Went to my second Taxi Road Rally about a week ago and although I'll post some more of what I learned as I get around to it here are some of my impressions. For those of you not familiar with Taxi in a nutshell, unlike most of us they have many established relationships with many major industry organizations such as publishers, television production companies, major and indie labels, etc. What these companies do is tell Taxi what they are looking for, for example a publishing company is looking for songs to pitch for a major artist's next release, a tv show is looking for a sad indie band song for a montage, etc. For specific examples just go the actual listings on their site. You need to be a member to submit, and each song you submit is $5. It's understandable that they have a nominal fee to submit or else the inevitable result would be everyone submitting everything they have to every listing however inappropriate. Although I hear this is still quite common. For most listings you get a pretty well thought out critique for why or why not your song was forwarded including things like performance, production, song, appropriateness for listing, etc. As any artist knows criticism is always hard to not take personally so Taxi does get it's share of hate mail. Music is subjective and you should take these critiques as one persons opinion, albeit an educated one. But if you get several critiques saying the same thing you might want to put the ego aside and use this info to figure out what weak points, and we all have them, you need to focus on to get more of a chance at success in this business. As a colleague that does not work for Taxi but has been dealing with many of their members for years said, they are totally legit and one of the few companies of it's type that do exactly what they say they do. Now if you think your stuff is amazing but alas it doesn't get forwarded well either you send them some hate mail and bad mouth them on a forum, or you figure out why and take the appropriate measures from improving your songs to pitching your stuff to a more appropriate genre. It's a very competitive business and if it just took wanting it real badly, everyone would be a star. Most people don't have a clue what it really takes, years of practice, years or rejection and self reflection, years of falling down and picking yourself up, etc. If something truly is great, it will eventually get noticed. Great songs and performers are as rare and in high demand as diamonds. But when most people say they would do anything to make it, they really have no clue what that involves. To do music for a living you'd really have to be crazy unless you can't really see yourself doing anything else in life and being happy. Than no amount of tenacity and hard work and sacrifice or rejection would deter you. Anything short of that obsessiveness is probably not enough to get you to be competitive in the big leagues. OK now with that Taxi overview out of the way, the convention.
Even if people aren't members their website http://www.taxi.com/ and forum have tons of info on the business, and Taxi TV http://www.ustream.tv/user/TAXI_Music/videos has tons of 1 hour interviews with major producers, songwriters, etc. that helps clear up a lot of open questions people have about the business, the process, next steps, where your material stands in the context of the competition, etc. So overall if you are interested in making a career in music you it would behoove you to attend a Taxi Road Rally. If you have skills the sessions will help you hone them as well as figure out next steps in packaging and promoting them in the best manner possible, and give you much clearer perspective in what to expect and where you fit in in the industry. It's really shooting yourself in the foot to base your career planning in a vacuum base on how you think the industry works. Also great to network and meets tons of other like minded and talented artists to compare notes on everything from recording software, favorite songwriting books, how to use Facebook fan pages, and anything else you can think of.