A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

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zacnelson
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A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by zacnelson » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:57 pm

I don't know if this has been brought up by anybody else before, it would be impossible for me to do a search to find a previous discussion on this topic, so I apologise if I'm just repeating a common concept.

I get a lot of returns and a lot of forwards on TAXI, more forwards than returns. However, sometimes on my returns I get lots of compliments and praise in the full critiques or short critiques. Sometimes they gush about the song or production, but they can't forward because they think it's stylistically too removed from the required genre. But there have been quite a few occasions where everything is perfect and yet one tiny thing is the cause for a return - NOT related to style or overall issues, just some small technical point or petty reason. I just don't understand why TAXI can't just say `we'll happily forward the song if you just quickly change this small thing' or `If you have the time or inclination or if you have the original stems then all you need to do is make this tiny alteration and we'll be able to forward it this week'. I thought TAXI were on our side, helping us make our own success stories that they can advertise and promote the TAXI service. Shouldn't we all be encouraged along the way with a small help out like this? I got a rejection a couple of days ago and the comments were REALLY positive, and the song was a perfect fit for the listing. It was the kind of listing that doesn't come along often, and the reason for rejection was tiny and SO easy to alter, it would have taken me 5 minutes to bounce a new version and it could be forwarded. (Incidentally, I didn't actually agree with what the screener said, and I have no doubt that another screener would have gone ahead and forwarded the song, but I was unlucky.)

I just think a bit of flexibility with enabling us to get our music OUT THERE to the industry would go a long way, and create some good will. It shouldn't be some kind of war between artists and screeners; there must be occasions where we can work together. I know for a fact that the screeners are filing through dozens of terrible tracks that are not broadcast quality, so when they do come across something that is broadcast quality, they need to cut a bit of slack and help nudge us along a bit. I'm not complaining about the times when a screener rejects a song because it's in the wrong style or tempo, because that is not something that can be easily identified or changed, and is also a tad more subjective. BUT if they specifically identify an objective reason, for example the song has a fade ending when they need a button ending, or there is one swear word, or one instrument is too loud in one section - little things that are instantly fixable - there needs to be flexibility. TAXI can only benefit from that flexibility, because people will then be more likely to submit more often, and will recommend the service to their friends. It's no good being told that `next time you submit you should make these changes'….. A lot of listings are one-offs, there could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which is wasted because of some little detail. And even with a more generic listing, we could wait another 2 months for another similar request to come along, and then wait a month for the submission deadline, and then wait another 4 to 6 weeks for the forward to occur.

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by Gypsygal » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:40 pm

I heartily agree. I often think how productive it would be to pay for the submission and be allowed to do the changes, especially where they are "minor fix" things, and then you could make the improvements, and just re-submit it for the same listing. It doesn't help much when you are given the instruction to make a minor change but it has already been designated a fatal mistake. Why not have the ability to fix/change and resubmit within a reasonable time frame. I would not mind paying a second submission fee if it opened the door.

As an example is a listing i submitted where the reviewer said it was perfect in every way except I should have used a guitar instead of a piano for the melody, as piano was not suitable for the genre. I could have done that in half an hour and re-submitted.

If I was painting on a commission for someone, and I showed them the painting and they said, well couldn't you make those flowers blue instead of purple there? I would just do that, and happily, cause that's what the customer wants.

So yes, there's times where this would be very welcome, I don't see it as much different than any business where the ultimate goal is to give the customer exactly what they want.

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by Paulie » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:19 pm

Agree. Would love to hear Michael's opinion on this. It my be a procedural thing, but I'm sure a process could be defined. Deadlines matter, but for submissions delivered early I don't see why it would be a problem.
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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by zacnelson » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:20 pm

Beautifully written Diane, precisely my thoughts! :)

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by zacnelson » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:34 pm

I don't think deadlines are an issue Paul (by the way I'm glad you agree with my point). I've had some submissions reviewed 2 months after the deadline date; and like Diane and I mentioned, we're talking about 5 minute fixes here…. there is no way TAXI could make the argument that enabling this on rare occasions would somehow jeopardise deadlines. And I'm not suggesting it should be a clearly defined process; it's subjective, it has to be. If a screener thinks your song just isn't good enough, or is not a good fit stylistically, then no amount of `broadcast quality' is going to help if your song isn't good enough. Likewise, you may have a great-fitting song, but the overwhelming lack of broadcast quality makes it unusable. I don't suggest a screener should give you a chance to get it re-mixed or re-recorded - that's way too much. I'm talking about those tiny little excuses they give for not providing a forward, when they acknowledge that in every other way the song is broadcast quality AND fits the style and intention of the listing. The sheer inflexibility suggests to me a lack of intention to be truly collaborative and team-oriented. In my opinion TAXI has as much to gain from our success as we do, and if they can detect some potential and talent they should be ON OUR TEAM, not a cynical gatekeeper rejecting songs on a technicality when they know how easy it is to fix. I would assume 90% of taxi members are sending music produced in home studios with the opportunity for very fast turnarounds. Besides, TAXI could say `you have a 12 hour window to make this change' and that would sort out whether or not the artist is serious about resubmitting.

I had a long conversation on the phone to a successful library owner who has made a living for over 2 decades with his own exclusive libraries and also from having his music in other libraries. He said that when he runs listings with TAXI, he typically gets about 10 forwards, of which usually 1 or 2 are any use to him (which is fair enough, I wouldn't expect him to use them all!). His listings are for a style of music that would attract a high quantity of submissions. So if only 10 tracks are forwarded, I can't imagine it being a burden for the company to listen to MORE than 10, say 15 (i.e. I'm assuming 5 tracks are not forwarded for tiny reasons, for example they are 10 seconds too short or one instrument is too soft or something). We have to believe that these companies are genuine in making their listings, so they would be keen to listen to whatever TAXI forwards their way, and from what I have gleaned through that one conversation, it's not like they send out 100 forwards and completely drown the companies.

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by Len911 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:32 am

Here's a few quotes I took from the Taxi website;

* Most of them work 2 or 3 days a week, but we never let them work more than 4 hours at a time. We do a morning shift and an afternoon shift. There are typically about 15 of them under our roof at any moment. More or less, depending on inbound submissions.

* They are all independent contractors. We tell them what we need done for the upcoming week. They accept or decline and pick their own shifts as long as their schedule fits our timeline. They are only assigned to genres we feel confident they are expert in.


Logical suggestions if they were all 40 hour per week employees.

Also, peer-to-peer wasn't mentioned at all. :o
"...for example the song has a fade ending when they need a button ending, or there is one swear word, or one instrument is too loud in one section - little things that are instantly fixable - there needs to be flexibility...."
That's exactly what p-to-p is, to find the little things before you submit. Many times also the big things.
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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by zacnelson » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:35 am

You couldn't seriously expect Peer-to-Peer to solve every little thing. I'm not necessarily talking about things that might be an obvious fault; in one recent example of mine, it was a very subjective thing that nobody had ever suggested previously. However, I would have been able to change that small aspect in a few minutes in order to satisfy that screener's whims. It wasn't a technical fault or a mix issue, just a tiny matter of taste which unfortunately became the screener's excuse to discard my track.

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by kclements » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:17 am

A couple things come to mind for me.

First are the logistics. So, you get the comment (after the listing has expired and 30 days go by or so) about how to fix this little thing and it would work. So, is there another $5 submission fee? Then the screener has to listen again (the same screener by the way, because someone else may hear something different that needs fixing) to be sure it was really fixed. Then, they send it on. well, it has already been maybe 45 days since the listing expired? The listing party has already received a number of tracks that didn't need any fixes, so chances are they are all set. And the listing party doesn't have the time to listen again to cues that match something they already have plenty of from the first round. If they didn't get what they wanted, they would run the listing again (which is where your fix would come in handy in the first place)

I see it like an audition. If I screw up the lyric, the director doesn't say, "come back tomorrow with the correct lyric" I hear "NEXT!" :)

Second, and I am in no way speaking for Michael or Taxi, but I don't view the screeners as working for me. They work for the listing party. I believe that education is a huge priority for Michael and Taxi, but it is really a byproduct of the main focus: to provide the highest quality tracks, vetted for quality and proper feel/genre/style to the listing party. The fact that we get comments is a bonus.

Taxi's purpose to its members is to introduce us to these opportunities, not guarantee us a placement, or a deal, or even a contact. I have had many forwards that I never hear from. My guess is they got what they needed in the first 5 cues they listened to, even if mine was cue #6 - they had what they needed, and moved on.

And yes, the P2P section won't catch everything, but it is a great place to post none the less. A lot to be learned. And speaking of learning, nothing beats going to the Road Rally. It is a weekend of nothing but education and networking and building relationships.

The best thing to do, is take what the screener says (remembering this is one persons opinion on a certain day, under a certain circumstance with very detailed directive) and agree with the change and make it for next time - or keep it the same and try again.

One additional thought. The cues that were returned to me over the years - have all been signed with libraries. Once I signed with a library and they liked my stuff - I would send them these "returns" and they all got signed somewhere. Sometimes I fixed what the screener heard, sometimes not. Remember a return is just about that listing and that listing parties current need. It doesn't necessarily mean the track won't work somewhere else

Cheers
kc
Last edited by kclements on Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by zacnelson » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:28 am

Thanks for the input KC. Yes, I have of course considered the logistics. Hence my comments about having a small window of time to make the tiny change. And as I repeated numerous times, I'm suggesting this would be a rare occurrence, not a standard procedure, and I think it IS fair to believe that the screeners `work for us' - unless it is a rare occasion where the screener is the actual music supervisor or similar. I'm saying that the screeners, if they were on our side and working for us and keen to see our success, and they have listened to 200 tracks and one of them is excellent apart from a tiny technicality, it would be very little extra effort to do the 201st listen ONCE EVERY NOW AND THEN. I've made about 100 submissions on TAXI, and I'm only implying that on a handful occasions were my returns based on a REALLY simple fix that would have been provided within minutes. I don't suggest I would expect this on every return. And there are some people whose music is never anywhere near broadcast quality and so a tiny fix will never be offered to them; if the screeners are as experienced and professional as they are advertised, then they will surely have the right judgment about what cases deserve a quick re-submit, they will know that something is broadcast quality and can easily be made to conform to the criteria.

Also, I think you're confusing things by mentioning the timing of the tracks being sent to the listing party. I have been informed by TAXI that ALL forwards are sent at the same date, so it's not going to be an issue with the company having already listened to acceptable tracks a few weeks prior. If TAXI are happy to take 6 weeks to finalise critiques and screening, then a few extra hours will not matter. Besides, if the track which is offered a re-submit chance happens to be one of the first tracks screened, then it will not delay the final delivery at all.

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Re: A Suggestion For TAXI Regarding Returns

Post by Len911 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:36 am

zacnelson wrote:You couldn't seriously expect Peer-to-Peer to solve every little thing. I'm not necessarily talking about things that might be an obvious fault; in one recent example of mine, it was a very subjective thing that nobody had ever suggested previously. However, I would have been able to change that small aspect in a few minutes in order to satisfy that screener's whims. It wasn't a technical fault or a mix issue, just a tiny matter of taste which unfortunately became the screener's excuse to discard my track.
No, you are correct, I don't seriously expect peer-to-peer to solve everything, if that was the implication, it was wrong, my primary point was that peer-to-peer wasn't mentioned and I felt that it should be given at least some consideration.

I think I get it now, you're faultless and subject to the screener's whims and excuses, and in those cases p-to-p probably isn't much help at all. And for special and a few select individuals, not everyone of course, that there should be an opportunity to fix the whimsical, but not technical or mix issues, or "not broadcast" quality from the unwashed masses?? :P Does that about sum it up, or am I totally off course?
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