Moving goal posts?

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Moving goal posts?

Post by coxnvox » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:25 pm

I've been complaining too much lately...let me start off with that! But this overarching topic has come up from time to time:

Michael has made it clear that a track that meets the criteria of the listing should always be forwarded, whether the screener happens to "like" the track or not. I may not be quoting ML verbatim, but that's the message I've been hearing for at least the last ten years of Taxi...if it meets the "quality" bar, and it hits what the listing is asking for, it's a forward...does that seem to be a fair representation of what ML contends? Challenge me on it if that's not the case...

But then I get returns like this:
"Thanks for the submission. I like the performance. I didn't send it over because the melody is a little too familiar and safe for this listing."

Y180903AD

ACOUSTIC-Driven, SINGER/SONGWRITER INSTRUMENTAL CUES are needed by a Music Licensing Company with a long and impressive list of great placements in TV, Film, and Commercials. They’re looking for Mid-to-Up-Tempo Instrumental Cues that would fall within the general stylistic ballpark of the following references: “Hold On Forever” by Rob Thomas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCLN6JuXfpE “What I Wouldn’t Do” by A Fine Frenzy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrJA5eDhh9I “From Afar” by Vance Joy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYUcqmpHJbk Even though the references have vocals, they’re looking for Instrumental Cues only for this pitch! Please send them well-crafted, acoustic-based Instrumental Cues that could work for a wide range of sync placements. Little accents like handclaps, foot stomps, or whistles could give your submission some added spark, but they’re not absolutely necessary. Your submissions should feature a central melodic idea. Build momentum by adding and subtracting different elements to add dynamics and interest as your Instrumental progresses. Please avoid using any instruments that sound stiff, synthetic, or obviously quantized and MIDI-driven. All submissions should be at about 2 minutes long (give or take). Non-Faded, Buttoned/Stinger Endings will work best. Please do not copy the references in any way, shape, or form. Use them only as general guide for overall feel, texture and tone. Broadcast quality is needed. This company offers an EXCLUSIVE deal. You'll split all upfront sync fees 50/50. The Publisher will get 100% of the Publisher's share, and you'll get 100% of the Writer's share. You must own or control your Master and Composition rights. Since this is an Exclusive deal, please be sure your material is NOT already signed with any other Libraries or Catalogs. Please submit as many Instrumentals as you’d like online or per CD. All submissions will be screened on a Yes/No basis - No full critiques. Submissions must be received no later than 11:59PM (PDT), on Monday, September 3rd 2018. TAXI #Y180903AD

My track is Clapping Into Reserves. https://soundcloud.com/kerry-cox-9/clap ... rves-again

My question is: Where does it say they are looking for unfamiliar and dangerous? Why does the screener have criteria for the listing that was not included in the listing verbiage? I actually think you could make a decent argument for returning this track for this listing based on 1 or 2 of the criteria...so why does the screener go out of his/her way to list as the reason for return something that was not remotely alluded to?

I am not in a huff...it just seems like this happens more than it should. Anyone else experience this? Thanks!

kerry c
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by DesireInspires » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:18 am

Too safe and familiar? Rubbish.

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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by funsongs » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:11 am

Hi Kerry;

I didn't yet listen to the track - but just a 'first-impression'/knee-jerk response: the title seems obscure & confusing...
I wouldn't have a clue about what to expect to hear.
Makes me wonder if the Screener may have had a similar 'reservation'. :? 8-)

EDIT: okay, now that I've listened to it - a few penny's worth from The Peanut Gallery:
1) The composition sounds solid enough, and not too "same-same" - but a better title might open up otherwise closed doors.
2) For a pop instrumental, the drums sound a bit 'dull' - and not a good fit for the rest of the instrumentation;
perhaps the odd case where a synth drum loop or programmed drums would be more suited than the sound of an acoustic drum set.
(even though the listing says avoid it... so - maybe just brighten up that drum track - make it "pop"!).

Meanwhile - 'm trying to help by thinking of how I would title that track AFTER hearing it; as if I were searching for something with those sounds.

Pop Is Clapping
Clap-Happy Pappy
:? 8-) ... really, not sure what would work best... sorry about that. :)
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by ttully » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:34 am

Hi Kerry,


A few things .... the 1st bass drum hit at about :13 is late.
The mix seems a bit dull.
It seems to me like it should go faster....it drags a bit.

Also, there are no bells in the examples.....that is REALLY giving it the familiar (dated) safe sound to me...

I think if you A/B it to the others you should be able to pick up on the difference.

My 2 cents,
Tim

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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by coxnvox » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:58 pm

ttully wrote:Hi Kerry,


A few things .... the 1st bass drum hit at about :13 is late.
The mix seems a bit dull.
It seems to me like it should go faster....it drags a bit.

Also, there are no bells in the examples.....that is REALLY giving it the familiar (dated) safe sound to me...

I think if you A/B it to the others you should be able to pick up on the difference.

My 2 cents,
Tim
Yeah, I've felt that, too, about the hit at :13...I need to figure out what happened there. Thanks for confirming what was bothering me on that.

As far as the bells...it's an instrumental request with all vocal songs as examples. If you subtract the vocal, you have to have the melody coming from somewhere, right? I'm not sure that bells are any worse choice than anything else. Electric guitar makes it too rock, lots of keyboard sounds would make it too electronic...what do you suggest that keeps it singer/songwriter feeling? Maybe an acoustic guitar, but that can feel really flat and boring. I'd push back that the bells are still EVERYWHERE and that while we are constantly wanting to be on the bleeding edge, very little of what actually gets used falls into that category. But what do I know? I'm just a spectacularly achievement-deprived wannabe musician! :D

Thanks, Tim! Best...
James Cox
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by coxnvox » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:15 pm

funsongs wrote:Hi Kerry;

I didn't yet listen to the track - but just a 'first-impression'/knee-jerk response: the title seems obscure & confusing...
I wouldn't have a clue about what to expect to hear.
Makes me wonder if the Screener may have had a similar 'reservation'. :? 8-)

EDIT: okay, now that I've listened to it - a few penny's worth from The Peanut Gallery:
1) The composition sounds solid enough, and not too "same-same" - but a better title might open up otherwise closed doors.
2) For a pop instrumental, the drums sound a bit 'dull' - and not a good fit for the rest of the instrumentation;
perhaps the odd case where a synth drum loop or programmed drums would be more suited than the sound of an acoustic drum set.
(even though the listing says avoid it... so - maybe just brighten up that drum track - make it "pop"!).

Meanwhile - 'm trying to help by thinking of how I would title that track AFTER hearing it; as if I were searching for something with those sounds.

Pop Is Clapping
Clap-Happy Pappy
:? 8-) ... really, not sure what would work best... sorry about that. :)
Hey, Peter!

I guess I don't get your point...the word "clapping" is literally the first word of the title. How would you NOT expect a happy-clappy track?

I appreciate your suggestions on the mix...I'll give it another shot.

I guess no one is really addressing my beef, though everyone (as usual) is being quite helpful...but I wasn't returned for a dull mix or an off kick beat or a bad title or using bells...I was returned because it felt "safe and familiar." The listing did not use any words like "edgy, hip, dangerous, nouveau, fresh" or any of a host of other words that would have ruled out "safe and familiar" tracks. Let's assume for a second that this is the most safe and familiar track ever created. I still contend that by Michael's standards, it's a forward. If not, then Taxi just needs to say that forwards/returns are not based on objective criteria...they are just based on a subjective feeling that the screener gets about your track. I guess I really appreciated that Michael seemed to suggest that the screeners make the process as objective as possible, considering that it's music, for pete's sake, but returns like this suggest it's actually just a general feeling the screener gets about your track.

Anyway, thanks everybody. There is an obviously talented group that hangs out here and I am in awe of you all, that you are able to create music that has value and that gets used. Nothing but respect. Take care.
James Cox
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by Paulie » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:02 pm

Is the kick drum at 0:13 late, or is the guitar strum early? :)

This is a nice sounding happy clap cue to me. The comment is a little annoying, it's like judging figure skating. Stylistically it sounds inspired by the first a la in the listing, I think what the screener is saying is that the melody is too repetitive perhaps?

There are other reasons that might have justified a return, but to not like the melody seems like a bad excuse. My advice would be to decrease the volume of the claps, drop the snare a little bit as well, add some reverb to give everything the sound that it is all in one room, and then vary the melody instrument in different sections. Have chimes play it, then piano or guitar, then combinations of each, etc. I think this cue can be used eventually.

PC
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by ttully » Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:28 pm

Ok....I'll try to address the screener comment....

In my opinion....
I believe familiar it is a nice way to say dated
And by safe....I believe it means mellow

If I was screening for this listing....I would of returned it also
Not to say your track is not good...... but it is not quite as edgy as the examples
It is also not the quite the same as the examples.

Like I said in a different thread..... I was a screener for a music library and often it was hard to put into words
why you do not like a track...... many times you just go with your first gut reaction.... sometimes it's hard to explain exactly why you don't like a track, after a while, you just know if it fits when you hear it.


Again, my opinion only,

Tim

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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by coxnvox » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:44 am

ttully wrote:Ok....I'll try to address the screener comment....

In my opinion....
I believe familiar it is a nice way to say dated
And by safe....I believe it means mellow

If I was screening for this listing....I would of returned it also
Not to say your track is not good...... but it is not quite as edgy as the examples
It is also not the quite the same as the examples.

Like I said in a different thread..... I was a screener for a music library and often it was hard to put into words
why you do not like a track...... many times you just go with your first gut reaction.... sometimes it's hard to explain exactly why you don't like a track, after a while, you just know if it fits when you hear it.


Again, my opinion only,

Tim
Thanks, Tim. That makes sense and that's what I was after.
"sometimes it's hard to explain exactly why you don't like a track" - Yeah, but this flies in the face of what I know for 100% certain Michael has said before...that it's not about if the screener likes the track or not...it's about if the track meets the requirements of the listing. Right? So what the screener says makes me think they didn't like the track, not that the track didn't meet the requirements of the listing. (Although, again, I could be easily convinced with other arguments, some of which you have listed here, that it should have been returned.) Does that make sense?

Thanks, Tim...peace.
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Re: Moving goal posts?

Post by ttully » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:30 am

Hey Kerry,

Yes...that makes complete sense.....

But i know that the screeners listen to hundreds of tracks. ......I've done it....... and after a while....you know right away
if it will be good enough FOR WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR . .......many times I would know in 5 seconds...this is not what they want.
The library owner would say....how could you reject this, this is a Grammy nominated writer!!! Every time I would just have the library owner listen to the track.....and he would almost always agree. EVEN THOUGH THE TRACK MAY BE GOOD......I DON'T LIKE IT BECAUSE IT IS NOT WHAT WE THEY ARE LOOKING FOR.

it's too familiar.......will often mean......we have a hundred tracks very similar to this...I know it will never get used.
That does not mean it'seems not a good track

I hope that help you understand why it may be very good.....but the screener doesn't like it.....
Tim

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