Five Year Update

Did you get a deal through TAXI? Lets hear about it!

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Kolstad
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Re: Five Year Update

Post by Kolstad » Thu Feb 18, 2021 7:08 am

Telefunkin wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:28 am
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
Hi Mark,
You seem very produdctive, creative and consistant with the cues and signings. Really well done!

However, I find your earnings quite depressing. Can you elaborate more on what type of deals and libraries you have made? Do you make instrumental cues only, or full songs too? Is it mainly from low tier libraries, or do you have music in higher tiers too? Have you done albums? Have you done blanket deals?

The ROI seems awfully low from all of that work, imho.
Hi Kolstad, Your comments are most interesting, especially as I know how much hard work Mark puts into making music. You make the same point about ROI that I was making earlier - Mark has done very well, but a ton of effort to make very good music and do the right things has not yet brought huge returns.

By the way, I'm not grumbling or on some sort of negativity crusade. I don't consider myself to be sufficiently talented or hard working to be highly successful, and besides, the business doesn't owe anyone a living so its up to all of us to find our way through. However, for many of us making sync music is a labour of love rather than a serious earner. We all see things differently based on our experiences and those of others we know about, but I'm intrigued by the gap between expectations and the reality that many of us experience. Your comment suggests that some of this might be as a results of making poor choices, so I'm most curious to know more. I'd always choose to put my tracks in 'high tier libraries', but opening those doors can be a lengthy endeavour :).
Hi Graham,

I did not mean to accuse anyone of making poor choices. When you are rolling, you are rolling. That is why Im posing some follow-up questions, because the retrospect analysis may reveal something that could be done differently. It would be interesting to hear more thoughts about that. It may be that the options were poor at the time, the insight into deals or the library market was low at the time, or something else. Also are all the placements in the US market, or are there EU placements as well?

Regarding earnings, yes, I was looking at the numbers from a business perspective only, and that may be different from you and Mark. It may be worth hanging there for the love of it, but that value is personal and relative. Again, it would be interesting to hear more thoughts about ambitions. Are the earnings important, if no, it's all good, no more questions asked. But if earnings are important, where to go from these numbers?

If only looking at these numbers, I would dismiss this as sustainable all together, but more detail might reveal some premises that can keep hopes up.

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by cosmicdolphin » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:49 am

Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
You seem very produdctive, creative and consistant with the cues and signings. Really well done!
Thanks K
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
However, I find your earnings quite depressing.
Well - I guess that depends on your POV. I'm not prone to depression for one and I'm not doing it just for the money either - I'd be making music even without Libraries or Taxi although it probably wouldn't be anything very licensable or that anyone outside of friends and family would want to listen to. So I'm partly in in for the thrill of the chase, partly for the friends made along the way and partly for my 15 minutes of fame when you get a good placement.

The fact I've earned anything from music has surprised a lot of people including myself when you think of all the millions of musicians out there making music, let alone all the folks that will try services like Taxi for a while and then give up on it. So I count myself as one of the lucky few though I make my own luck.
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
Can you elaborate more on what type of deals and libraries you have made?

It's a whole mixture across the board really. If you want names and numbers PM me. But generally...

2 x Non Ex Taxi Friendly - one of them placed my highest earning cue and don't even have a website...the other was " Critical " ( US Based ) and pay a sync fee - one placement from half a dozen cues

4 x Taxi Friendly Exclusive - the two I've been with the longest have gotten me similar amounts of placements, in the mid teens now. One is too new to tell and the other only has a smaller amount of cues but have one placement ( US based )

1 x Exclusive UK Library that was started a few years back by a composer - one radio placement from 20 cues

1 x Exclusive PMA listed Library - Took 20 cues directly - No placements after several years ( US Based )

1 x Exclusive Library that payed $50 per cue but took some of the writers - Did 15 and had a couple of placements since 2019 ( US based )

1 x German/Uk Based Library with major Sub Pubs - Focusing on this Library now, got accepted in November 20 ..had a first placement from my 2nd submission

Those are the main ones..I tried other RF type places where they let you upload stuff with minimal screening, who sell music to Youtubers etc..for a ton of time and effort only ever had the one " sale " ..not worth my time. One of them works with Taxi or at least used to as I had an offer a few years ago.

My non-ex catalogue is in a few other random non -ex libraries and I've had the odd placement from that lot but nothing really worth mentioning. Since 2018 most of my cues have gone into Exclusive Catalogues, most of them have sub-pub deals and a few of them have distribution with the big boys.
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
Do you make instrumental cues only, or full songs too?
Yes almost all instrumental cues due to the hassle of finding the right singer etc. I am a songwriter but I just found a better workflow was to work on instrumentals.
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
Have you done albums?
Yes I've done a number of albums for a few different libraries , had a few placements but some it's too early to tell and others have been held back due to Covid
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
Have you done blanket deals?
Most of the libraries do blanket deals yes, I've had some blanket split payments too for getting cues placed under the blanket deal
Kolstad wrote:
Thu Feb 18, 2021 1:27 am
The ROI seems awfully low from all of that work, imho.
As an hourly rate it's maybe a tenth of minimum wage :lol:

But in terms of challenging oneself, meeting new friends , the thrill of your music being on a TV show and obviously enjoying the music making process then it's a worthwhile endeavor.

I'd probably be sat watching TV or playing Fifa otherwise and I'd rather do this. I think the money will grow - If I can grow it to £10k a year before retirement age that would be worth it.

Mark

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by DBarnett » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:23 am

I have much admiration and respect for you, Mark
We Salute You!!

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by Kolstad » Thu Feb 18, 2021 10:39 am

Thanks for the breakdown, Mark. Much helpful and appreciated!

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by carel11 » Thu Feb 18, 2021 11:28 pm

great post
thanks Mark
I need to see that hard work and dedication get results if you hang in there and just keep on keepin' on
I've only gotten into one library, and the fact you've gotten into several libraries with placements shows me that that can be done
Like you I would be writing anyway, cos its what I do.....and while money would be nice, I would really like to hear some of my cues in use, as you have
I wish you much more success in the days to come
and will do my best to be right behind you
thanks for posting
carL
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Re: Five Year Update

Post by SteveBaruah » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:06 am

Thanks for the update, very interesting.
Our timelines/trajectories are around the same. I signed my first cue in 2017 and have since signed over 400 cues to several libraries.
My earnings are a little more than yours, but not by a huge amount.
I think 4 years in is a good reflection point, and I really can't see how the TV cue game is going to work out money-wise.
It's cool getting placements, but I have so much more fun doing songs/EDM instrumentals for general release (Spotify), where doing albums of cues felt like 'work'.
It's great 'work' if your making a living off it, not so much if you're not. I kind of feel like the market is way over crowded, and I even had a publisher tell me they're not taking any hip hop/EDM anymore(!).
It sounds like there are just too many 'bedroom producers'.
I'm currently taking a break from cues to do songs/general releases (Spotify) and I'm excited about making music again.
I know some Taxi members have had some huuuge success, but they built their empire many years ago, and I'm not sure that the 'five year plan' is still possible with cues. (Songs are a different story).
When I started TV cues, I committed to giving it a good go, and I have. I knew that even if I never made a cent it would be worth it just to get the production experience, and it absolutely has been.
This is just my current opinion of the market as it is. I would love to hear other experiences.

Thanks,
Steve

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by cosmicdolphin » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:34 am

SteveBaruah wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:06 am
It's great 'work' if your making a living off it, not so much if you're not.
Some excellent points Steve - I guess I would say for me it doesn't feel too much like "work" , yes it's demanding and can be tough sometimes but it's an enjoyable challenge for me. I have released multiple demos, EPs and albums etc over the last 30 years just for "myself" but the best I ever achieved was having a couple of them reviewed in music magazines and not many people actually heard them. So I'm cool with the work as long as I'm improving and there are things getting placed and I'm growing my catalogue. Maybe one day I will write my Magnum Opus but I doubt anyone will want to listen to it :lol:
SteveBaruah wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:06 am
It sounds like there are just too many 'bedroom producers'.
True , the barrier to entry is significantly reduced to what it was when I started making music. All the hardware required for starters is now in the box and some of it's free, and you couldn't really fix things in the mix like you can now. It's little wonder it's become so much more commoditized. I think how you win in this scenario is simply that many will not stick it out, and just playing the long game will see you rise above the constant churn of newcomers ( so long as the quality is there of course ) and as you make further inroads and make more industry contacts you become that reliable source that can hit deadlines at a certain quality level and not flake on them.
SteveBaruah wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:06 am
I know some Taxi members have had some huuuge success, but they built their empire many years ago, and I'm not sure that the 'five year plan' is still possible with cues. (Songs are a different story).
Or is it partly because they stuck at it a long time ? It's probably a mixture of being in the game a bit sooner, having or developing the music and production sklls and sticking with it long term. It will be interesting to see what next year's numbers are like - I've already had more placements in Jan/Feb than all of last year.

Mark

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by SteveBaruah » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:56 am

cosmicdolphin wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:34 am
I've already had more placements in Jan/Feb than all of last year.
Yes, last year was quiet (Corona) and I have also seen things pick up on Tunesat so far this year.
I'm sure I haven't made my last cue, but I'll take a bit of time to explore other avenues.

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Re: Five Year Update

Post by irthlingz » Sat Feb 27, 2021 2:01 pm

Years ago, I asked someone I considered to be a successful singer/songwriter (he was getting gigs in coffeehouses where I was playing open stages) if he had any advice on how to "make it" in "the business".

He said, "If you can do anything else, do it."

Not taking that too literally, I think there's wisdom in it. If for some reason I couldn't make music any more, I might still be reasonably happy, but it would be a big loss to me. Maybe something like walking around. If there's somewhere profitable and important to walk to, great. If not, I'll walk just because it feels good and is good for me. If I couldn't walk for some reason, I'd make the best of it. But I wouldn't give it up just because I couldn't make money or win walking competitions.

As for TAXI specifically, we've gotten our money's worth out of it without ever getting a forward (YET!!!) because:

1) We get honest and knowledgable critiques of our own stuff, as well as "listening in" on the forum and learning from other people's attempts or successes. Our composition, production, mixing and listening skills have improved. You're not going to fix something if you don't know it needs fixing. Just one example: We thought the piano sounds from our Korg N364 synth were fine, but got consistent feedback from screeners and members that there was "room for improvement." Took a deep breath, invested in the Pianoteq 6 plug-in. Now getting no complaints on our piano sounds, and also having fun playing with other cool high-quality instruments in the package, like marimba. (https://www.taxi.com/members/mike_shar/ ... nal-anthem)

2) Listings inspire us. This is an example created for a listing. : https://www.taxi.com/members/mike_shar/ ... Q-i-say-so We listened to it a bunch of times after we uploaded it just because it made us feel happy. (Full disclosure: Instrumental music is our version of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag", composed in 1899, public domain.) And we may still improve it with a better vocal - spurred on by the screener's $5 worth!

Anyway, my two cents. Thank you TAXI members who have taken time to help us, thank you TAXI, thank you Michael L.

====
Michael

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