern that promises potential placements – film, TV, commercials, playlists, ‘zines, radio, etc. – unless they take the time to check your stuff out first and have a frank conversation with you. It’s like a job interview, right?
    Now, have a tried all the thousands of companies and agents trying to pitch musicians/bands/songwriters?
    Of course not.
    Mine is a very small, completely unscientific sample.
    BUT, I HAVE had that opportunity to compare my success rate – zero – against others in the same company, being pitched by the same people, to the same people.
    I’ve also turned influential playlisters onto certain acts, which they appreciated, but when it came to my songs? Nope. Not interested. Because I don’t have the goods. My songs are mediocre and not “of the time.” Of course, one of the things I mentioned to my song pitcher was “Well, what about shows or films looking for music that sounds like it’s from the 90’s, or the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s? Or they want some mediocre-sounding songs for some reason? Ha ha.”
    Didn’t make the grade there either. They were genuinely sorry and I believe them. I think they honestly thought I had a shot.
    Does this mean I stop creating, stop making music, stop forging on through the fog?
    No. I might as well stop breathing.
    Again, my audience is out there. YOUR audience is out there. I don’t care if you’re doing Lithuanian kazoo music. Your audience is out there. But that’s our Mount Everest. Finding and connecting with them. IF it matters. If you’re happy just creating music for yourself and maybe a handful of folks, then fine and more power to you. But if you’re really spinning your wheels musically, but want to make a living, want to get airplay, want to get gigs and streams, etc., it’s going to be tough if most/almost all of the gatekeepers are telling you/me/us, repeatedly, “Sorry kid. I just don’t hear it.”
    I know this may not be easy to hear. And if you want to tell me to jump in a lake, I say “good for you, and more power to you.” But I can see the writing on my wall. I have my uber-fans, but so many doors are not open to me. And believe me, I’ve knocked on thousands of doors at this point. I’m going to keep knocking, but I am trying to be more strategic and philosophical about it all. I’m certainly steering clear of scams like Taxi. In the final analysis, it’s really not these companies’ faults if I don’t get placements with my mediocre, out-of-touch, “unhip” music.
    If my songs are/were high-quality, relevant, authentic, sonically-pleasing, cool, etc. it would already be happening for me. For any of us. I’ve watched far too many acts/bands start doing music AFTER me and zoom by me to get airplay, get signed, get placements, streams, tours, etc. while I sit on the sidelines watching. Creating and hustling, yes, and staying as upbeat as I can, but not breaking through. Have to face these things. I have to acknowledge that a lot of these musicians ARE good, ARE talented. I really dig some of them! I endorse, share, and support a lot of them. (Most of the musicians I like are Indie, Americana, singer-songwriter, Indie pop, New Folk, EDM, shoe-gaze, Brit-pop, Red Dirt, country-rock-punk, etc. No hip-hop or rap or Top 40, etc.)
    Doesn’t mean it’s a cakewalk for any of them either. This is a tough business, kids, and Covid sure ain’t doing us any favors.
    Well, I hope this helps someone, anyone, reading this. Hope you’ll take my brutal honesty in the spirit it’s offered.
    Cream will, eventually, rise to the top. So, we need to try and become “cream.” And what really matters is what YOU think, how YOU feel. If you believe in your music, then it’s real, authentic, “cream,” even if the hipsters and tastemakers don’t feel it. Perspective, right? And persistence and patience. Truckloads of that…Thanks for wading through and good luck to us all!

  61. TAXI would be better suited if it advertised that it was more if a educational/ learning company for a fee instead of a A@R vehicle. (Artist and repertoire) That’s really false advertising because #1 A@R people worked closely with artist to help , mold and shape them into something the record company could hopefully make money off of. #2 A@R doesn’t really even exists anymore and you cant do A@R work for Thousands of people. They act more like a big bulk publishing company pitching songs but unlike a publishing company it does not matter how many times they are wrong how many great songs they overlook they still get paid ! Lol . Think about that !! Start a company where you can be wrong , miss the mark say 50 % of the time and still get rich !! Its really genius !! No sweat off them if they refuse your song you have already paid them. Look there are industry professionals all over Youtube offering classes, free advice learn all you want. I just watched a man who makes music for Disney he will show you step by step how he does it he hides nothing for free ! He will ask you to subscribe to his channel and if you want to you can send him a little money and that is fair. Taxi is a money making machine yes you might get lucky but there are a lot less expensive ways to get lucky.

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