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TAXI is an Independent A&R company, based in Calabasas, CA, that was founded in 1992 by music veteran Michael Laskow with the intent of helping songwriters, artists, bands, and composers get their music heard by record labels, music publishers, and supervisors of film/TV projects.
Taxi has over 10,000 members in all 50 States and in over 90 countries. For an annual fee, members of Taxi are sent an updated list of requests for specific types of music and artists from companies within the music, film, and television industries every two weeks.
Members submit their original recorded music before the deadline date specified in what Taxi refers to as an “Industry Listing”. A fee is charged for each submission. Every piece of music that is submitted towards the industry listings is reviewed by Taxi’s A&R team, they then make the decision of whether or not the music is on target for what was requested by the industry, and choose to either send it along to the listing company, or return it to the songwriter. When a member’s music is forwarded onto the listing company, Taxi does not take any part, monetarily, or in the negotiations of the potential deals.
A quick perusal of their user forum shows a clear majority of placements came from networking and not through the actual forwarding of materials by TAXI to industry professionals.
Taxi’s A&R team is made up industry professionals who are experts in a specific genre of music. The A&R team is responsible for listening to every song submitted to Taxi, and making the subjective decision as to whether or not the song(s) are exactly what the industry listing is requesting. Many of the submissions are critiqued, and returned to the member with written feedback.
Taxi's A&R team members  are required to have worked as at least one of the following:
- An A&R person who has worked at a major label, or a credible independent label.
- A publisher who worked at a major publishing company, or credible independent publisher.
- A music journalist with strong credentials.
- A TV or film music supervisor with strong credits.
- A record producer who has credits on nationally released and/or charted musical work.
- An artist signed, or formerly signed to a major label or a credible independent label.
- A current or former staff writer for a major publishing company or credible independent publisher.
Companies within the music business contact Taxi to request music from independent bands, artists, songwriters, and composers within Taxi's membership base. The requests are turned into classified style ads, and delivered to the members on the 1st and 15th of every month (except for January 1) via either email or postal mail "Rules Of The Road".
Industry listings include the type of listing company, genre(s) requested, referenced artists, deadline date for music to be received by Taxi in order to screen, and any additional relevant information provided to Taxi. The name of the listing company remains undisclosed to the member unless the material that they submitted is chosen to be sent to the listing company. This is a firewall to prevent members from knowing whether those are bona fide opportunities or empty entreaties for paid submissions.
The types of companies that run listings with Taxi are:
- Major record labels.
- Major publishers.
- Small and mid-size publisher with verifiable cuts on nationally released and/or charted products
- Music supervisors with credits/tracks in nationally released films or TV shows.
- Independent record labels that have nationally released and distributed, or charted product.
- Producers who have credits on nationally released and distributed, and/or charted material.
- Nationally distributed production music library companies with song placements in major films, TV shows or commercials.
- Managers with major label affiliations.
Taxi’s membership base includes both amateur, and professional songwriters. In any given year, Taxi reports that 6% of all members gets a deal through their service, but also acknowledge that the number is skewed due to members not reporting deals to Taxi. Members have signed recording contracts, publishing contracts, and numerous licensing contracts for film and TV placements. Some of Taxi’s most successful artists include Crossfade, who signed a record deal with the Earshot division of Columbia Records, Erik Hickenlooper and Jim Funk who had a #1 Hit called “Buy Me a Rose,” (recorded by Kenny Rogers) that resulted from a Publishing Contract, Matt Hirt, who has had placements in film and TV resulting from Taxi connections, as well as Mark Crozer, bass player for Jesus and Mary Chain, whose solo effort "Broken Out in Love" was acquired by World Wrestling Entertainment as entrance music for the character Bray Wyatt. Mark Crozer and the Rels would play the song live for Wyatt's entrance at Wrestlemania 30 in front of 70,000 + fans.
The Taxi website has a message board with topics including “forwards,” success through Taxi, songwriting, lyrics, music business, and music technology. Of the subforums available, the General Hangout section is the most heavily used, with over 20,000 posts. As of May 2008, the TAXI forums had over 5,900 members.
TAXI was founded on January 15, 1992 by Michael Laskow in Woodland Hills, California. Laskow was an engineer/ producer in the 1970s and 1980s working with artists such as Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Cheap Trick and others.
- "Interview with Michael Laskow"
- "New Media, New Money" 'Berklee Today' by Mark Small
- "Interview with Michael Laskow" 'Indie-Music.com' by Suzanne Glass, November 4, 2006
- "Michael Laskow" 'Prorec.com', by Rip Rowan, September 30, 1999.
- TAXI.com — official home page