Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by guscave » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:16 pm

I remember reading a long time ago that when Taxi first started they didn’t charge the $5 submission fee, however once members started sending out multiple submissions like drift nets just to see what got caught, they had no choice but to start charging the fee. So a good thing got scrapped because of a few desperate, unprofessional members. The same thing can happen here and that would be bad for both Taxi and it's members.

Taxi already gets a lot of crap from conspiracy theorist who think everyone’s out to get them. Going dark will only add to it. Hope they find a good solution.

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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by fullbirdmusic » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:20 pm

Amazingly, this idea just occurred to me today - that contacting the forwarded companies might be an avenue of approach - I'm VERY glad I haven't done anything like that!

Like Mazz said, maybe setting up a taxi@youmusichere.com email address or something with a canned response might alleviate these issues, but it shouldn't come to that and it would be unfair (and extremely unconventional) to request a listing company conform to this. I agree with the assertion that telling members not to contact the companies is a little like keeping young people in the dark about contraceptive to keep them from having intercourse and that the members should be told.

My post in the Music Biz forum asked this exact question and I really had no idea this discussion was taking place here! As Kevin said, knowing that some top folks in the Taxi listing firms are reading the forums (as well as other sites, like ***** ******* ****** :shock: ) is a bit of a surprise. I'm just going to stop contributing to that site.

It's important for us all to take stock of what trails we leave online and what impression that can leave on folks that are in a position to employ us. That has been a theme about the internet for a while, but we shouldn't be mass-emailing anyone - including folks that take unsolicited material.

PS - going dark will only perpetuate the ignorance in discussions that occur on LinkedIn that ML (and, incidentally, myself) were a part of recently. Let's keep the names in the certificates and brainstorm ways to make this as pain-free as possible for everyone.
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by mazz » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:25 pm

I fully believe that TAXI adds value for us even with libraries that accept unsolicited materials because the TAXI forwards are solicited, and I'd like to think (hopefully correctly) that those forwards are listened to ahead of the probably hundreds or thousands of unsolicited pieces of music sitting there waiting to be auditioned.

I've long had a hunch, and even heard rumblings in the past, that libraries and publishers lurk here. So it pays to be professional everywhere.

I also strongly believe that a quality product package from a composer, which includes how they handle themselves in business, will eventually get picked up. The cream will rise.
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by fullbirdmusic » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:28 pm

mazz wrote:
I've long had a hunch, and even heard rumblings in the past, that libraries and publishers lurk here. So it pays to be professional everywhere.

I also strongly believe that a quality product package from a composer, which includes how they handle themselves in business, will eventually get picked up. The cream will rise.
Agreed - I'm sure they're everywhere.
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by simonparker » Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:51 pm

mazz wrote:...I've long had a hunch, and even heard rumblings in the past, that libraries and publishers lurk here. So it pays to be professional everywhere.

I also strongly believe that a quality product package from a composer, which includes how they handle themselves in business, will eventually get picked up. The cream will rise.
Well I can't help it. I try to be professional, but you know what? I STILL, after 3 years, cannot get an avatar setup so I look cool like everyone else. And with this new forum setup, I cannot figure out how to get links to my websites working (and i still can't change my password nor link to my songs on my taxi page...ugh i'm useless).

So I'm hopelessly unprofessional (and useless, and yes, getting old). But at least I don't call the listing companies that received my music from Taxi, so I might have a redeeming feature. :D
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by wta » Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:14 pm

These issues have been around since the begining of the industry and this is why there has been implimented a barrier between the end client and the artist. The quality of the agent inbetween is directly reflextive of the artist they represent and why its so vital that the rules of engagement stay as they've been written. Artist can represent themselves but few are professional and equiped enough to swim these waters and why taxi and other "agencies" are so vital is to hold that line of professionalism such as Michael does and HE DOES, I've not only researched his past but have had several personal phone chats with him and HE IS the creme that's rised to the top. My advice to any artist is, if someone is you're agent/go between don't EVER go around them for any reason and if you're representing yourself AND using taxi also don't mention taxi at all.
As for artist knowing who've they've been forwarded to, I understand it why you'd like that info but it's not industry standard to be offering this info and should be limited or discontinued if taxi is going to keep from loosing all they're clients. I'm and aritst and been around them for 30 years and the high percentage are incapable of following rules as they're laid out and will often do the VERY thing this thread is all about, its just a matter of time.
Michael, FWIW - For the sake of taxi and all the artists signed with taxi, limit or cancel the forwarding info...

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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by hummingbird » Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:44 pm

When I joined the TAXI forum, and TAXI, other forum members told me I should not contact any company I'd been forwarded to. That company would contact me if they were interested in using my music.

This instruction was not included in my 'new member' kit, nor is it really said in TAXI's FAQs. If I hadn't been a member of the forum, I would never have been told this. TAXI's "Rules of the Road" says that a company will contact you if they are interested, but it doesn't clearly state that you shouldn't contact the listing party.

Before considering 'going dark' I think TAXI needs to update its membership material and FAQs to advise members not to contact listing companies after a Forward.

TAXI's current Rules of the Road:
http://www.taxi.com/member.html

As suggested above by Mojo and others, the entire membership needs to be alerted to this issue. The "forward" email could be easily updated to remind members to wait for the listing party to contact them.
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by admin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:28 pm

Ok, done with the Rally meeting. It's going to be another goodie :-)

Back on topic -- Let's not get too carried away with the fear of "going dark" on which companies your music has been sent to. That would be my LAST option, and one that I will try to avoid at all costs.

If any of you are old timers, you'd know that we used to give you the NAME of the PERSON at the company we sent your music to... yep, it's true! Google didn't exist then, and it was really hard to get past a receptionist at the majors.

The issue in THIS particular case was the spamming of several people at the company, which I repeat, is NOT a music company, but a really large sports related entity (no, not Fox Sports for all you guessers) that could have provided us with killer opportunities for years to come.... the ISSUE was that the Sr. V.P. (and others) got emails from musicians asking if they had listened to their music and if they wanted to further audition any of their other music.

The SVP went to the music guy (who is new to the job), and basically said, "What the hell is going on that I'm getting emails from musicians who are somehow related to this TAXI thing, and what do you need to do to make it stop?"

I DO plan to let all members know about this, but to ASK them all for opinions would mean that we'd have to sift through at least 500 emails, each of them at least 300 words long, and half of them not really on topic.

Part of the problem is that there are smaller, less heavyweight libraries that don't mind hearing from musicians, so people who have had some success (and maybe some who haven't yet) have been "trained" that it's okay to reach out to your industry buddies. I can see that.

The problem is that musicians are starting to apply that same yo bro friendliness to people at major labels and companies such as the one that is this week's problem. Frankly, the fact that the Road Rally makes it so easy to meet industry people isn't helping matters. As a few of you know, I've been dealing with this in ever-increasing numbers for a while now.

I talked to Andrea Torchia (our VP of A&R) about this a week or so ago. She said she's been getting increasing complaints from major label and publishing companies we run listings for as well. I was surprised when she told me that the big publishers (Andrea has worked at high levels of companies like Universal and Zomba for 19 years before coming to TAXI) don't tell their SIGNED writers who they've sent their songs to for the most part. They just tell them when somebody puts a song on hold or is cutting it.

I guess that's true for film/TV pubs and libraries as well. They generally don't tell you when they've pitched something unless it's about to get used, right? Can't you see composers emailing everybody at NBC or Speilberg's company, "Are you going ti use my music?"

Do any of the TAXI imitators tell you who your stuff has been sent to? Don't name them by name, please :o

Still thinking, but don't freak out and make this all about going dark or not. Like I said, that would be my very last option.

Michael

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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by mojobone » Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:28 pm

I'm glad we're having this discussion, but I don't think there's an answer for this one. I think it comes down to presenting oneself in a professional manner, as Mazz said, and obviously there are going to be members (and non-members) who will remain clueless about this even after being instructed. Composers as a group do tend to be a little more anxiety prone than the average person, so a certain amount goes with the territory, even before there's any potential money at stake. If a VP is getting emails from musicians, that's their problem, not Taxi's, because Taxi did not publish the VP's email addy. If he wants to make this an issue, it's probably not the only issue, or maybe not his real issue. My opinion, he's cutting off his nose to spite his face. On the other hand this sorta thing happens five times, it's not a fluke and is maybe an indication of a larger problem; burgeoning competition, slashed budgets, the economy, etc.

I think it's also worth mentioning that it's well known around the industry that Taxi works with amateurs, so admitting your Taxi affiliation when communicating with a library might not be the brightest idea to begin with, if you're trying to present yourself in a professional light. (sorry, ML, I know how that sounds) We're told by industry pros that Taxi should be an arrow in our quiver, which means that at some point, many of us will be cold-calling libraries and publishers; the key is learning to be a whole lot smarter about it.
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Re: Members Contacting Listing Companies -- Ouch!

Post by admin » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:25 pm

Hi Mojo,

Yep, TAXI is well known for helping professionals in the industry find the best amateurs that are out there. That's why the company that supplies so much music to Oprah uses TAXI exclusively and why so many of the top production music libraries use us as their top resource. You've hit the nail on the head -- we are at the intersection (no pun intended) of talented amateurs (meaning they haven't turned pro yet) and the professional industry.

THAT's where the problem can lie. Somebody can be just as talented musically as a "pro," but not have the business chops yet. That IS why we stress all that at the Rally.

Then again, I think of Andrea telling me how major publishers don't tell their PRO writers who they've sent their material to... probably because they are afraid of clumsy follow ups... could be? The truth is that I've worked with many pro writers and artists who have many of the same issues that so-called amateurs have. I GET it... people want to succeed SO badly that sometimes they put their business foot in their mouth.

Another slightly off topic example of this: We get pro writers from Nashville that join TAXI to pitch their stuff in Nashville because they've just lost their pub deal. It's pretty common for them to call and complain when we don't forward nearly every song they submit. Of course, if everybody reading this listened to what they pitched for which listing, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't agree with the screener.

But what we hear coming from the other end of the phone is, "But I've had tons of cuts. Don't you realize who I am and who I've had cuts with?"

I've questioned our ears on these issues at least a hundred times. I've called my closest friends in Nashville, played the song, and heard, "Your screener did exactly what I would have done. Don't you think we get the same thing from our writers all the time? That's why we'll pass on a writer who's great but not glued together very well and sign the person who's a pleasure to work with instead."

The difference between professional and amateur doesn't always lie between getting paid or not for what you do. It's often more about the person you are.

Michael

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