Tech Tip:What to Do When You Get a Call From a TAXI Forward
By B.Z. Lewis
You've recorded your demo, submitted your song to the TAXI listing, and sprinkled magic fairy dust in the envelope. A few weeks later, the phone rings from someone who wants to place your music in a film. Congratulations! After settling on a deal, now the work really begins. This is where the people who are in it for a lifetime separate themselves from the people who are "one-placement wonders". Don't be one of them, be the guy (or gal or band) who makes a serious income from one or a few key placements earned through TAXI's service.
A lot of people don't realize that after TAXI forwards the songs to the company that posted the listing, TAXI is no longer involved in the process. They are completely hands-off. It's entirely up to you to maintain the connection with the people that called. Perhaps you have not made the Film Company aware that maybe there is an album's worth of material just like the song(s) that was forwarded.
More than likely they have no idea who you are or what you do, and you have to let them know about it. It works both ways - you have no idea what their needs are unless you ask. For example, suppose the Film Company calls about a listing they ran with TAXI looking for modern rock, and in your spare time away from your band you like to write ambient techno. You never know, by just mentioning that you compose this kind of material during the phone call, it might remind them that they are also looking for some "fresh" new techno for a scene in the film, or that they might need it sometime in the near future. Offer to send it to them, get the address, and send it right away.
Any successful businessperson knows that a customer who has already bought something from you is much more likely to buy from you again. Once they know that you are a composer/songwriter of some importance, they are almost always willing to accept and listen to a package from you. After all, they called you, didn't they?
What about the new album you're working on? You're dying to send it, but it won't be ready for another month or so. Don't despair- send a CDR of a few songs that are completed, and send them the finished CD when it's back from the duplication house with nice graphics and cellophane wrapping.
If you're worried about sending the same songs to a music supervisor under the above scenario, just imagine that not only will the songs look great in a CD package, the pieces may seem familiar or catchy to the listener in a second listening-hopefully in a way that creates a sense of acceptance for your music. Every business does this-it's called multiple exposures.
Whatever happens, don't let this new contact fade away. Too many times composers simply won't get around to contacting these strangers that drop placements from the sky. These are real people who are real busy. Time flies and you will be forgotten if you are not in their face often. Email them about what's new in your music. Are you playing a show? Put these people on your bands' email list. Have you had another placement through TAXI? Let them know about it. Create a sense of urgency that it's important that they get a chance to use your music before anyone else does. Have you been working on a few more songs since they used your music in that film a few months ago? Call them and see if they would like to receive your new stuff.
This business is often about timing, and sometimes your call or email will come at a time when what you do is just what they need. After a while, these people will get to know you, and you'll be surprised to find that every so often they will give you a call to see if there is anything new. Even if you just sent them something last month, go ahead and send them whatever you might have-they obviously need it if they called you.
As a musician, you are constantly composing and writing, and hopefully recording as well. Be prolific. Shoot for getting together a small library of material. Don't let the word "library" scare you-it can be from previous bands, your current project(s), and the music you make in your spare time. You might be surprised to find out just how much music you've made. Remember that band you were in from high school that recorded that CD? Weren't there a few good songs on that release? Try to make your little library organized in terms of style so that when someone calls, you immediately know what to send.
After a few placements from music supervisors, you now have a small credit list. Use this for leverage-in other words, let people know what you've done. Having a previous credit-even if you have only one- gives you a great deal of respect. It's a sort of foot in the door to the entire industry. People are more willing to listen to you if they know you had a song on MTV or are currently involved in a publishing deal. In other words, you suddenly have clout. Use it.
Even if you have yet to have a single forward, just remember that all it takes is one phone call from someone to make a difference. Listen to your reviews from the TAXI screeners and make the best music you can. Good luck!
B.Z. Lewis has made a career out of TAXI. His music has been placed on all the major networks, platinum selling video game titles, 15 independent films, regional and local ad campaigns—all from contacts made through TAXI. He owns and operates Studio 132, a recording studio in San Francisco, and composes music for film and TV through his company called PopTuna. He lives with wife Margaret and son Max in a suburb of San Francisco. www.studio132.com.