Road Rally / Comprehensive Question

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MBantle
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Road Rally / Comprehensive Question

Post by MBantle » Fri Nov 01, 2019 5:15 pm

Dear All,

I'm sadly not going to be able to join this year’s Road Rally but I put in a budget to join next year for the first time. Please allow me to ask a few ‘devil’s advocate’ type of questions which I know will be super annoying and also kind of unfair for the hard working Taxi leadership team being in the middle of organising a great event (and I therefore hope they will ignore my questions and remarks as probably the rest of the Taxi community will instantly put the record straight as it were!).

A few words on my background:

I am not based in the US and decided to join Taxi specifically to be that ‘loner’ who cooks up tracks in their home studio with zero interaction or collaboration with other people to get the most mileage out of self-produced material as efficiently as possible.

All my tracks (apart from a few ‘old sins’) are signed to libraries already so I do not have any new and unsigned material at the moment to showcase or to offer to a library person on a CD or pendrive on the ground in LA. I only write to individual Taxi/publisher listings as they appear if that make sense.

I hope this does not sound too negative. I would just like to get a feel in terms of what other experienced Taxi members have to say about the Rally and its benefits. Obviously, every member has a different background and I hope reading my observations you will be able to tell me that I am utterly wrong! Last but not least I would like to make clear that by all means I’m always for just having a great time with fellow composers/musicians and enjoy a few drinks together! - I’d just like to manage my own expectations if that makes sense.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Road Rally / Comprehensive Question

Post by kyliecouper » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:45 pm

Hey Matt
This is a great question and hopefully you will get some different perspectives.

I am not based in the US either so getting to the rally is an expensive and time consuming undertaking.
I also joined taxi to be the loner who cooks up tracks at home with no collaboration. I was actually quite anti-collaboration. So I totally understand where you are coming from!

In spite of all this, I decided to go to the rally last year for the first time and I have to say that after my experience last year, I am counting down the days til this year's rally!!!!!!

Some of my random ideas:
Rather than thinking that you have to have unsigned material to show library people, you can look at the rally as an opportunity to meet such people and build relationships with them.
Some people might get signed by a new library on the spot, but it might also just be a chance to start a relationship and build trust.
You might also be able to show library people your existing signed work. They might love it, and you can tell them you could write something similar for them. Or they might give you really good feedback that lifts your work to a new level.


For me, the rally is about far more than just trying to meet library people. I loved all the people I met at the rally. Some were complete noobs like me, and some were very experienced.
I had an absolute blast just hanging out with those people. I have kept in contact with quite a few of them over the last 12 months and I'm really looking forward to catching up with them in person.
I also surprised myself and did a few collaborations with some of these people this year! They were really fun!

So I understand your hesitation, but do what you can to get there next year because it's amazing!

MBantle
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Re: Road Rally / Comprehensive Question

Post by MBantle » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:31 am

kyliecouper wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:45 pm
Hey Matt
This is a great question and hopefully you will get some different perspectives.

I am not based in the US either so getting to the rally is an expensive and time consuming undertaking.
I also joined taxi to be the loner who cooks up tracks at home with no collaboration. I was actually quite anti-collaboration. So I totally understand where you are coming from!

In spite of all this, I decided to go to the rally last year for the first time and I have to say that after my experience last year, I am counting down the days til this year's rally!!!!!!

Some of my random ideas:
Rather than thinking that you have to have unsigned material to show library people, you can look at the rally as an opportunity to meet such people and build relationships with them.
Some people might get signed by a new library on the spot, but it might also just be a chance to start a relationship and build trust.
You might also be able to show library people your existing signed work. They might love it, and you can tell them you could write something similar for them. Or they might give you really good feedback that lifts your work to a new level.


For me, the rally is about far more than just trying to meet library people. I loved all the people I met at the rally. Some were complete noobs like me, and some were very experienced.
I had an absolute blast just hanging out with those people. I have kept in contact with quite a few of them over the last 12 months and I'm really looking forward to catching up with them in person.
I also surprised myself and did a few collaborations with some of these people this year! They were really fun!

So I understand your hesitation, but do what you can to get there next year because it's amazing!
Hi Kylie!
Thanks so much for your message and for sharing your experiences. This is so useful and I am looking forward to next year! Have fun at this year's rally!
Cheers,
Matt

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Re: Road Rally / Comprehensive Question

Post by RPaul » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:00 pm

Hi Matt,

This is an interesting question.

I joined TAXI the first time back in 2011, and attended the 2011 Road Rally. I'd primarily been pursuing the outside songwriter direction, and had maybe a dozen indie cuts of my songs, including some that were very localized hits (e.g. a top 5 for radio and video play in Mongolia via a young pop singer over there). I'd had some publishing deals out of Nashville, but those never got any results (the indie cuts I had were on my own). I was quickly running out of cash after life changes and was desperate to try to get something more substantial going on the music business front, so joined TAXI with the idea of getting my songs into larger opportunities than I could do myself. By that point, I was mostly doing everything on my own, though I'd done a fair amount of songwriting collaboration between the late 90s and first half of the 2000s. I am by no means anti-collaboration, but I'd had some collaborations that ended badly and I'd more or less let the good ones dry up due to disillusionment. I was also trying to move more toward being an artist, especially with the goal of placing my recordings, by that point. (While I got some forwards that year, only one was a traditional song pitch, and I got no placements. I did a lot of writing for specific opportunities, and three out of my five forwards came from those, all of them in styles I'd never tried before. I've put most all of those out since then, be it as singles or as album tracks.)

I am relatively local to LA -- about 50 miles away -- so at least there was no air travel. The biggest expense was the hotel. I am decidedly an introvert, and the "wallflower" sort in large gatherings, so conferences like the Road Rally are uncomfortable for me on the in-person networking front. I do fine one-on-one if someone approaches me, but to go up to someone I don't know and try to start a conversation is somewhat on par with Indiana Jones' entering a snake pit. :) That said, Id been to a number of past songwriter-oriented conferences, and generally "survived" that side of things, while benefiting in other areas, so I gritted my teeth and went for it. I rejoined TAXI late last year, and will be going to the Rally again this year. Let's say I'm looking forward to it with nervous anticipation. :)

The Road Rally has multiple dimensions. There are all the educational sessions, which are the easy things for me to look forward to. I've already gone through the schedule to pick out the ones that most interest me, some being in areas I'm looking to improve, others in areas I am hoping to get a quick feel for some new things, still others in areas I'm just curious about, etc. There are the one-on-one mentor sessions, which I remember finding useful in the feedback I got (from a Nashville-based publisher last time, if I remember correctly). There are the mentor lunches, which were a more comfortable sort of networking for me because it was a little more "scripted" in the sense of directing conversations and learning a bit about others as well as the mentors who rotated around the tables. I went to one last time, and I'm going to both this time. There were the open mics (performing for an audience is actually my favorite thing to do). There were some pitching possibilities (e.g. with the mentor lunches). And, of course, there were all the possibilities of meeting people informally, such as in the registration line, where you're basically standing next to a few people for an extended period so almost have to strike up a conversation. (In fact, that is where I met someone I hung out with more than anyone at the Rally, though we only kept in touch for a little while after that.)

This year, beyond looking forward to the educational sessions, I am at least trying to go into it with a mindset of being ready to meet more people, especially with the idea of opening myself up to various types of collaborations if I find something that makes sense. I am mostly writing to listings at this point, and there are certain types of listings I just pass over, for example if it requires a female singer, due to doing everything on my own at the moment. I may end up being my usual wallflower self, but I'm at least trying to steel myself for stepping out of that comfort zone.

Anyway, I think the bottom line (IMHO) is, the Road Rally has a lot it can offer, but it's important, too, to figure out what you are trying to get out of it, then at least do some focusing on how to best achieve that, while keeping an open mind to other possibilities. I wouldn't think only having music that is signed elsewhere is a limitation if you are already successfully writing for libraries, as that music could help demonstrate your capabilities to provide material to other libraries who have similar needs. If you're totally opposed to collaborations, perhaps the peer networking may be of lesser interest to you, but you also never know if someone who is in similar shoes to you now might end up heading up a strong music library in the future, becoming a music supervisor, etc.

RIck

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