Critique Anonymity Unfair

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jchitty
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jchitty » Sun Mar 18, 2007 1:01 pm

Quote:Quote:Thanks, Matt. I feel like I'm at a disadvantage sending my stuff for a TAXI custom critique unless it's properly demoed. I play guitar only a little, and I've been told (or it's my understanding) that to submit songs for a TAXI custom critique, they have to sound really good or the screeners might be affected by the poor sound quality....it might affect their judgement about your song. This is one reason why I'm spending so much money having my stuff demoed first..... I'm not a musician and I can't play an instrument well or create that 'broadcast' quality that I need. I like your idea about submitting to Jason Blume though.....actually, I bookmarked his website last week, the one where you pay 30 bucks a critique. Jason will critique 'a capella' songs sent in on CD, and this is right up my alley. I don't think there are many critiquers out there who'll critique a capella type songs.....looks like Jason Blume can hear any potential in a song, even if it's not arranged or accompanied by instruments.Actually, I think you have this backwards. The whole point of getting a custom critique from Taxi or a professional critique from folks like John Braheny or Jason Blume is to provide a sketch of the song - lyrics, worktape - so that you do not waste money demoing songs that are going to need rewrites. I strongly urge you to rethink. You are submitting to be critiqued on the song, not the production (unless you specificly request that). Once you are sure the song is working, is commercially viable, then you spend the money on the demo. That's why investing $10 - $30 on a pro critique now is so important.Hummin'birdLord, it's been so hard for me to get off the computer today.....so many interesting posts. Point taken, Hummingbird and Matt. I guess I was just under the mistaken impression that TAXI didn't do custom critiques on 'voice only' tapes like mine, so this why I haven't been going the TAXI custom critique route right now.Anyway, I think I am going to get a custom critique done in the next week or so, and I also want to send a song to Jason Blume for evaluation...your comments are always appreciated. Whew, I really am signing off now, and thanks.Chits

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by johnnydean1 » Sun Mar 18, 2007 4:01 pm

Quote:Wow, this place is hopping today... There were over 120 posts, many of which were on this thread! How can we complain about reviewer anonymity when we don't even know who Johnny Dean is? Now THAT'S an issue!!! I think I'll go meditate with my new mantra, "hit song"... hit songhit soooooooonghit soooooooooooonghit soooooooooooooooong cAsEyJohnny is!

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by sgs4u » Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:24 am

Quote:Steve, I wasn't referring to newbees or you. EOM Well, I'm still kinda new, cause I don't know what EOM means. Clarify? No offense taken, I don't get offended easily. But somehow the opposite happens often. steve

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by sgs4u » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:39 am

Quote:Ralph Murphy:Four most important things that a writer had to have to get a publishing deal in Nashville were very surprising. • Number one, of course, was the lyric.• Number two, was personality-whether or not they like you.• Number three, logically, is melody-the ability to write a great melody. • Number four, was the ability to write alone. did Ralphy boy ever mention that you better be able to drink with him?

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TAXI CEO Responds to Screener Anonymity and More.

Post by jay10music » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:33 pm

Hi all,Michael Laskow here to weigh in on this thread. Jimi made me aware of it, and I think I can make short work of it with this answer. I generally don't cruise the boards, and can't participate in the discussions in full because I already avg. 11 hrs. of work a day, and would be ignoring my wife and kids if I made time for the forum. Sorry about that, but my family is very important to me I've answered the question about why we use numbers for the screeners a hundred times, but I guess 101 couldn't hurt. There is NO conspiracy to keep you from knowing who listened to your music, and I certainly understand why you'd like to know. But the problem has always been the security and well-being of our A&R people.I've gone public with this a couple of times, but not in a while, so here it is again. In 1994, I got a phone call from a guy in Boston who said, “I know where your kids go to school. I'm going to get them first, then I'm coming for you and your wife.”I can still remember what it felt like as the blood drained from my face. That's a phone call nobody wants to get. The guy ended up doing time for interstate terrorism. Our phones have remained connected to phone company “traps” ever since. Those allow you to pinpoint offenders quickly and accurately.A few years later, I had a guy in Portland who sent me death threat emails consistently, for the better part of a year. He would describe exactly how he was going to kill me, and how he would dispose of my body. I sent his letters to a psychiatrist for analysis, and the shrink said the guy had a psychotic break, and determined that he was a real threat.The guy DID eventually kill himself.There have been a couple of times that I've had to hire off-duty detectives to park by our home when I went out of town, to watch over my wife and kids. There have been times that I've had to hire personal security to cover me at events.While I'm FAR from a REAL celebrity, I still share some of the security concerns that they have, albeit, on a much smaller scale. Then again, Charles Manson was actually a disgruntled singer/songwriter, and there's nothing that filters out insane people from becoming TAXI members. And let us not forget, that not ALL members are happy with every critique ;-)So… why does this matter to the A&R people who work here? Because we've had some specific threats against them from time to time (although it's been a few years), and I just can't risk someone showing up at THEIR doors.We've wrestled with this for years, and every time I've talked to the screeners en mass about it, they always vote in favor of anonymity. Some screeners have told us that they'll quit if we disclose their identities.We know that the VAST majority of you are completely sane, and pose no risk, but it's that one in ten thousand that we worry about.I think there is some public perception that we use the numbers to hide something evil or untoward, but that's just not true. It's simply for the reasons stated above.There IS no second string at TAXI. Your music is ALWAYS heard by TRUE, top of the line experts, never by a “secretary.” And the people who listen are ALWAYS specialists in the genre they are screening.I know it's easy to think or say that “If they didn't like my song, it must have been some hack or assistant who didn't know what they were doing, or otherwise, they would have seen the true genius that I am and forwarded this thing.” But the TRUTH is that EVERY single song since the day I started this company has been heard by a REAL expert, and NEVER anyone less.No exceptions.Believe me, we've got PLENTY of out of work experts here in LA (due to industry shrinkage), and we work down a wire with experts in Nashville if we have any shortage of legitimate Country experts here in southern California.We've opened our doors (literally, nothing off limits) to doubters countless times, and never once in 15 years has anybody proven otherwise, because there IS no “otherwise” to prove. I'm not going to risk the reputation of this company I love so much, its well being, the well being of my staff, my family, and MOST of all, our members, by using anybody but top notch, highly-qualified people to listen to music under this roof.ALSO, about 70% of the people who audition for those coveted TAXI A&R spots don't pass the test. Yes, there IS a test, and then there's some pretty rigorous training, and then there are ongoing training seminars (pizza dinners with 40 or more current screeners) during which, the more experienced screeners share their expertise in helping you, with the newer ones.THEN, we do the “Screen the Screeners” sessions, where we bring in members who live in LA, to review the work of our screeners. If a screener(s) doesn't meet with the approval of the members, we give them a chance to rectify the problem with their work, and if they don't, we quit using them.All of this stuff is well documented, and fairly well publicized, but this topic STILL comes up all the time.Again, let me reassure you that the reason we use numbers for the screeners is SOLELY to protect our people from the less than stable members of our society (and all other societies;-).Have you ever noticed that when somebody posts a complaint about a song not being forwarded on these boards, that when their contemporaries hear the song, they invariably vote along with the TAXI screener? Yet, oddly, you'll never see the member come back and post, “Yeah, you're right, I owe that screener an apology for calling them inept. Maybe I should apologize to TAXI as well, because all of my friends here on the board agree with their assessment of my song.”Cruise the boards and you'll see lots of examples of this. The complaints stay up on the board, the member never recants, and we probably lose future members as a result. But in the name of free speech, we leave the complaints up. I also noticed some chatter on this thread about people having number one hits through TAXI. Here it is, plain and simple: Yes, there have been two Country cuts that happened as a result of the members belonging to TAXI. In both cases, the writers got publishing deals that eventually resulted in those cuts, and the subsequent #1's. In both cases, the writers lived in small towns, had NO previous connections in Nashville, and no experience in the music business. These guys had a greater chance of winning the lottery than getting their music heard by top people on music row - period!If not for publishing deals they got through TAXI, they would VERY likely still be anonymous, wouldn't have had those cuts, and wouldn't have had those number one songs. I remember saying this a thousand times when I started TAXI: “A great song can come from anywhere.”People on the boards always seem to overlook the Top Ten Dance hit Jenna Drey has had as a direct result of a TAXI forward because they only care about Country. They tend to overlook the fact that Daniel Holter had a major label Pop cut on Columbia as a direct result of a TAXI forward. They tend to forget about Adam Watts and Andy Cox who had a top 5 Pop hit with Jesse McCartney as a direct result of song being forwarded by TAXI. And they completely overlook the fact that as a result of THAT cut, each of them got a pub deal with Disney. And three years later, they've had their songs on records that have sold more than 9 MILLION copies, ALL from relationships that started with one TAXI forward.And by the way, our job is to get your music on the desks of people you probably don't have relationships with yourself. It's the record company's job to get it to get it to #1 - not ours. Yet people harp on that. TAXI is not a record company. We are also not in charge of changing the music industry so that it lowers the bar and starts accepting songs that fall below the bar. We'd like to see that happen for our members' sake, but it's not advertised as one of the things that we do ;-)I know it may be easier to blame TAXI's A&R staff, or TAXI itself, by pointing to things like screener anonymity or NOT giving TAXI the credit we are due on forwards that result in lives changed, but please don't do either of those. We work hard for you guys, and frankly, I'm tired of spending my time defending what we do because people can't just say, “Maybe my song wasn't good enough yet, or maybe I didn't pitch it all that well.”While I'm sure that we're not perfect, we work HARD at getting as close as possible. We've been under intense scrutiny for the last 15 years, and yet nobody has ever found a REAL chink in our armor. Could it be that we're everything we claim to be, and we really do what we promise? I know that's rare in today's business world, but maybe you're working with the RARE company that actually does it.Thanks for listening,Michael

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by Casey H » Tue Apr 03, 2007 2:04 pm

Quote:We know that the VAST majority of you are completely sane... hmmmm... I wonder about that...

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by matto » Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:07 pm

Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT??

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:38 am

Quote:Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT?? Let me elaborate on the line:"Unless they are constantly being approached about the idea"I do not consider comments on here, an approach to Taxi, as this is a TaxiCommunity forum used by members and non-members of Taxi. I haven't seen any real evidence of any Taxi employees taking an active part in threads. Except for the odd post."being approached" meant being approached directly, via telephone or Email.this explains my line:"Raising the subject on the forum is for discussion purposes among the members. It isn't a direct approach to Taxi."If you look at what I wrote, you will see that it is surprise in the manner of the post. It read like "How many times do I have to tell you guys" to me.Now is it wrong for me to express an opinion?I'm fully aware of the frustrations this may cause and I sit firmly on the side of Screener Anonymity.This is not the first time something like this has been pointed out, and it's not going to be the last, some of the reasons being in my previous post.I posted on this thread last week. Something I wouldn't have done without first knowing what it was about.I don't think there's anything wrong with Michael posting his opinion on this forum. Just as there is nothing wrong with me commenting on it.I see this as a forum, and not a company meeting. A place where we can all agree and/or disagree with anything we choose to talk about.
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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by Casey H » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:09 am

Quote:Quote:Why would Taxi want to weigh in and defend itself?....I find the Admin post very surprising, and I get the distinct impression that someone in Taxi is not very happy about certain subjects being raised. That's the sort of thing that makes me wary of any business, and I hope that Taxi takes that on board, because I wont be the only one.Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT?? First, Michael took a lot of time and effort to put together that response. Having written letters like that, my guess is it took him MANY hours to write that. TAXI may or may not be for you but: How many CEOs give you such direct access? I am not a member, but I applaud a CEO taking that much time to talk to his customers and address their concerns.I guess I love analogies but here goes... Have you ever been a manager in the corporate world -or- run your own small business? I used to be the manager of a software engineering department of about 15-20 people. Most people that worked for me were great. There were times when I bent over backwards for people, fighting for raises for them, defending them (to my own detriment) when the president was bitching about them, etc, etc. And, no surprise, there were a few that I went to bat for who did nothing but continue to complain and some even resigned right after I got them everything they wanted. That was certainly their choice but it seemed a bit unappreciative and left me embarrassed with my superiors. So it seems to me that you have a company here, TAXI, that is working hard to help you succeed and gives you direct access to their CEO. I don't always agree with TAXI and when I was a member I certainly disagreed on some of my rejections. And don't forget, TAXI can only benefit from scoring a success for you with your music since successes are great for advertising and promotion and can only bring in more business. So, there is no up-side to them to simply not forwarding songs. One more thing and TAXI can correct me if I am wrong. Early on, Michael did not want a message board like this. It takes a bit of babysitting to get rid of totally inappropriate posts and since it is human nature to sometimes talk about the negatives and not the positives, it can end up being bad for business. A perspective member who is on the fence, might quickly scan, read some negative posts and not join. But Michael allows this board to stay alive. And despite the bitching about censorship, I've seen very few posts which were critical of TAXI deleted.I may sound rah-rah TAXI... But my perspective is more about the general business world, than TAXI itself. Casey

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Re: Critique Anonymity Unfair

Post by jeffe » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:38 am

Quote:Quote:Uhmm...have you read the entire thread? The OP asks Taxi several times to reconsider/explain its policy. So now Michael did just that...and now there's something wrong with THAT?? First, Michael took a lot of time and effort to put together that response. Having written letters like that, my guess is it took him MANY hours to write that. TAXI may or may not be for you but: How many CEOs give you such direct access? I am not a member, but I applaud a CEO taking that much time to talk to his customers and address their concerns.I guess I love analogies but here goes... Have you ever been a manager in the corporate world -or- run your own small business? I used to be the manager of a software engineering department of about 15-20 people. Most people that worked for me were great. There were times when I bent over backwards for people, fighting for raises for them, defending them (to my own detriment) when the president was bitching about them, etc, etc. And, no surprise, there were a few that I went to bat for who did nothing but continue to complain and some even resigned right after I got them everything they wanted. That was certainly their choice but it seemed a bit unappreciative and left me embarrassed with my superiors. So it seems to me that you have a company here, TAXI, that is working hard to help you succeed and gives you direct access to their CEO. I don't always agree with TAXI and when I was a member I certainly disagreed on some of my rejections. And don't forget, TAXI can only benefit from scoring a success for you with your music since successes are great for advertising and promotion and can only bring in more business. So, there is no up-side to them to simply not forwarding songs. One more thing and TAXI can correct me if I am wrong. Early on, Michael did not want a message board like this. It takes a bit of babysitting to get rid of totally inappropriate posts and since it is human nature to sometimes talk about the negatives and not the positives, it can end up being bad for business. A perspective member who is on the fence, might quickly scan, read some negative posts and not join. But Michael allows this board to stay alive. And despite the bitching about censorship, I've seen very few posts which were critical of TAXI deleted.I may sound rah-rah TAXI... But my perspective is more about the general business world, than TAXI itself. CaseyCasey.I think Taxi is the best thing since sliced bread, for composers and songwriters, and I have to say that I feel proud to be a paid member.I know all the ins and outs because I did my homework before I joined. I read good words and bad words. The good words far outweighed the bad. Besides. The bad words seemed to come from disgruntled ex-members in my opinion.I think it's fantastic that Michael appears very much to be the type of guy that gets his hands dirty every now and again on the shop floor. Any manager worth his salt knows that sort of attitude is great for morale and provides an affinity between workers and management. Not a gap.Here's another analogy.Let's say you have a friend who you know very well. Their character is laid back and easy going. One day they meet another of your friends for the first time, yet they are in a bit of a mood. That person comes to you and says "Your friends a bit grumpy isn't he". To which you reply. "No. Not at all. He's a great guy. You just caught him at a bad moment".I wanted to point out that I thought this was out of character in my opinion. Every other dialogue I've read from Michael (and I've read quite a few) seems different to this.So am I being defensive in attack?Yes I am.I don't want anyone getting the wrong impression about Michael. If I had a hat. I'd take it off to him.I have good experience in management. One of the things I would of appreciated was someone coming up to me and saying "Jeff, I thought you were a bit strong with your words there". However, they never did. Either I approached things in the correct way every time, or they were all yes men/women. I never got to find that out.It's one of the things I like about this forum. Not everybody agrees with what we say.As far as my post was concerned. It was actually Pro-Taxi. Assumption can be a dangerous thing.I can see how some might have reached the conclusion that it wasn't. So for the benefit of those that did:"I think taxi is great" Here's to many more disagreements.May they bring us all the answers and perspectives we need.
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