Posts Tagged ‘Michael Laskow’

Broadcast quality tracks

March 9, 2010

Songwriters, check out this item from Taxi’s blog. It discusses how even a basic instrumental track with only one or two instruments can be sold for TV and film, and how much simpler it is to record this type of music at your home studio (compared to a full blown vocal piece with a band).


August 6, 2009

Laskow Sivers

I received this email from Taxi president, Michael Laskow. It contains a plug for Taxi, of course, but more importantly, it is a message for songwriters that I think many of us need to hear. It’s been a few years, but the message it just as true today as it was in 2004.

Full disclosure: I am a paying member of Taxi and I get no compensation or benefits from reprinting this email.

Dear Passengers,

I had dinner last night with Derek Sivers from CDBaby. We’ve been friends for years, and get together one or twice a year to just hang out and talk about our companies, our lives, and musicians in general. It’s always refreshing…for lack of a better word.

Derek and I are part of a very small group of people on the planet who deal with large numbers of indie artists and songwriters. Therefore we understand what very few others on Earth would even be aware of.

I think I monopolized the conversation for a while, speaking about my deeply felt frustration that every musician/writer/artist that I’m in contact with isn’t “successful,” when the majority of them could be. Of course, it depends on how each of you defines success.

One thing I’ve come to learn over the years is that most people really don’t have the expectation that they can be a multi-platinum rock star. Some of you do, but not the majority.

Just by staying in touch with you, I’ve come to understand that most of you want some sort of validation that your music is as good as you think it is. That “validation” might be in the form of TV placement, a cut on an album, an indie label deal, and for others, the elusive major label deal.

All those options are wide open, and as you’ve come to know from my letters, Film and TV placements are the easiest. So, why don’t more of you just go for it? We’ve got a fair number of members who’ve belonged to TAXI for years and never submit a single song.

We’ve got huge numbers of people on our “not-yet-members” list who keep thinking about taking the plunge, but they don’t.

We’ve all joined a gym at least once and petered out quickly, but this is MUSIC. You love to make music. Recording music shouldn’t make you sweat, and it won’t give you sore muscles!

I know it’s easier to just do nothing, but in the back of your mind you’re always going to wonder “what if?”

It’s a new year, and it’s becoming a new music industry. Don’t be a brick! Do something. Make forward movement. Take a chance. Take several.

If not TAXI, then form a band, play a gig, or write a song. Don’t be a spectator. Life is SO short. Please don’t spend yours just existing day to day. Accomplish something. Leave some sort of legacy. Feel good about yourself.

I’ve finally gotten this off my chest — whew. Welcome to 2005 kids!

Talk to you soon,


Reprinted with permission from TAXI: the world’s leading independent A&R company helping unsigned bands, artists and songwriters get record deals, publishing deals and placement in films and TV shows.

© 2004 TAXI. All rights reserved.

Taxi Road Rally songwriter convention

November 8, 2008


First post from the west coast.

I’m writing from the 12th Annual Taxi Road Rally, a mecca for serious songwriters. In this post I’ll give you an overview of what goes on at a typical Road Rally. Over the next few days I’ll share some of the goodies I learned.

If you are not familiar with it, the Road Rally is a convention for songwriters, those who are recording artists themselves (singer/songwriters and the like) as well as those who don’t perform, but who write songs for other recording artists and music for film and TV.

The convention is limited to Taxi members and their guests and it is free. As someone who is now attending his 4th Road Rally, I can say without qualification that it’s a truly an easy way to meet industry people and peers, learn a boatload of ‘insider’ information in a few short days and have a great time doing it.

The information I’m talking about is not only about songcraft fundamentals, writing melody, chords, lyrics, how to re-write, collaborate, record and mix demos (and much more), but also info on the business side: how to build a fanbase, use email to sell more merch, how to pitch songs, indie marketing and PR, etc.

This info came in the form of workshops, panels, one-on-one and small group mentoring sessions, plus all the random interactions at meals, in the hallways, in song circles, open mikes and late night jams.

One particularly inspiring moment was when Taxi CEO Michael Laskow presented the Living Legend Award to Lamont Dozier, co-writer of such Motown hits as Heat Wave, Where Did Our Love Go, How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you), Baby Love, Come See about Me, Stop in the Name of Love, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), I Hear a Symphony, It’s the Same Old Song, This Old Heart of Mine, Jimmie Mack, You Can’t Hurry Love, Standing in the Shadows of Love, Reach Out I’ll Be There, Band of Gold, Give Me Just a Little More Time and many more, but my fingers are getting tired. After the Motown Era, he continued to write hit songs for himself and other artists.

The Real Secret to Selling Your Music

July 21, 2008

I love to read business books — especially marketing books. One theme that is repeated throughout many of my favorite marketing books is that you (or your product) need to represent just one thing. If you can’t describe what or who you are as an artist in a single, succinct sentence, how can you expect anybody else to?

Why does that matter?

Imagine that you’ve just discovered a new artist that you’re absolutely head over heels about. You tell a friend. The friend responds with, “What do they sound like?” If your answer is, “I can’t really describe her,” there’s little chance your friend will run out to buy the CD.

On the other hand, if your answer had been, “She sounds like Lucinda Williams meets Sheryl Crow,” then your friend would immediately have a mental picture and be able to decide if that type of artist would be appealing enough that he would go buy a copy.

I’m not saying that you need to change your music. I’m suggesting that you find a way to label it or describe it in such a way that it makes it easier for word of mouth to work in your favor.